A report by the Electronic Frontier Foundation claims T-Mobile is throttling all video for its Binge On users, not just video from participating streaming services. T-Mobile maintains that it is not throttling any video streams.
In a series of tests over LTE, trying to stream or download a privately-hosted video via HTTP resulted in bandwidth being capped at 1.5 megabits per second, the EFF noted. This applied even when the video’s filename and HTTP response headers were changed to disguise it as a non-video file.
The EFF says switching to HTTPS to block T-Mobile’s monitoring of traffic resulted in a return to normal streaming speeds. (3 to 5 megabits per second in the EFF’s testing.) The gap was smaller when downloading a actual non-video file.
The EFF claims T-Mobile isn’t optimizing the video streams, but is instead relying on the various services’ own automatic downgrading for low bandwidth connections to smooth things out. A video over 480p resolution that can’t be downgraded simply stutters or see the performance otherwise downgraded.
The EFF argues T-Mobile’s across the board throttling of video streams constitutes a violation of net neutrality.
Binge On, which can be activated or turned off at a customer’s choosing, is supposed to downgrade video from the Magenta Network’s official partners, including Netflix and HBO, with that streaming content not counting against a customer’s monthly data allotment. However, Youtube, which is not a Binge On partner, recently complained that its video streams were also being throttled. T-Mobile fired back by saying it isn’t throttling YouTube or any other video provider. The EFF’s testing seems to show otherwise.