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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
So I posted this to twitter yesterday, and literally no one cared. I guess its because we all assumed they already did this. I also Made a Video and Uploaded it to YouTube, nothing fancy, no editing, just a video capture of my desktop explaining everything if you prefer to watch that, its:


Also, if you care about this and want to try to get an outlet to do their own testing so maybe we can have some accountability here (I know its a Long shot), my Tweet about this is here:

https://twitter.com/MattTheTechLV/status/1291889566647894016

It would be nice to actually be able to make some noise about this topic (I know there is more important things going on in the world, but I feel this is actually something we can push a company to do something about. They said they wouldn't throttle, yet here we are!) Otherwise if you prefer to read, I will include Pics Below.



I am just mad because I just changed my plan from a Plan I was grandfathered into that was kind of crap (20GB Shared between 5 Users, but no Throttling of Data Ever, just Overage Fee's when you went Over) to a new Plan that I thought I would like a lot better, with 30GB Per User of what they called "Premium Data". I asked specifically what this meant, and they told me it meant that I would be able to access any site that I wanted at the Full Speed that my Connection allowed, and then instead of being charged for overages once the 30GB Ran out, that my Connection would just be throttled. This sounded great to me because I have access to WiFi almost everywhere I am where I would actually need data, which is why I was able to never go above 4GB Per month before. But they told me that this 30GB could also be used for Hotpot and Tethering, so I thought why not?

Well both Yesterday and the day before, my Main Internet at the House was in an Outage, both during the day while I was working. So I found a situation where I could just Tether my Phone and continue to work. While I work, I always have YouTube Up on one of my Extra Monitors, watching Tech Content in the background. Well I noticed that the videos kept Buffering every 5 to 10 Seconds for a good 10 to 20 Seconds. So in between jobs, I decided to investigate what the hell was going on, because everything else I was doing (Including remoting into Servers, and Uploading and Downloading files from Clients Google Drives), were going at a reasonable speed for 4G LTE in my area (About 3.75MBps / 30Mbps).

So As you can see here, I was tethering to my Samsung Note 9 Phone using a USB Cable, and On My PC The Only NIC Enabled is the Samsung USB Tethered NIC, everything else is disabled or disconnected. Also Shown here is a Speed Test to Speedtest.net, showing both my Average Bandwidth and the Fact that I am pulling an AT&T IP:


Now When Downloading from any website other than YouTube, I get around the bandwidth I would expect +/- 35% or so, which is the normal Variance when dealing with a 4G Connection. In this example, I am downloading a File from my Google Drive, using JDownloader, a popular downloading tool. You can see in this screen shot that I am getting right around what you would expect (2.31MBps):


So finally, when going to download from YouTube, using the same downloader, still connected to the same 4G Connection, my Phone still sitting in the same exact spot, now all the sudden you can see the download speed is 92% Slower! (Just 180KBps):


This is what I think they should have to answer for. They specifically said they wouldn't do this when Net Neutrality was repealed, and here they are as plain as day doing exactly that. I am not even sure what their competing service to YouTube would be, but I do know that I was told that I could use my "Premium Data" to download or access any site I wanted at full speed. I have only used 1GB of my 30GB Since starting this plan, so I am definitely still in my "Premium" Data window. I also tried Multiple sites to see if this behavior was extended to other sites, and as far as I can tell, YouTube so far as been the only one. I can't download from Netflix currently, but I was able to stream a 4k Video just fine, using on average about 1.5MBps. Same with Disney Plus and Amazon Video. I downloaded from Multiple Services, and none of them had a problem. I find it really funny that Google Drive, another service owned by Google, I can download or Stream a video from just fine, and no throttling happens. But the second you go to download ANY YouTube video, it throttles you to a max speed of 200KBps.

I encourage you guys with AT&T Plans to check this for yourself, as I am sure I am not the only one who will see this behavior. Obviously once you run out of your premium data this is the behavior you would expect, but when You are still well within your "Premium Data" window, this should not be happening. I haven't called AT&T about this yet, I wanted to see if others have seen the same thing first, but since my Twitter has such a small presence, no one responded or seemed to care, so I am hoping at least some of you here do still care about this issue, and will be willing to test for yourselves.

Anyways, I will shut up now. Much Love everyone!
 

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This is similar to how Verizon limits streaming resolution depending on which "unlimited" plan you get. When I first switched to the "Get More" plan streaming was limited to 1080p. Now it's 720p. This does not really affect my quality of life but I would like to use more than 1/4 of the resolution of my iPhone and iPad when I use them to stream Youtube and Netflix.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Well damn, it seems I may be alone in caring about this. As a Poki Simp might say, Big Sad... :sad-smile
 

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This is similar to how Verizon limits streaming resolution depending on which "unlimited" plan you get. When I first switched to the "Get More" plan streaming was limited to 1080p. Now it's 720p. This does not really affect my quality of life but I would like to use more than 1/4 of the resolution of my iPhone and iPad when I use them to stream Youtube and Netflix.
EXACTLY! I hear you there, and AT&T has this same BS in some of there plans. But this "Unlimited" plan I have from them, was supposed to give me 30GB Per User of "Unlimited" bandwidth (Which in its nature is limited if you only get 30GB of it, but whatever). I asked specifically what this meant, and they told me it meant I could access ANY SITE or service, and I asked, they said that included Video Services they did not Own, and be able to stream or download at FULL Speeds.

