YouTube Taking On T-Mobile

T-MobileYouTube is facing off against T-Mobile, accusing the carrier of degrading the streaming quality of its videos. T-Mobile has been offering unlimited streaming of Netflix, HBO and Hulu with its BingeOn package, however, YouTube has been excluded from the list.

If T-Mobile is “throttling all video services” as YouTube says, it could be a violation of the government’s net neutrality rules, something that would likely draw a lot of criticism from Washington regulators.

YouTube’s objection marks one of the first major public complaints against BingeOn. One of its side effects is that it down samples videos to 480p, a lower quality than one might be used to. And since consumers who have a 3 GB data plan or higher are automatically added to BingeOn, and need to opt out rather than opt in, T-Mobile is operating on the edge of neutrality rules.

“Degrading video quality this way violates the FCC’s no-throttling part of the net neutrality rule, which forbids reducing the quality of an applications or an entire class of applications,” Marvin Ammori, a net neutrality lawyer, was quoted as saying.

The Federal Communications Commission sent letters to T-Mobile earlier this month, asking it to explain its policies in greater detail. AT&T and Comcast received similar messages.