- Three U.S. Senate Democrats sent an accusatory letter to the Big Four wireless carriers.
- The letter suggests the carriers are throttling customers’ video streams without disclosing, which is an FCC violation.
- The data the senators based their accusations on has yet to be independently verified.
If you’ve had the feeling your mobile streaming is slower than it should be, you might not just be imagining things. According to research collected by a testing platform called Wehe, each of the Big Four carriers is throttling video streams from major media apps.
In the case of Sprint, it is additionally accused of throttling Skype calls.
In response to this, three U.S. Senate Democrats sent a letter to the Big Four carriers (the aforementioned Sprint, as well as T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon) inquiring as to what is going on — and demanding answers to some tough questions (via ArsTechnica).
The three senators — Edward Markey (D-Mass.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) — are asking for “a list of all applications or services that are subject to traffic discrimination,” among other pieces of information.
Although mobile throttling didn’t explicitly violate Net Neutrality laws when they were in action (and obviously doesn’t now that they are gone), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) does explicitly require mobile carriers to disclose any mobile throttling to its customers. The data collected from the Wehe platform suggests there is hidden throttling occurring of which customers are likely unaware, which would give the FCC the ability to take action.
Sprint denies throttling Skype calls and confirmed it received the letter from the senators and will respond directly. AT&T questioned the validity of the Wehe results.
FCC chairman Ajit Pai is aware of the letter sent by the senators but also is not certain the Wehe data is ironclad. “My understanding is that the data and analysis that went into those conclusions have not been made available to the extent that others independently can verify those results,” Pai said.
According to the letter, the Big Four carriers have until December 6, 2018, to respond.