Tag: internet

Netflix Confirms It Has Been Throttling Video Quality

marc bombenon phone streaming

We live in a society where media and entertainment are constantly being consumed. It’s an arms race to be the phone and/or internet provider that wins over the largest portion of the general public. The most recent frenzy revolves around Netflix, the media streaming giant that is dominating the streaming market.

The CEO of T-Mobile, John Legere, recently made an implication that his company’s rivals, Verizon and AT&T were secretly and purposefully lowering the video quality of the Netflix app. His direct quote was,

 “Did you know that when you watch Netflix on T-Mobile you get it at 480p, and the duopoly actually delivers it at 360p? I bet you didn’t know that. Go check. It’s true.”

Claims of this nature are not taken lightly, and both Verizon and AT&T were up in arms about the accusation. They did not have to fight for their honor for long, as Netflix stepped forward and admitted that they were the ones doing the “throttling” of the video quality.

This came as a shock to many, as Netflix has been at the forefront of the “open Internet” movement. They admitted that they have been limiting the video speeds to most of the major wireless carriers; but it was with good intentions. Netflix says they were reducing video quality to protect the consumer. Almost all major wireless carriers have mobile data caps, and Netflix wanted to help their consumers avoid hitting that cap, as that would likely discourage users from streaming in the future.

Netflix has come forward to say that they don’t reduce video quality for Sprint and T-Mobile (so John Legere was not wrong), “because “historically those two companies have had more consumer-friendly policies.” When clients of Verizon or AT&T go over their data limit, the carriers charge overage fees, while T-Mobile and Sprint reportedly just slow down connections.

This is a very interesting situation as it brings to light the pressures that apps are under to provide a quality experience for their users, while taking the powers of the carrier providers into consideration. Now that the news it out, Netflix is working on solutions to the video quality vs data cap dilemma. There are talks of a mobile data server that could be rolled out as soon as May, that would let users “stream more video under a smaller data plan.”


 

To see resources and read more information on this topic, please see the source articles: Telecoms & Wall Street Journal.

Making City Connectedness More Accessible

marc bombenon homeless connectedness

As technology continues to evolve at exponential rates, it is simultaneously becoming deeply ingrained in city culture. Almost everything that we do on a day-to-day basis revolves around technology and the internet, which in the hustle and bustle means our mobile devices are the key to connecting. Shopping, ordering services, searching for jobs, and almost every other task is almost exclusively tied to having internet access.

This hybridization of technology and city-living means that it is quickly becoming easier and easier for the disadvantaged to “fall through the gaps”. While it is true that 95% of people suffering from homelessness have a mobile device, that is simply not enough to keep them alive, safe, and in a position to regain their footing in society.

Having a mobile phone is simply not enough, and does not guarantee Connectedness in society. Research done by the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network found that homeless individuals with phones still had to endure restrictions of service, credit shortages, theft, and even more simple… the lack of access to a charging station. A study found that nearly 32% of the people involved had limited access to power, and difficulty charging their mobile device. The continuous struggle to keep their phones on and functioning leaves very little time for individuals to focus on job hunting and accessing other resources. Not only that, these mobile devices can be the difference between life and death. With public phones being virtually non-existent, emergency situations require access to a private phone. If an individual has had their phone stolen or does not have a charged device any emergency could quickly become lethal, simply because of the inability to call emergency services.

Making Connections, a project based in Australia is working to find solutions to these issues, and help better connectivity and access for the underprivileged in city environments. They have started working directly with youth that have experienced homelessness in order to use their life experience and input to develop innovative solutions to the connectivity problem at hand. The initial goals are to find ways to create free/widespread access to power and WiFi, more flexible mobile payment plans, and a more efficient resource for support services.

To see the article that inspired this blog, click here.

 

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