Right on the heels of the Net Neutrality Day of Action protest, Verizon users started noticing that their download speeds were significantly lower when viewing Netflix videos. Users began complaining about it on Reddit, and a megathread was created on the /r/Verizon subreddit to monitor and confirm that the throttling was indeed happening and how widespread it was. Visitors were asked to test and report what they found there.
Testing was primarily conducted using Fast.com, which is powered by Netflix servers and then comparing that speed with a test on neutral servers (usually Ookla Speed Test). Users were finding that on Fast.com they were consistently getting download speeds of around 10 Mbps, while on neutral servers their speeds were anywhere from 60-80 Mbps. Users on Howard Forums were reporting similar results on YouTube.
"The customer video experience was not affected."
Verizon, like every other mobile provider, does downgrade network speeds for unlimited plan users who exceed 22 GB of data usage in a month. According to the telecom’s FAQs, this only happens if the cap is exceeded and the cell site that is currently being used is busy. Most users who had reported slower speeds were not over their limit. Plus the fact that the slow down only appeared to be on Netflix and YouTube servers indicated that throttling of the domains, not the users, was occurring.
After several news outlets had reported on the apparent capping of the streaming sites yesterday, Verizon issued a statement today addressing the issue. A representative told Benzinga that it has been conducting tests on video streaming. The spokesperson insisted that the testing should not disrupt video viewing.
“We've been doing network testing over the past few days to optimize the performance of video applications on our network. The testing should be completed shortly. The customer video experience was not affected.”
The mobile carrier declined to comment on allegations of speed manipulation.
Image credit: Forbes