Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...

Verizon accused of throttling Netflix and YouTube

Verizon data caps

Earlier this week, a Verizon subscriber on Reddit noticed something peculiar when testing the data speeds on his phone. On (a speed test site powered by Netflix), his download speeds were consistently capping out at 10Mbps, but using Ookla’s Speedtest app, he was seeing significantly higher speeds. He shared his findings with Reddit, and dozens of other Verizon customers reported the same results. Some have reached the conclusion that Verizon is throttling Netflix speeds.

Before we go any further, it’s worth noting that Verizon only assures customers that they will be able to stream HD video on its data plans. As The Verge notes, 10Mbps is plenty to stream 1080p video smoothly on a mobile device, so the average customer will likely never know the difference. A 10Mbps cap could potentially cause problems for 4K video streams, but no one is streaming in 4K on a phone.

While the immediate effects of the possible data cap are negligible in the short term, the fact that Verizon might be throttling video streaming speeds at all is worrisome. Both AT&T and T-Mobile explicitly state in the fine print of their unlimited plans that they “optimize” video streams, but Verizon has never talked about or implemented anything of the sort. So the idea that the carrier would quietly roll out video data caps without informing customers is troublesome, to say the least.

To make matters worse, members of the Howard Forums mobile community claim that YouTube speeds are being throttled as well, which means that this might be more than a fluke with Netflix’s servers.

Either way, it’s too early to reach a definitive conclusion about what’s going on at Verizon, but a Netflix spokesperson said the following when contacted by The Verge: “We are definitely not capping data on our end and don’t cap data for any mobile networks.”

UPDATE: Verizon has issued a statement in response to this story, which you can read in full right here.

Jacob Siegal is Associate Editor at BGR, having joined the news team in 2013. He has over a decade of professional writing and editing experience, and helps to lead our technology and entertainment product launch and movie release coverage.