I thought after I made my Video and Tweet yesterday that maybe this was just because I was downloading it and/or because I was tethered, (Even though they said it included Tethered data), so I then switched to using my PDAnet+ App, which is able to hide the fact that I am tethered, and then ran some more tests, and came up with the same exact results. No matter what, before I turned on my VPN, Youtube was Throttled, and this was when I was Tethered but hiding it with PDAnet+, or just downloading with an App on the Phone itself. Then I switched to monitoring the speed at which I could stream content from Youtube, and that was exactly the same, whether Tethered, or directly on the phone, it would not go over 200KBps. But again, any other site, even ones not owned my AT&T/Warner, streamed and downloaded at Full Speed.

This is Sneaky, and exactly the opposite of the plan they sold me.

Now I am going to find the plan online and read the small Print. It is completely possible that the guy who sold me the plan just lied to me, and there is some kind of exception for certain services, and if so its still sneaky, but at least its there. If not, then this is plainly false advertising.
 

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EXACTLY! I hear you there, and AT&T has this same BS in some of there plans. But this "Unlimited" plan I have from them, was supposed to give me 30GB Per User of "Unlimited" bandwidth (Which in its nature is limited if you only get 30GB of it, but whatever). I asked specifically what this meant, and they told me it meant I could access ANY SITE or service, and I asked, they said that included Video Services they did not Own, and be able to stream or download at FULL Speeds.

I thought after I made my Video and Tweet yesterday that maybe this was just because I was downloading it and/or because I was tethered, (Even though they said it included Tethered data), so I then switched to using my PDAnet+ App, which is able to hide the fact that I am tethered, and then ran some more tests, and came up with the same exact results. No matter what, before I turned on my VPN, Youtube was Throttled, and this was when I was Tethered but hiding it with PDAnet+, or just downloading with an App on the Phone itself. Then I switched to monitoring the speed at which I could stream content from Youtube, and that was exactly the same, whether Tethered, or directly on the phone, it would not go over 200KBps. But again, any other site, even ones not owned my AT&T/Warner, streamed and downloaded at Full Speed.

This is Sneaky, and exactly the opposite of the plan they sold me.

Now I am going to find the plan online and read the small Print. It is completely possible that the guy who sold me the plan just lied to me, and there is some kind of exception for certain services, and if so its still sneaky, but at least its there. If not, then this is plainly false advertising.
Yeah your first mistake was taking the salesman's word for it. At least Verizon is up front about how they are screwing you.

These companies are something else. I pay $50 for Spectrum broadband and my dad pays $100 for the same plan. The difference? Verizon Fios is available in my area (Redondo Beach) for the same price. Where my dad lives (Mission Viejo) Spectrum gives money to the city so they can be the sole broadband provider.
 

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Hmm... First thing I find odd is the premium data bit. If I'm understanding correctly, you're saying you get unlimited data and your "premium data" is the amount you can download before getting throttled? I realize they could technically say "unlimited data" means no additional charges for going over the set limit. But, uh, getting throttled for going over a certain amount less than "unlimited" doesn't strike me as unlimited. I'm not surprised they would do that but... still.

Second point.... I don't want to rain on your parade here either. I don't think you can determine you're being throttled based on DL speed alone. It's possible the source you're pulling your youtube files from is either unable to "send" them or configured in a way where it will not do so at your full connection speed. Paying for and getting X speed from your ISP doesn't mean anything and everything you download from the internet will transfer at X speed, basically.

Third point, ISP's tend to preface your purchased internet package speeds with "up to". It's not by accident.

Keep in mind, none of this is to say providers will not or do not artificially limit transfer speed on certain types of content (type of data, source of it, whatever... probably a long list of characteristics they can manipulate nowadays). It just seems unwise to assume it's occuring because a download is going slow. Much like it's unwise to assume providers actually honor net neutrality concepts when/if they are in place.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Yeah your first mistake was taking the salesman's word for it. At least Verizon is up front about how they are screwing you.

These companies are something else. I pay $50 for Spectrum broadband and my dad pays $100 for the same plan. The difference? Verizon Fios is available in my area (Redondo Beach) for the same price. Where my dad lives (Mission Viejo) Spectrum gives money to the city so they can be the sole broadband provider.
Yeah, these ISP's are out of Control.

