If you are one of those who was streaming movies over Verizon or subscribing Netflix to watch video content then chances are that you are about to get restrained. The internet provider acknowledged on Friday that it capped the speeds of customers to 10Mbps this week for its “video optimization test.”
Users reporting problems on Reddit and Howard forums
In an interview to ARS Technica, a Verizon spokesperson said, “We’ve been doing network testing over the past few days to optimize the performance of video applications on our network.” He added, “The testing should be completed shortly. The customer video experience was not affected.”
The experiment that used a new “video optimization system”, according to the carrier services, is designed to slow down streams from specific video sources. Verizon noted that it was temporary and the quality of video should not have been affected. However, some YouTube users on Howard Forums and Reddit have reported longer-than-average loading times, excessive buffering, and other visual issues brought by the ongoing throttling of the carrier service.
Two Verizon subscribers have observed reduced speeds in the “stats for nerds” section of YouTube app. On Thursday, a user wrote, “YouTube is being throttled to 10Mbps as well. In the ‘stats for nerds’ it would load at roughly 1,250KBps which translates to 10Mbps. Put the VPN on and that number tripled easily. Didn’t have an issue playing 1080p in 60fps, though.”
1440p videos are throttled at a constant 9.95Mbps: Verizon
Another person reported the same problem, saying “1440p videos are throttled at a constant 9.95Mbps. I wasn’t even able to keep up and buffered at a few points.” The traffic-shaping of Verizon would appear to skirt the net neutrality rules of the FCC that generally outlaws throttling. A Verizon spokesperson said, “We deliver whatever the content provider gives us.” The person added, “We’re always looking for ways to optimize our network without impacting our customers’ experience.”
According to Verizon, the test fell within the bounds of expectations of the FCC that let carriers impose limitations as long as they are “(1) metered out equally across services, and (2) imposed for the purposes of network management.”
News site Ars Technica notes that the throttling of Verizon was not severe enough to impact the experiences of most subscribers. The highest mobile quality setting of Netflix – Unlimited – may use around “1GB per 20 minutes or more depending on your device and network speeds.” A connection of less than 7Mbps, which is much slower than 10Mbps limit would be sufficient given the download rate is relatively consistent.