A new research conducted by the researchers from Northeastern University and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst has revealed that wireless carriers are throttling the speed for popular video streaming sites such as Netflix, Youtube, and Amazon Prime.
In one of its kind study, reported by Bloomberg, the researchers have used an application named Wehe which is downloaded by as many as 1,00,000 consumers. The app works by keeping track of the carriers throttling internet speed and for what services are speed throttled.
The data obtained from the app has revealed that Youtube is one of the prime targets of the carriers who are slowing down internet speed followed by Netflix, Amazon Prime and NBC Sports app.
Throttling refers to treating a type of traffic on a network differently than the other types. The app used in the study has proved that Verizon Communications Inc, has differentiated between different types of traffic more than 11,100 times in the period between January and early May this year.
AT&T throttled 8,398 times, T-Mobile US Inc. has been accused of throttling traffic 3,900 times, and Sprint Corp’s Network has done it 339 times.
According to carriers the reason behind throttling is managing internet traffic efficiently. The reason why most consumers fail to identify the slowing speed is the fact that videos stream in DVD quality and for streaming videos in HD, you need to pay extra money.
The slowing speed has its own set of benefits such as reduction in bottlenecks and congestion but what is troubling the net neutrality activists is the differentiation between the internet traffic. One of the major principles of Net Neutrality agenda is treating the internet traffic in an equal manner. The law forbids mobile carriers to differentiate internet traffic by user, content, and app.
David Choffnes who is one of the authors included in the study and a developer of Wehe app has said that the data obtained from the app has been shared with Federal Trade Commission which is an authority responsible for keeping a check on U.S. internet service providers.
Choffnes has assured that he is against the discrimination between the internet traffic by mobile carriers and he is waiting for a year’s worth of data to be collected by the Wehe app so that he can put forward his findings in a major technology research conference.
Whether his research and app have the power to stop carriers from throttling internet speed remains to be seen.