In November, T-Mobile introduced a new ‘Binge on’ service that zero rates video streaming from participating services so customers can watch as much Netflix as they please — provided they’re ok with a lower video quality.
Binge On, which is enabled by default for all customers, signed up Netflix, Hulu, and HBO at launch. YouTube has taken issue with the service as it also throttles its own videos, even though it doesn’t participate in the program and customers likely aren’t aware it’s happening.
T-Mobile has tried to downplay concerns this week by saying that its “optimizing” YouTube, rather than “throttling” the service and that “using the term “throttle” is misleading.”
A spokesperson told DSL Reports that “because video is optimized for mobile devices, streaming from these sites should be just as fast, if not faster than before. A better phrase is “mobile optimized” or a less flattering “downgraded” is also accurate.
So… the company is basically throttling YouTube, but using different language to dance around it, since the FCC doesn’t take lightly to traffic discrimination.
What’s surprising is that T-Mobile is blanket applying its optimizing techniques to all video, rather than just those that have signed up to the program.
T-Mobile claimed last week that it’s a “technical problem” as it can’t always detect YouTube videos, but that’s no excuse for transparently throttling users’ videos, without their knowledge.
➤ T-Mobile: We’re Not Throttling YouTube, We’re ‘Optimizing’ It! [DSL Reports]