Verizon Wireless Reportedly Caps Netflix, YouTube Data Speeds

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WoWFishmonger

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A byte IS a byte - if I am paying for 50Mbps download speed with no data cap - give me what I pay for. If you want to limit my downloads, spell it out up front.... don't cherry pick websites. Big telecom needs to get some competition to put them in their place.
 

Defekter_Engel

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They seem to be throttling YT and Netflix on FiOS as well. As these media outlets become more popular for gaining entertainment.
 

Michael Rowe

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I think you need to understand how LTE handles data requests and why throttling "speed" of LTE doesn't help any cell carrier. If you slow down the transfer speed then that is just more time the phone is in the towers download channel taking up resources. So if your total stream is going to be 175mb of data, then the network wants to get it to you as fast as it can so it can stop allocating resources to you. I am not saying they are or are not doing it, IDK. But if they are it would not make sense. Now when a carrier limits a steam to a lower quality, that can help with RF or backhaul congestion since the total amount of data transmitted would be less. This is why carriers have plans built about total data usage and not data speeds.
 

ravewulf

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Restricting the download speed means YouTube and Netflix auto adjust to a lower quality/smaller file size to keep playback smooth. Verizon could also attempt to charge YouTube and Netflix extra in return for restoring full speed to customers.
 

Alex_462

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Capping the speed at 10Mbit will prevent YouTube or Netflix from streaming 4K, drastically reducing the load on the cell tower. So yeah, makes perfect sense for them to do it.
 

clifftam

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Isn't it breaking the contract if they throttle speed or cap data?

I know all the carrier do it to a certain extent but if it is not in the contract then they are breaking it.
 

bit_user

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I thought the FCC's Net Neutrality rules didn't apply to cellular. I recall Google working with Verizon to propose a scheme that would allow cellular providers to do traffic management on their cellular network.

Perhaps what's new about this is the targeting of specific sites, rather than blind throttling of big transfers.
 

hokkdawg

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Yeah, 12 Mbit caps to Netflix still lets you stream in 1080p. Streaming 4K from a cell tower is completely unnecessary right now, and hogs an insane amount of bandwidth that needs to be available for other users to keep the technology functioning. LTE technology smthenlimit here, not profits- this is OK, and the Net Neutrality political movement needs to find a way to embrace this in their legal efforts.
 

redemptionse

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As someone whos only internet option is verizon wireless I don't really get more than 12 mbps sustained to begin with unless its off peak. Maybe this will help my latency during peak hours due to less traffic?
 

hokkdawg

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Yes, this will absolutely help! This problem is created by the fact that streaming technology is exceeding the abilities of cellular LTE engineering right now, so Verizon must do something to control this. Remember, every other cellular provider already does this!! ATT has "Stream Saver" and T-Mobile defaults all video to 480p. Verizon is no different, but their approach is to simply cap Netflix to 1080p - which is INCREDIBLE, considering that every other provider drops us to 480p. We have to respect the INSANE amount of capital required to engineer and deploy these networks. Yes, profits are also made, but as long as this doesn't compel the Wireless providers to stop innovating and investing, this practice is totally fine and completely necessary to make sure we all have a good experience on this limited technology.

Let's not forget how incredible it is that wireless providers are sending this data speed over the air!
 
Good article, thanks for posting.

A byte is a byte. It starts with streaming rate and ends with "pay to play" and only websites that pay show up.

I much prefer the limits on end users (stream 4K all day, then pay pay pay and Verizon can use the money to build up infrastructure).
 

durahl

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From my understanding about this article and the discussion it appears we're talking about the ability of watching 4K on either a Cellphone or a Mobile device being capped by the Internet Service Provider?

Who the fuck needs to watch something in 4K on a screen the size of either a sheet of an A4 paper or, even more ridiculous, the size of a grown ups palm?! No one does! Have some common sense... Will ya?
 

bit_user

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As @redemptionse said, cell connections can be used for things other than cell phones. Most tablets have cell options, as do some laptops (or you can pair them with your phone) and even PCs.

As for the question "do we really need 4k streaming over cellular links", I'm similarly dubious. During peak usage, I'd expect to see connection bandwidth get cut so that the tower remains usable by everyone. Beyond that, I'm with tsnor that it seems like there's a revenue opportunity Verizon is missing by not giving people the option to use more data if they're willing to pay for it.

