Several subscribers of the wireless carrier Verizon have noticed substantially slower data speeds once connected to the video streaming service Netflix. In a thread on the Verizon subreddit, subscribers are posting the speeds they have obtained from popular data speed test websites like Speedtest and Fast.com. The latter is a service provided by Netflix to help users check the data transfer speeds between user's devices and the servers operated by the video streaming service. To ensure that the problem is with the mobile data connection and not with Netflix's servers, some users also compared the data speeds obtained through the mobile network with those measured when connected to a Wi-Fi network.
Based on the measured download data speeds obtained by Verizon subscribers, it seems that the carrier's connection to the video streaming site is limited to around 10Mbps. Once the subscribers connect their devices to Wi-Fi networks, the measured data speeds obtained via Fast.com match those obtained from Speedtest and other similar services. This discrepancy makes it clear that the problem lies on Verizon's network and not on Netflix. There are also reports that a similar data speed limit is currently imposed on YouTube. Subscribers record maximum data transfer speeds of 10Mbps when streaming video from Google's video streaming service but when connected via VPN, the maximum download speeds measured by Verizon's subscribers increase by as much as 200%. In real life, increased data speeds result in improved video quality through increased resolution and decreased time spent waiting to load videos.
While download speed limitations when streaming videos are a common practice among US wireless carrier, it is frowned upon by several groups, especially by the advocates of net neutrality. AT&T and T-Mobile have long restricted video streaming to standard definition quality for its base unlimited plans while the fourth largest carrier in the United States, Sprint, limits its video quality to 1080p. Sprint also limits gaming data to 8Mbps and music streaming to 1.5Mbps. At this point, Verizon has yet to comment on this issue and until they do so, subscribers could only speculate on why the carrier is imposing these data speed limits.