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Verizon admits to "video optimization" amidst Netflix throttling allegations

In news that is likely to set off a few net neutrality alarms, Verizon has been throttling internet speeds of its users on video streaming sites such as Netflix and YouTube. It also admitted to the claims. Sort of. The company has been working on a network-level optimization for videos that efficiently manages the load without compromising on the quality of the video. Net neutrality laws prohibit throttling but, an exception is made when it comes to network management.

Speaking to Ars Technica, a spokesperson for Verizon claimed that the tests "do not affect the customer video experience". On being checked with Netflix's own speed test tool, the apparent speed was found to be capped at 10Mbps (on a network speed of 80Mbps download, 22Mbps upload). YouTube's "Stats with nerds" showed similar results. However, Verizon maintained that the testing is being done across the board, even for its own video services, adding that it is temporary and testing "should be completed shortly".

On its website, Verizon explains the need for optimization:

"This network management technology is designed to transmit data more efficiently, ease capacity burdens on the network, primarily from video files, and improve the user experience with faster downloads and decreased Internet latency."

Interestingly, Netflix admitted to throttling its own service for its Verizon and AT&T users last year. The idea behind the controversial move by the video streaming company was to "protect consumers from exceeding mobile data caps”. At the time, Verizon had commented that it "delivers video content at the resolution provided by the host service".

If you're a Verizon customer using the aforementioned services, you should be fine as 10Mbps is good enough for most streams (on mobile) anyway, with Netflix recommending at least 5Mbps for HD quality streams according to its Help Center.

Source: Ars Technica

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