Oh, the other thing I think stinks about this is selective filtering. They should do bandwidth throttling at the link-level, without regard for the origin of the packets or their content.
 

mikewinddale

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"But this throttling violates the tenets of net neutrality, which insists that a byte is a byte and that data shouldn't flow slower or faster based on its source."

Then the tenets of net neutrality contradict the reality of internet technology and the needs of internet users.

If the ISP has a single network connect to Netflix's servers, then they can't allow every one of their customers to get peak bandwidth to a single Netflix server simultaneously. Maybe every customer can get say 100 Mbs, but only if every customer is connecting to a different server - this one to Youtube, this one to Twitter, this one to Netflix, and this one to Facebook. But if everyone tries to go to the same place, they can't all get peak speed.

Similarly, an SSD might get 500 MB/s on burst sequential operations, but not on random operations, and not in a steady-state under a heavy load. Net neutrality is like saying that "a megabyte per second is a megabyte per second", and that if an SSD advertises 500 MB/s burst sequential read, then it ought to get 500 MB/s steady-state random write too.
 

mikewinddale

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Net neutrality will just force everyone to pay more for superior service even if they'd rather pay less for inferior service. It's like forcing everyone to buy a Mercedes even if all you want is a Kia.

The ISP is throttling certain services because it's impossible - under current technological and financial arrangement - to guarantee peak performance to everyone at once, if everyone is trying to access the same service.

So essentially, when you buy internet service, it's with the tacit understanding that you won't always get peak performance if you're trying to use the same resource as too many other people at the same time. And you get what you pay for.

With net neutrality, the ISP will have to offer Cadillac internet service to everyone, guaranteeing absolutely peak performance to everyone, at all times, no matter what, no matter how much it costs. And if you'd rather get inferior service for a lower price, then tough, that won't be an option anymore. You'll be required to purchase full coverage, as it were, even if you'd rather get partial coverage for a more affordable price.

The ISP will have to beef up their technological implementations to ensure that everyone can access the same resources simultaneously and get peak performance, and they'll have to charge everyone the corresponding price. Even if you never use Youtube, or even if you're willing to use Youtube at a lower resolution, tough, you'll have to pay the price for guaranteed throughput even if you don't want it.
 


THIS HAS NOTHING TO DUE WITH NET NEUTRALITY --> . "then they can't allow every one of their customers to get peak bandwidth to a single Netflix server simultaneously. " Clearly every user can't pull their max bandwidth at all times.

The issue is a User who wants 3 MB/sec of Netflix is treated differently than a user who want 3 MB/sec of Linux downloads. Once an ISP is allowed to deliver bytes at different rates depending on source they will use that to make money, and that will change where you can get information.
 


Guess you've never seen ISPs charge differently depending on how many mb/sec service is provided. ISPs have low cost plans and high cost plan. This is not changed by Net Neutrality. ISP are *NOT* doing this to optimize their bandwidth. They are doing this so they can CHARGE data sources for the right to delvier bytes over their networks. We been through this before.

2014: "..Netflix has recently begun paying both Comcast and Verizon to improve network performance and carry its video streams at higher bandwidths,..." https://www.extremetech.com/computing/186576-verizon-caught-throttling-netflix-traffic-even-after-its-pays-for-more-bandwidth THIS is where you end up paying more, not in ISP costs to deliver bandwidth. ISPs make a fortune this way from your pocket. And you lose access to data sources.
 


IF this was the reason I'd be fine with it, but judging from history, this is about ISPs charging data sources to get service. All of the major ISPs rolled out "pay to play" for profitable data sources in 2014 then we got strong net neutrality laws that fixed that.

IF permitted then ISP should max profit for their owners by charging data sources for tiers of service in addition to charging their end users for their aggregate data rates.

For example, how much would WOW or Battlenet pay to cut its latency from "unplayable" to "best we can offer" ?

 

TMTOWTSAC

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In the US, we're really, really bad at nuance. We like everything to be black and white and simple. Net Neutrality is a nice simple concept that people still don't understand, trying to address an extremely complicated situation that very few people, especially our lawmakers, seem to grasp.

Here's an example of two ridiculous extremes. You make an emergency 911 call to a crowded cell tower. Under an absolute interpretation of net neutrality with no exceptions, the tower would not be allowed to prioritize your call, even if it could. (Which right now, it can't, because nobody thought of it when cell towers were originally being designed.) If there's too much traffic, you simply won't get through. This happens all the time right now already, but under absolute NN, they can't even add the capability.

