The mystery of whether or not Verizon was intentionally capping video streaming speeds on Netflix and YouTube didn’t last very long, as the company just provided a statement to The Verge and Ars Technica on Friday admitting as much. Apparently, the 10Mbps speed cap that Verizon customers were running into wasn’t a glitch or a mistake, but rather a “network test” that “should be completed shortly.”
Here’s the statement that the two publications received on Friday regarding the data throttling:
“We’ve been doing network testing over the past few days to optimize the performance of video applications on our network. The testing should be completed shortly. The customer video experience was not affected.”
As innocent as that statement sounds, it doesn’t reflect what Verizon customers were experienced when they tested their data speeds on Netflix’s Fast.com speed test tool. Verizon was clearly testing a data cap, limiting users to 10Mbps when streaming video on Netflix and possibly on YouTube as well.
As we explained previously, 1080p HD video can stream smoothly at these speeds, but as Ars Technica notes, Verizon made a big show of the fact that it doesn’t “manipulate the data” like T-Mobile does. This may have just been a test, but it signals that Verizon is considering going back on that promise.
Furthermore, as The Verge points out, this appears to be a clear violation of net neutrality rules, which require common carriers like Verizon to treat all traffic equally. Specifically throttling the data speeds of Netflix or YouTube is simply not allowed, but that’s exactly what Verizon is doing. If Verizon plans to throttle all streaming video, that would be different, but that’s not what’s happening.