Is Verizon capping Netflix and YouTube at a data speed of 10Mbps?

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Verizon has some unhappy customers at the moment.REUTERS/Brendan McDermidVerizon says it has been "optimizing" video applications on its mobile network in recent days, an admission made after a number of Verizon Wireless subscribers said their mobile data speeds were being limited whenever they streamed videos on Netflix or YouTube. Arstechnia says it ran the test itself on an iPhone handset and got a 10Mbps download speed on fast.com, which is Netflix's speed test tool. The testing should be completed shortly.

Netflix previously throttled video speeds on certain mobile networks in an attempt to provide acceptable video quality without pushing users over their monthly data caps. The customer video experience was not affected. That report, which was prepared by the prior FCC, was withdrawn this year by current Chairman Ajit Pai as part of a larger effort to overhaul the agency's approach to net neutrality. Some have reached the conclusion that Verizon is throttling Netflix speeds. While it's still true that Verizon is allowing users to stream in HD with speeds that are capped at 10 Mbps, the fact remains that there's something going on in regards to Verizon's LTE speeds while customers are streaming video.

Another Reddit thread has additional detail, with Verizon Wireless users saying they're seeing the same thing with YouTube traffic. According to Verizon, it was not just Netflix that was affected, but all online video. "It's what we do, to optimize performance for our customers". Jumping over to Ookla's Speed Test tool, I'm getting more typical and faster rates of around 40Mbps. They're the ones who have been lobbying hard to end net neutrality while claiming they'd never actually do anything to violate net neutrality.

Verizon downplayed that as well.

The cap wouldn't be fast enough to stream videos in 4K, but very few smartphones have screens that sharp to begin with. For example, Netflix requires 25Mbps for 4K video on non-mobile devices.

Of course, that would be a unique situation, but it should not matter. But at the same time, for Verizon users, it raises questions, not the least of which is, if they're paying for an "unlimited" data plan, and Verizon is arbitrarily limiting data from some services, is it doing it to any others? We're not sure how capping video feeds from Netflix, YouTube, and others fits in with that promise.

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