The horror! Verizon and AT&T weren’t about to take blame for claims that Netflix video was being throttled for customers using their respective data networks, so Netflix had to come clean. The company revealed they are limiting Verizon and AT&T users — as well as users of many other carriers around the globe — to 600 kilobytes per second, a mark which doesn’t suffice for true HD video.
Netflix says they employ the practice due to the stringent data practices those companies use. About 2 hours of HD streaming would consume about 6GB of data, says Netflix, and that’s an expensive boatload of data for those on Verizon’s costly tiered data plans. Sprint (they still have affordable and unlimited data, even if it is slow) and T-Mobile (hello, Binge On) aren’t throttled as those companies have far fairer data practices.
The company rationalizes the practice by suggesting they’re doing those consumers a favor — they don’t want to be the blame for you eating up all your data allowance in just 2 hours, something which would likely cause them to drop their subscriptions. It’s a noble thought.
But you have to be upfront about this stuff. Does it suck that Verizon and AT&T have costly data limits? Yes. That doesn’t mean you should decide the quality of service they get, though. Give them the option, and if they can’t manage their data properly then it’s on them. It’s a risky stance to take, but we’re sure it’ll be well worth the potential losses you incur to avoid stepping over that blurred net neutrality line folks are talking so much about lately.
Thankfully Netflix does seem to be taking steps in the right direction. Their latest beta update conveniently adds a Data Saver function to use while you’re on a mobile network to give you control over the quality of the video coming in no matter what your situation is. We’re sure they’re going to want to get this thing out ASAP so they can shutter the doors on this situation and start praying everyone forgets about it.
[via Wall Street Journal]