Is T-Mobile intentionally “throttling data” or just feeding the beast?

YouTube spokesperson said today that T-Mobile’s new BingeOn video streaming service, which it offers to subscribers for free, is interfering with and reducing the quality of YouTube video traffic.

According to The Internet Association, an Internet advocacy group, “T-Mobile’s new ‘streaming optimization’ program appears to involve throttling of all video traffic, across all data plans, regardless of network congestion.” T-Mobile justifies its new offering by stating that BingeOn uses 1/3 the amount of data, and thus is overall beneficial to congested networks.

However it only takes some basic math to determine that if and when T-Mobile increases its BingeOn subscriber base, the amount of data used will be more than comparable to other content providers who are still supplying high-definition videos. In any case, the FCC has been asked to conduct a review to determine whether or not BingeOn is in violation of net neutrality rules, which are meant to enforce equal access to content across all content providers.

The Internet Association supports the FCC’s request to T-Mobile for “additional insight” in to the process BingeOn uses, and declares that “Reducing data charges for entire classes of applications can be legitimate and benefit consumers, so long as clear notice and choice is provided to service providers and consumers. However, a reasonably designed zero-rating program does not include the throttling of traffic for services or consumers that do not participate.”

In other words, technological innovations, especially those that save consumer’s money while at the same time optimizing network efficiency, are more than welcome within the wireless industry, but not if they affect other content providers’ service offerings, against their will.

At the heart of the matter is another question worth pondering here: Is it fair for T-Mobile to “force” other content providers to trim down their video bandwidth to match T-Mobile’s 480p, thereby providing the same low-resolution/ low-quality videos to their customers, or else

What do you think?

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