Now here's the other ridiculous extreme, no neutrality whatsoever, no exceptions and no regulations. Your ISP can block access to any service they like, including 911. Or they could charge premium service rates, and add a $1000 surcharge to make a 911 call. Yes, I know there are already existing laws that prevent this, I'm talking about a universal rejection of NN as an ideological absolute.

If it has to be all or nothing, I'd go with the first. It doesn't have to be all or nothing though. If the public and our lawmakers can make reasonable exceptions. Just like any other system, absolutes just go too far. And relying on the public sector to rein themselves in has a poor track record:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paxfire

That's the company that colluded with ISP's to hijack search results. Originally, they just did the usual mistyped URL searches. Then they started doing actual search substitutions. Ie, you go to google or bing or yahoo and search for "refrigerator" and it would filter your results. Sponsored links from its partners would be inserted at the top, and results for competitors would be removed entirely. Incidents like this were exactly what prompted the FCC guidelines, which are now being stripped.
 

Math Geek

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my biggest problem with the arguments made by the isp's and wireless providers is the notion that "we spend a ton of money building the network...."

the fact is they spend a ton of federal money in the way of grants and MASSIVE tax breaks to build those networks. they do a heck of a job spending as little of their own cash to build these networks as possible. then they turn around and claim they can do what they want with it since they paid for it. since the public pays a large % of the build cost, and then the public lawmakers protect their monopoly as much as possible, this makes these not private companies but rather public ones.

this was the logic that Obama used in making them more like public utilities, though he failed to reveal exactly how much money the fed gives them to build the networks. it drives me insane to hear these companies complain about build costs when the majority of it is not their money anyway. this same thing goes for tons of "private" endeavors like the massive sport stadiums built using public funds while the profits go to a private individual, who runs to a new city as they wish leaving a city with a massive bill to pay and no one using the stadium.. also seeing it with interstates being made into toll roads. fed money to build it and maintain it, then they want more public money to drive on it!! we give the defense contractors billions to develop a new plane/ship/weapon and then pay them a crazy amount to build them to ensure their high profits. freakin nuts that we foot the development bill and then pay a crazy high price for what we paid them to develop.

so long as this remains a political issue, there will never be anything approaching an intelligent solution, but someone needs to speak up and remind everyone just how much public money actually goes into these companies to develop and maintain the networks they claim are "private". would shut em up real quick at the next senate hearing if a senator popped up a powerpoint slide showing where the money came from to build the network. but alas, that's just not gonna happen cause truth and reality is not how politics works.
 

ZeusGamer

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You guys need to download Opera VPN for your mobile phones. Truly the only way to stop them from capping you. How would they know what websites you're visiting if they can't see them?
 


The problem is, if a big influx of their customers start fully utilizing that 50 megabit, uncapped connection for significant lengths of time, it's going to lead to network congestion. The reason they can offer that connection speed uncapped at the price they do is that the vast majority of their users only use their connection sporadically. If, however, a large portion of their users start viewing hours of 4k video every day, the network is likely to slow down for everyone. So, they are limiting performance for those kinds of usage scenarios.

The obvious alternatives would be to either increase the cost for that level of service, or keep the cost as it is, and decrease the connection speed, or reinstate data caps. There is one other option they could do though, that might still fit with "net neutrality", though it might not be much better from an end-user's perspective. They could add a sort of soft data cap, allowing up to a certain amount of data from any given internet site each day to download at full speed, and then after that amount is used up, the speeds from that site could slow down for the user until the time period refreshes. Or it could affect all sites in one large pool. So, maybe you would get 5GB of downloads each day at your full 50 megabits, after which the speed might drop to 10 megabits until the following day. All sites would be treated equally, so there would be no conflict with net neutrality, but you still might only be able to watch around a half hour of 4k video before your connection speed drops to 1080p video levels.
 

bit_user

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That's a terrible analogy.


Where's the evidence that this is due to an upstream bottleneck?

I think you have a very naive view of how modern internet services are actually deployed. There's not a single geographical location from which all of Netflix or Youtube is streamed.
 

gggplaya

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You only need about 6mbps for a 1080p stream. In some areas, like mine, verizon towers are already taxed. My entire company uses verizon, so the nearest tower has over 4000 employees from my building alone connected to it. Internet is slow on this particular tower. And watching anything over 1080p on a small 6inch screen is really pointless. Cell companies should have some freedom to throttle video traffic when their network is congested. Something not written into the net neutrality rules, it only makes sense. But I say, when it's not congested, then people should have full speed.
 
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