In this world of nearly-unfettered access to boundless entertainment online, who watches the watchers and their data usage? That is, who’s ensuring that an impromptu Jessica Jones marathon won’t cost Netflix subscribers more than the extra commute time caused by missing their train stop? Oddly enough, that seems to be Netflix, which recently admitted to throttling the streaming rates for Verizon and AT&T customers, though the company swears it was totally in their best interests.
The streaming company copped to the streaming caps on Thursday, stating that it set a 600 kilobits per second limit for Verizon and AT&T customers who stream via their phones in order to “protect our members from overage charges when they exceed mobile-data caps.” Netflix has engaged in this kind of data-belt-tightening for at least five years, according to The Wall Street Journal, but that just means the savings have been going on even longer than those customers realized (right?).
Netflix based its decision after conducting research and testing that indicated “that many members worry about exceeding their mobile data cap.” Because mobile phones feature a lower resolution rate, it wasn’t Netflix’s fault that Master Of None might not have been delivered in its complete digital glory. Of course, none of the affected customers even noticed that the throttling had occurred; this information recently came to light at Netflix’s own admission. Now the company is looking to make amends by launching a “data saver” feature this May, which will allow its subscribers to set their video bit-rate preferences for mobile usage, so they can skimp to avoid overage charges whenever necessary.