T-Mobile has responded to accusations from YouTube of throttling video traffic to match the Binge On program. Speaking to DSLReports, a T-Mobile representative called YouTube’s comments “misleading.”
“We aren’t slowing down YouTube or any other site,” said the T-Mobile representative. “In fact, 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.”
Last week, YouTube said that T-Mobile actively lowered the quality of video across the network. Since YouTube is not a part of the Binge On program — which lowers video to DVD quality in exchange for waiving the data cost — the video giant accused T-Mobile of network throttling.
T-Mobile is walking a thin line here, especially if it has downgraded quality for customers who previously watched HD videos without stutter. It might be accused of holding network resources back, which would be throttling. The original announcement for Binge On said all channels supported would receive the optimization, but did not say that services like YouTube would also receive a video quality downgrade to match.
Last month, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said the program is “highly innovative and highly competitive” and did not break net neutrality laws, but his point of view seems to have changed since last month.
We will find out in the next few weeks if the network downgrade is enough to constitute throttling. If the FCC sides with YouTube, that might be the end for the short-lived Binge On program, and for other similar programs launched by AT&T and Comcast.