With the Obama-era net neutrality rules on life support as Senate Democrats search for one more vote to potentially halt the repeal process, one mobile app is trying to hold carriers accountable for throttling certain services.
Developed by Northeastern University researcher David Choffnes, Wehe runs tests on multiple popular streaming apps (YouTube, Amazon, NBCSports, Netflix, Skype, Spotify and Vimeo) to see if your carrier is defying net neutrality rules. Unfortunately, Apple rejected Wehe during the review process, claiming that it “has no direct benefits to the user.” But after a small uproar online yesterday, Apple apparently changed its tune.
Less than 24 hours after news about Apple’s decision to reject the app began to spread like wildfire, Wehe is now free to download on the App Store. Speaking with Ars Technica, Choffnes said that the App Store review team reached out and “mentioned something about how there are lots of apps that claim to do something they cannot possibly do (e.g., medical diagnosis from sensors that don’t exist), and so they have to be careful.”
After all the attention Wehe has received in the past 48 hours, some users are experiencing errors due to heavy load on the servers, so you may have to wait a while before you can actually test it. Many users are reporting that tests are failing to finish, which means that trying to run any right now could be a waste of time.
Net neutrality rules are still in place for a month or two, but providing no one can stop their repeal, a service like this will become very useful. Of course, it will no longer be against the rules to provide preferential treatment to one service over another, but at least users will be able to keep track as it happens and raise a fuss.