With the recent introduction of its Binge On service, T-Mobile US is again mangling the English language. Binge On provides preferential treatment of packets “from Netflix and Hulu (which are T-Mobile partners) but not YouTube (which isn’t) without having those streams count against their data plans.” (Wired article, T-Mobile Confirms It Slows Connections to Video Sites, 7 Jan 2016). Dig a little deeper and you’ll discover that if you have the Binge On “service”, T-Mobile will throttle data from YouTube et al to 1.5 Mbps. Some “service”!
Surprise: Binge On is switched on by default
If, like me, you have a legacy “Simple Choice Plan: Unlimited Talk + Text”, you may be surprised to learn that by default your account now includes the Binge On “service”. (Thank you T-Mobile, I prefer that you not throttle my YouTube videos.) As far as I can see, Binge On provides no advantage for users with truly unlimited data plans. In fact, it slows down their YouTube viewing. Here’s how to turn Binge On off:
- Log in to your T-Mobile account
- Click on Profile (upper right hand corner)
- Click on Media Settings
- Click on Binge On to turn it off (as illustrated below):
I mistakenly thought that T-Mobile’s legacy plans were immune from encroachment by throttling. I was wrong. Apparently the FCC wishes to chat with T-Mobile about its latest twisting of words’ meanings: T-Mobile’s Binge On: When throttling may not break the rules, Arstechnica, 7 January 2016.
Is Binge On legal? According to the EFF,
. . . throttling all traffic based on application type definitely violates the principles of net neutrality. It also obviously violates the FCC’s Open Internet Order, which says that ISPs
“…shall not impair or degrade lawful Internet traffic on the basis of Internet content, application, or service…subject to reasonable network management”