T-Mobile’s “Binge On” Program

LevenTech Position
An evolving statement that changes along with current events and input from the public.
Add your thoughts in the comments section.
T-Mobile’s Binge On program is not quite a Net Neutrality violation, but it was introduced poorly.  It should have been opt-in or more transparent about features. T-Mobile’s actions will erode consumer trust in their brand.

T-Mobile has a program called Binge On, which allows mobile subscribers to watch video without the data counting against their subscription plan.  To qualify, the video service must work with T-Mobile to “optimize” (limit) their video streaming to 1.5 Mbps.  To be clear, this concept does not violate the principles of Net Neutrality, because the program is available to all video streaming services free of charge.

This post references Net Neutrality.
Read LevenTech’s Net Neutrality position

The EFF and their followers have criticized the program for violating Net Neutrality in another way.  They tested T-Mobile’s data plan and proved that all web videos were being limited to 1.5 Mbps, regardless of whether that video streaming service had opted into the program.

The FCC’s current Net Neutrality regulations are very clear about this point:  it is not permitted to limit certain types of traffic (like video streaming), unless it’s being done to reduce congestion, and improve the overall experience for the subscriber.  As the EFF has shown, T-Mobile is limiting the speeds of video streaming even when no other data is being used, and even when the subscriber is paying full price for the data.  This is a clear violation of Net Neutrality.

Even the EFF has acknowledged that this wouldn’t be a problem if it was presented clearly as an opt-in program that included video throttling for all providers.  But T-Mobile automatically enabled the program for all subscribers, and was not clear about the throttling.

Leave a Comment