Let’s open with this clip from the CEO and President of T-Mobile US.
Already you’re thinking: Am I loving this really down-to-earth executive because he f-bombs or Why is this executive cursing out someone via Twitter?
That answer is yours to determine, but let’s try and backtrack to why such a moment has “momented.”
T-Mobile offers Binge On: Legere announced that starting back on November 15, T-Mobile customers could enjoy streaming video—provided at a bitrate equivalent to 480p—from content producers like ESPN, Fox Sports, HBO, Hulu, and Netflix—and legal porn, he also stressed—without it stressing their data plans.
But on Monday, nonprofit digital civil liberties watch group The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) called whoa whoa stop the clock by announcing their studies indicate T-Mobile is “throttling” (intentional slowing of internet service) every video that’s being streamed. The FCC says such a practice is not OK under net neutrality standards:
“No Throttling. The 2010 open Internet rule against blocking contained an ancillary prohibition against the degradation of lawful content, applications, services, and devices, on the ground that such degradation would be tantamount to blocking. This Order creates a separate rule to guard against degradation targeted at specific uses of a customer’s broadband connection:
“A person engaged in the provision of broadband Internet access service, insofar as such person is so engaged, shall not impair or degrade lawful Internet traffic on the basis of Internet content, application, or service, or use of a non-harmful device, subject to reasonable network management.”
The CEO’s response? Calling b-llsh-t on the EFF. Literally. At the 1:32 mark.
He also words his response as such: “There are people out there saying we’re ‘throttling,’ that’s a game of semantics and it’s b-llsh-t. That’s not what we’re doing. Really. What throttling is, is slowing down data and removing customer control. Let me be clear: Binge On is neither of those things. When you stream video with a participating site with Binge On, it never subtracts any data from your plan. And you know what? Mobile customers often don’t want, or need, full, heavy, giant video data files. So we built technology to optimize for mobile screens and stream at a bitrate designed to stretch your mobile data consumption. You get the same quality of video as watching a DVD but now use only one third as much of your data—or of course, no data—when it’s a Binge On content provider. That’s not (airquotes) throttling, that’s a huge benefit.”
“ You get the same quality of video as watching a DVD ”
Net neutrality rules clearly state—as underlined in bold above—that providers of internet access service “shall not impair or degrade lawful Internet traffic.”
In the T-Mobile case, a content provider like Hulu or HBO might have given the OK to lower its bitrate as part of Binge On —but what about a company like YouTube, that broadcasts in HD quality, superior to DVD quality—and has not given permission to have its stream altered? If T-Mobile is degrading all video content regardless…well, one could see what the EFF is talking about.
Unless of course, you are John Legere:
It should be noted that Legere soon tweeted that he does know who the EFF is:
But just in case you’re not familiar with the EFF, they have successfully battled The Secret Service and U.S. Department of Justice in court—so anyone out there who might want to challenge them, like, maybe the CEO of a wireless telecommunications provider—it’s probably going to be quite the scrum.