Netflix admitted yesterday it’s been secretly throttling video streams for AT&T and Verizon customers – it said to prevent these people from consuming their entire data plan in a matter of hours – and soon it’ll let you opt to do this yourself.
Starting in May, Netflix apps will get a data saver feature that lets people set their own consumption limits.
It hasn’t revealed much more detail – but the news was no doubt prompted by the revelations around AT&T and Verizon.
In fact, Netflix has explained that its default bitrate for viewing over mobile networks is capped globally at 600 kilobits per second – so it’s actually been throttling video for everyone, not particular network customers.
The company explains:
We believe restrictive data caps are bad for consumers and the Internet in general, creating a dilemma for those who increasingly rely on their mobile devices for entertainment, work and more… It’s about striking a balance that ensures a good streaming experience while avoiding unplanned fines from mobile providers.
Obviously stealthily throttling traffic wasn’t a good move on Netflix’s part – but in place of actually getting network providers to do something about data charges – this has got to be a reasonable thing all round, right?