A Bunch of Mindless Jerks Who’ll Be the First Against the Wall When the Revolution Comes.

What a surprise. As soon as Ajit Pai and his evil minions repealed Net Neutrality, the Telcos started trying to shut down rivals.
In fact, they were doing so well before the repeal, because the FCC didn’t have time to find and fine them.

Capitalism at its finest:

US cellphone networks are all throttling video to some extent, providing lower-quality stream to their customers, and some are purposefully undermining Skype as an alternative to their services.

That’s the upshot of a ten-month study by Northeastern University’s College of Computer and Information Science set up to see what impact, if any, the end of net neutrality rules had had only ordinary users.

On the pure question of whether the FCC’s decision to scrap its own rules has changed cellphone operators’ behavior, the answer is no, they haven’t – they were throttling before and they have continued to do so.

However, the authors note that such throttling was actually banned under the previous rules. So it was likely the case that there was not enough time for the FCC’s enforcement department to clamp down on that behavior before the rules were rescinded.

As to the throttling itself, intriguingly it is not consistent across video providers or operators, suggesting that there may be deals between certain mobile phone networks and certain video streaming companies to let their videos pass through unthrottled.

And if that’s the case, then of course there is a pressure point that cellular networks can use to extract money from video companies – which is exactly what net neutrality advocates are concerned about. But there is no smoking gun as such.

Demand and supply

It could be that the throttling is activated to tackle network congestion: as available bandwidth is consumed by people streaming and downloading stuff over the airwaves, operators may limit speeds to ensure an even level of quality-of-service for everyone in a particular cell, neighborhood, or city.

What is worrying, though, is the fact that some mobile operators are throttling a clear competitor in the form of Skype. Sprint seems to be the worst offender but Boost was also seen to be throttling the voice-and-video streaming service.

FYI, Boost is Sprint, in the US at least, so the rat-f%$#ery is actually from the same company.

Rule one of telecommunications and last-mile connectivity providers are that they contemptible greed-heads who need to be kept on a short leash.

Rule two is see rule one.

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