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Netflix Aims to Save Data; AT&T, Verizon Just Take

2016 04 07   Peter Feinstein   Media and Politics    

The small minds at the phone companies who decry Netflix’s reduced image quality don’t know how stupid they sound.

AT&T executive Jim Cicconi’s claim of outrage – “Netflix throttling video for AT&T, Verizon users” (USA Today, March 25) – is so bombastic that it’s funny. He doesn’t seem to understand the difference between throttling data on his company’s side being criminal when it’s direct claims are otherwise, and Netflix’s, which reduces image quality so that subscribers of AT&T’s expensive services don’t get dinged for watching the shows they want. And just in case Cicconi and the others at AT&T, or Verizon for that matter, still can’t discern between the two, here’s a quick insight: Anyone watching video on their phone will easily be able tell the difference between 1080p and 480p resolutions, but that same consumer will be mystified as to why his or her connection speed plummets due to the phone companies’ throttling because they don’t want to marginalize their profit performance.

Netflix broadcasts lower resolution video to save its subscribers money, while the phone giants throttle their data flows to reduce their costs and boost profits, without informing their customers of what they’re doing – a tactic that often violates their very own terms of service.

As I always say: “Follow the money.” I suggest AT&T and Verizon learn to keep quiet before they raise the ire of more subscribers. T-Mobile will, I’m sure, be happy to help those who defect.