Wireless Carriers throttle videos and lawmakers raise questions on net neutrality, the fundamental law of FCC

Although it was hinted earlier, the study proved few days ago that wireless carrier throttle videos based websites regularly.

University of Massachusetts Amherst and Northwestern University published a report which was based on more than 650,000 tests that were conducted in America. According to the tests and report, AT&T slow down speed of Netflix and YouTube 70 and 74 percent of time respectively and T-mobile controls the speed of Amazon Prime Video by 51 percent.

AT&T denied the report and answered the Forbes that they are in favor of open internet. They further said that instead of discriminating and throttling, the wireless carrier provide choices to their users in terms of speed and features. Moreover, Jim Greers, the spokesperson, said that each user has their settings and features which affect the speed because their application is unable to manage them. Greer also told them that the company is in touch with applications to discuss that how they can improve the services and application.

However, David Choffnes, the associate professor at Northeastern University, said that wireless carriers throttle videos 24/7, although, the websites are not even overloaded.

Verizon, T-Mobile and AT&T have said earlier that they are required to reduce the pace in order to deliver the desired videos to the users.

Alphabet, Google’s parent company, National Science Foundation and ARCEP funded the Choffnes’s work which was based on 126,000 smartphones in which Wehe was downloaded. Wehe is an application that can track internet speed. The information, received from those phones and tests, was analyzed to know if the speed are controlled or altered for specific phones or devices.

The report made several politicians to raise questions on the behavior of carriers. Three senators asked Federal Communication Commissions that if traffic is treated equally on video sites by wireless carriers as per rules and regulations of FCC which states that the carriers are obliged not to discriminate in terms of content, app or users. The laws were executed under the presidency of former President of America, Barak Obama, in 2015. However, the laws were changed last year when Donald Trump won elections in 2016.


Choffnes report created hype. He said that it is important to continue to publish the work of all websites.

The report will be available for peer-review at SIGCOMM. SIGCOMM is annual data conference.



Hat Tip: Bloomberg.

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