Netflix admits to downgrading video quality on AT&T, Verizon

Netflix admits to downgrading video quality on AT&T, Verizon

PanARMENIAN.Net - AT&T Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc. were on the defensive last week after accusations swirled they were throttling the quality of Netflix Inc. video on their wireless networks. It turns out it was Netflix that was doing the throttling, the Wall Street Journal said.

Netflix has been lowering the quality of its video for customers watching its service on AT&T or Verizon Communications wireless networks.

The popular video service said Thursday, March 24 that for more than five years it has limited its video speeds to most wireless carriers across the globe, including AT&T and Verizon, to “protect consumers from exceeding mobile data caps,” which may discourage future viewing, WSJ reported.

Netflix said it caps its streams at 600 kilobits-per-second—much slower than what should be possible on modern wireless networks. It hasn’t previously disclosed the practice. The issue came to light after T-Mobile US Inc.’s chief executive last week said Verizon and AT&T customers were receiving lower-quality Netflix streams. The carriers denied throttling Netflix videos.

Netflix said it doesn’t limit its video quality at two carriers: T-Mobile and Sprint Corp., because “historically those two companies have had more consumer-friendly policies.” When customers exceed their data plans on Sprint or T-Mobile, the carriers usually slow their network connections, rather than charge overage fees.

On Thursday, Netflix said it is also exploring “new ways to give members more control in choosing video quality.” It is working on a mobile “data saver” to be rolled out in May that would allow consumers to “stream more video under a smaller data plan, or increase their video quality if they have a higher data plan.”

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