Netflix has acknowledged that it's been slowing down video to wireless users in order to get more from their mobile data plans. The streaming-video service told the Wall Street Journal on Thursday it has been slowing its video transmission on wireless carriers around the world, including Verizon and AT&T, for five years to "protect consumers from exceeding mobile data caps."
Anne Marie Squeo, a member of the Netflix communications team, said that th company would soon introduce a "data saver" feature designed for mobile apps.
"The data saver feature will provide members with more control over their data usage when streaming on mobile networks, allowing them to either stream more video under a smaller data plan, or increase their video quality if they have a higher data plan," Squeo said.
Netflix plans to make it available to members sometime in May.
Netflix has been a staunch supporter of Net neutrality, the idea that all traffic on the Internet should be treated equally. That means broadband providers can't block or slow down the online services or applications you use. It also means your Internet provider can't create "fast lanes" that force companies like Netflix to pay an additional fee to speed up delivery of content to you.
"We believe restrictive data caps are bad for consumers and the Internet in general, creating a dilemma for those who increasingly rely on their mobile devices for entertainment, work and more," Squeo added.
Netflix said that, to protect customers from overage charges, it caps video streams for mobile users at 600 kilobits per second, much slower than what's possible on today's wireless networks.
Last week, T-Mobile CEO John Legere alleged that Verizon and AT&T were throttling video speeds. The companies denied the accusation.