According to U.S. FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly, the government may need to investigate Netflix’s practice of throttling video content delivery to customers using mobile devices.

That said, O’Reilly was quick to bring light to the fact that Netflix’s video throttling was not a violation of the FEC’s Net neutrality rules. Neflix fecently announced plans to offer a data saver feature for mobile apps beginning in May.

netflix throttlingnetflix throttlingnetflix throttlingnetNetflix has made a clear stand as a proponent of Net neutrality and admitted that it secretly throttled back the speed of its video customers of Verizon and AT&T without actually disclosing its policy to the mobile carriers used by its own customers, according to The Wall Street Journal. The news surfaced after T-Mobile CEO John Legere accused the two rival carriers of throttling back their speeds, not knowing that Netflix was actually responsible for the throttling.

Netflix has generally poised itself as a company against restrictive data caps, as it considers such caps as negatively affecting consumers and the internet’s development in general. However, it did set a default rate at 600 kilobits per second as a way to strike a tentative balance between its consumers’ quality video experience and the potentially excessive charges from mobile carriers for its customers.

Spokesperson Anne Marie Squeo elaborated on Netflix’s perspective, which asserts that customers don’t actually need the same resolution on their phones as they do on large-screen televisions or computers:

“However,” she stated, “we recognize some members may be less sensitive to data caps or subscribe to mobile data plans from carriers that don’t levy penalties for exceeding caps.”

The American Cable Association last week asked that the Federal Communications Commission launch some kind of investigation into the practices of edge providers.

“ACA has said all along that the Federal Communications Commission’s appraoch to Net neutrality is horribly one-sided and unfair because it leaves consumers unprotected from the actions of edge providers that block and throttle lawful traffic,” explained ACA President Matthew Polka.

net“While we’re disappointed to hear that Netflix has been throttling its videos for AT&T and Verizon customers, I think it’s important to realize that this wasn’t a violation of Net neutrality, since it was the edge provider itself who made the decision to throttle its own traffic,” stated Jeremy Gillula, staff technologist at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Gillula believed that Netflix had a responsibility to disclose its throttle policy earlier and more transparently, adding that all companies should have to be straight-forward with their customers.

Others believe that people who take issue with Netflix’s throttling are actually blowing the issue out of proportion, given that the real threat involves the fact that Internet service providers are coming between a provider like Netflix and its customers.

Christopher Mitchell sees the issue this way, stating that “In this case, Netflix is making choices regarding its own customers and is not impacting any other business. So I was not upset or worried learning that Netflix is going this,” he concluded. Mitchell is the director of the Community Broadband Networks Initiative at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance.

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