I’m a pretty happy T-Mobile customer and I recently had a conversation with an IT colleague regarding T-Mobile’s Binge On service.
T-Mobile’s Binge On is a service that allows access to specific content without that content counting toward the user’s monthly data cap – zero rating. The service does optimize the video for 480p (DVD quality) which isn’t too bad given the general size of most smartphones and tablets. That said there is a discussion going on within the community that T-Mobile’s Binge On violates net neutrality. I didn’t originally agree that Binge On violates Net Neutrality since the service is completely optional, you don’t need to use it if you don’t want. It’s pretty clear that T-Mobile is being a disruptor in the cellular market. As a customer with three teen aged daughters the service is a big hit with them.
You can realize my surprise when this IT colleague told me that T-Mobile is actually throttling all video traffic regardless of whether or not the content provider is participating in the Binge On program. I quickly found the article from Jeremy Gillula titled, EFF Confirms: T-Mobile’s Binge On Optimization is Just Throttling, Applies Indiscriminately to All Video. After this revelation I now feel that T-Mobile is violating net neutrality rules by impeding traffic from content providers that aren’t participating in the Binge On program when the Binge On feature is active on the phone and not communicating that fact to their customers.
It appears to me that T-Mobile wasn’t being truly transparent in this case. And of course the feature is optional but it is enabled by default, but of course it is enabled by default. It wouldn’t serve T-Mobile anything if it was opt-in and not opt-out. In a story from Jon Brodkin titled, T-Mobile’s Binge On: When throttling may not break the rules, John argues that because the feature is optional that it may not violate net neutrality.
Are you a T-Mobile customer? What do you think about Binge On?