T-Mobile announced its Binge On program, they had hoped to persuade more customers to make the switch from other carriers. And really, Binge On is a great way for users to enjoy watching videos on their device without worrying about reaching their monthly data cap. Well, this isn't something net neutrality supporters are happy with. Not to mention, YouTube has complained that the "Un-carrier" was throttling its videos despite it not being part of the entire program.
In response to this, a representative from the carrier says that the term used, "throttle," can be misleading. They share that they are not slowing down videos from YouTube or any other site that's not part of the Binge On program. Instead, they prefer the phrase 'mobile optimized' or even 'downgraded' as these are more accurate for video streaming with Binge On.
See, what happens with T-Mobile subscribers is that Binge On is (by default) activated on all devices. So even if you don't want to use Binge On, you'd have to manually switch it off from your device. With the program turned on, you won't be able to enjoy watching 4K YouTube videos on your device. Instead, these videos will be pushed back at 480p quality.
While it's great that T-Mobile has its customers' best interests in mind (by activating Binge On by default and all), it's not something everyone wants. With Binge On activated, data charges can be reduced greatly when viewing content from its partners such as Netflix, HBO, and Hulu. However, it shouldn't throttle ALL video services; even those that are not part of the program and without user consent. Google believes Binge On should be an opt-in service instead of one that you'd have to opt-out of.
As for what the FCC has to say about this whole issue, it hasn't enacted on anything yet. It can be argued that T-Mobile has specifically violated its rules on net neutrality but that will be a hard case. If anything, T-Mobile should have been very clear about activating the Binge On program by default on all devices and what this could mean when watching content from other arenas. In doing so, it could have avoided this whole confusion.
If you don't want the program activated on your device, check out our previous post on how to switch off Binge On from your phone.