T-Mobile is allegedly downgrading the video quality of YouTube video clips viewed by its customers, even though YouTube isn’t a part of the carrier’s Binge-On program.
“Reducing data charges can be good for users, but it doesn’t justify throttling all video services, especially without explicit user consent,” a YouTube spokesman remarked to the Wall Street Journal.
T-Mobile’s Binge-On program allows its Simple Choice customers to view video from selected video streaming services, such as HBO, Netflix, Showtime, and more, without the data counting toward their monthly video allotment. The one catch is the video is downgraded to DVD (480p) quality.
The Internet Association which Google belongs to, claims that Binge On “appears to involve throttling of all video traffic, across all data plans, regardless of network congestion.”
When contacted by the Journal for comment, a T-Mobile spokesperson declined to address the video degradation issue, but told the Journal that YouTube’s exclusion from Binge On is the result of a technical obstacle. T-Mobile’s software can’t always identify YouTube video clips in order to flag them as exempt from the data caps. The company says it has discussed the issue with YouTube, but needs more time to remedy the issue.
The U.S Federal Communications Commission has begun looking at programs like Binge On from T-Mobile, AT&T, and Comcast, to ensure they are not violating net neutrality rules.