Well that didn’t take long. Just three months ago the FCC officially repealed Net Neutrality, and the ISPs are already starting to “throttle” data speeds for various publishers. For the uneducated, throttling refers to speeding up/down data delivery rates. Think of it a like a dial Comcast, Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, etc., can turn up or down at will to effect how quickly you receive digital content.
An independent watchdog group has installed an app called Wehe in 100,000 devices it’s using to test data speeds. Wehe’s findings are uncovering thousands of instances of throttling down content by all the major ISPs. The majority of the slowed content is video, which takes up the most data, of course. As a result video-heavy pubs like YouTube, Netflix and Amazon Video are being affected the most.
The ISPs will say the decision to throttle down video content helps speed up other data delivery – like when you kick the big guy out of the buffet line so there’s more food for everyone else. Cynics will counter by saying this is a first step in the ISP’s strategy to charge more for inevitable higher speed lanes. Their prediction is you’ll eventually see “Have you noticed how slow your streamed video content is?” ads, followed by an offer to pay more for faster speeds. There’s an evil irony in this scenario, given that the ISPs are the ones who throttled down your data in the first place.