Binge On! - And So This is Net Neutrality?

Constantine A. Murenin mureninc at
Fri Dec 11 12:36:39 UTC 2015

On 23 November 2015 at 20:05, Owen DeLong <owen at> wrote:
>> On Nov 23, 2015, at 17:28 , Baldur Norddahl <baldur.norddahl at> wrote:
>> On 24 November 2015 at 00:22, Owen DeLong <owen at> wrote:
>>> Are there a significant number (ANY?) streaming video providers using UDP
>>> to deliver their streams?
>> What else could we have that is UDP based? Ah voice calls. Video calls.
>> Stuff that requires low latency and where TCP retransmit of stale data is
>> bad. Media without buffering because it is real time.
>> And why would a telco want to zero rate all the bandwidth heavy media with
>> certain exceptions? Like not zero rating media that happens to compete with
>> some of their own services, such as voice calls and video calls.
>> Yes sounds like net neutrality to me too (or not!).
>> Regards,
>> Baldur
> All T-Mobile plans include unlimited 128kbps data, so a voice call is effectively
> already zero-rated for all practical purposes.
> I guess the question is: Is it better for the consumer to pay for everything equally,
> or, is it reasonable for carriers to be able to give away some free data without opening
> it up to everything?
> To me, net neutrality isn’t as much about what you charge the customer for the data, it’s about
> whether you prioritize certain classes of traffic to the detriment of others in terms of
> service delivery.

This is where I believe the issue comes up with BingeOn that didn't
manifest with Music Freedom — with the earlier Music Freedom
promotion, they've started offering unlimited music streaming with
select providers.  As Owen rightly points out, since most T-Mo plans
already include unlimited 128kbps, Music Freedom is basically just a
wash, and is much more about T-Mo's own marketing than about traffic

*** With or without Music Freedom, you can already stream unlimited
music from any provider, even if you're tethered or use a VPN, or
both! ***

(Yes, if you do use select providers, you also get to use your 4G
bucket allocation in full, whereas otherwise, it may get "wasted" on
128kbps streaming; not ideal, but a relatively minor detail in the
grand scheme of things.)

But BingeOn is very different:

I use a VPN.  I set my Netflix player to 480p.  I quit all other
traffic.  Oops, since I've already watched too much porn (somehow none
of which is zero rated for BingeOn, even if you're not using a VPN;
isn't that a first red flag about their scheme right there?), and my
high-speed allocation is all up, so, my player doesn't work at all
(Netflix officially requires 512kbps minimum, 128kbps clearly won't

I disable VPN (which they limit to 128kbps as per above), and suddenly
Netflix starts working just fine, since it now gets 1.5Mbps (or
thereabouts), and 480p works just fine, even if you're tethered.  But
yet my porn still doesn't work, even without a VPN!

*** How is this not the very definition of fast vs. slow lanes, if one
set of traffic gets a permanent 1,5Mbps high-speed treatment, whereas
another set of traffic is limited to a slow 128kbps (or effectively
0kbps for video, since it won't stream at all) past the high-speed
allocation? ***

I think what T-Mobile US ought to do is increase the throttling limits
for all — 128kbps was basically set in stone when we still didn't have
any LTE; it takes more than a minute to load any "modern" website or
use any app at such speed nowadays, if things don't just timeout at
all in the first place.

If MVNO companies like can offer
United-States-nationwide unlimited 5Mbps LTE WiFi hotspots for 50$/mo
all-in, T-Mobile US surely ought to be capable of raising the
throttling limit, (1), to 256kbps or even 512kbps on all unlimited
plans (30$+), and, (2), to 1,5Mbps on BingeOn plans (65$+?).

P.S. And a Verizon MVNO offers 256kbps
throttling past their 5GB at 50$ bucket, so, likewise, 128kbps from
T-Mobile is a bit too slow nowadays.

P.P.S. Did anyone notice that Iliad SA, the company that bid for T-Mo
last year, now offers 50GB of 4G Internet for 19,99 EUR/mo in France,
including free long-distance to Alaska and China, and free roaming all
across Europe?  (Speeds reduced in excess of 50GB.)  Wait, not even 19,99 EUR, but 15,99 EUR if you

P.P.P.S. So, did anyone actually file a net neutrality complaint with the FCC?

> If T-Mobile were taking money from the video streaming services or only accepting
> certain video streaming services, I’d likely agree with you that this is a neutrality
> issue.

So, why have they not accepted a single porn site yet?

> However, in this case, it appears to me that they aren’t trying to give an advantage to
> any particular competing streaming video service over the other, they aren’t taking
> money from participants in the program, and consumers stand to benefit from it.

One way or the other, they've so far excluded the whole industry,
which the internet is really-really great for.

> If you see an actual way in which it’s better for everyone if T-Mobile weren’t doing this,
> then please explain it. If not, then this strikes me as harmless and overall benefits
> consumers.

Explained above.  Otherwise, one can deduce that any zero rating
almost always benefits consumers on average and especially in the
short term.

> Owen


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