It seems I may just be an idiot though. I mean I know I am an idiot, but regarding this whole Throttling thing, I think I may have jumped the Gun. I was so pissed when I found that only my Youtube Content was being Throttled yesterday, and then it kind of got under my skin even more that no one seemed to care. I tweeted at AT&T and everything, and they didn't bother to respond at all, if they had, they would have been able to possibly correct me.

So I just dug into my account. First using a VPN I just went to AT&T's website, found my Plan, which is the "Unlimited Elite (SM)" Plan, and then read the fine Print. I did have the correct understanding for the most part. First of all the sales dude said I only had 30GB of "Premium Data" per user, it turns out that is only when Tethering or Using a Hotspot, otherwise we actually have 100GB per user of "Premium Data" on the device itself when not Tethered or using a Hotspot. So that was cool to find out. But more importantly, it turns out that all of these new plans come with something called "Stream Saver" automatically turned on. What this does is, if they detect you are watching a Video (Or apparently download a video), they throttle your connection to that service to 1.5Mbps, which is why I was seeing 180KBps (180KBps x 8 = 1.44Mbps). It seems there detection method is simply just throttling all connections to a blacklisted site, regardless of what the content is, because it didn't matter if I was downloading Audio, Video, or Images from YouTube, it was all the same speed. What I find interesting though is it seems of all the Video sites I tested, and I tested 5, YouTube was the only one that I found to be throttled, so apparently they need to update their Content Filters, lol.

Anyways, I then logged into my account and checked, and it turns out, Stream Saver was indeed turned on on my account. So I have now disabled it, and I am going to run some more tests in a minute, but I am willing to bet that now I can download a YouTube Video at Full Speed.

If so, it turns out that I just had to look into the specifics of my plan, read the fine print, and configure my account properly and this wouldn't have been an issue. Its just sad that this is the default configuration of the account, and that they obviously aren't advertising this "feature" prominently, or more people would actually know about it.

So now I have to test this, and if it turns out its fine with that "Stream Saver" turned off, I have to update my tweet saying how much of an idiot I am.

Fun times!
 

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Discussion Starter #9

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Hmm... First thing I find odd is the premium data bit. If I'm understanding correctly, you're saying you get unlimited data and your "premium data" is the amount you can download before getting throttled? I realize they could technically say "unlimited data" means no additional charges for going over the set limit. But, uh, getting throttled for going over a certain amount less than "unlimited" doesn't strike me as unlimited. I'm not surprised they would do that but... still.
Yup, its BS. The Irony is not lost on me there. Its not what most would call "Unlimited".

Second point.... I don't want to rain on your parade here either. I don't think you can determine you're being throttled based on DL speed alone. It's possible the source you're pulling your youtube files from is either unable to "send" them or configured in a way where it will not do so at your full connection speed. Paying for and getting X speed from your ISP doesn't mean anything and everything you download from the internet will transfer at X speed, basically.
I definitely understand where you are coming from. You are absolutely correct. Everything I posted here were just examples, I wasted too much time on this, lol. I did multiple tests though, and I was indeed being throttled. I only showed Jdownloader here, but I also monitored each connection to Youtube, and tracked the bandwidth of each, and then ran the same tests to other services. Its not the exact number I really care about, but the average. Obviously Your Bandwidth is dynamic and will change up and down depending on the environment variables, but using the correct tools you can still get an overall picture of throughput to each connection, and it was clear that Youtube was the only thing I found being slowed down. You could tell their was a cap exactly at 180KBps, because as soon as my throughput hit 180KBps it would stay right there, never going over, and not really going under, where as anything else was behaving normally with the variance you would expect.

Also, If I was only testing from one Source, then I could see your Point about some other variable getting in the way, such as the speed the particular site server allows a connection to run at, but first, this site happens to be Youtube, downloading direct from Youtube, no middle man, they DEFINITELY do NOT limit you to 180KBps. Second, I also tested From a VPN, and from my Normal Gigabit Internet when it came back online. From the VPN through the Same AT&T Connection I was getting 3.2MBps down, and when Downloading from my Normal Gigabit Broadband 1 Connection to Youtube allows for about 25MBps, using Jdownloader you can tell it to use Multiple Connections, so Using just 4 Connections to Youtube downloading 1 Video I can download at 100MBps. This is all testing with the same exact Videos, so my path to those Videos and the end server they reside on are damn near identical once exiting the ISPs Servers. So your statement is correct in general, if someone were to have their testing be just watching the speed one video downloads at and thats it, well thats not exactly conclusive, but I didn't stop there I just posted what was easy to understand, I did far more testing then I care to admit (Especially since now it turns out I was just stupid, and it was a "Feature" I had to turn off to get the full speed) there is no doubt here that I was being throttled.

Third point, ISP's tend to preface your purchased internet package speeds with "up to". It's not by accident.

Keep in mind, none of this is to say providers will not or do not artificially limit transfer speed on certain types of content (type of data, source of it, whatever... probably a long list of characteristics they can manipulate nowadays). It just seems unwise to assume it's occuring because a download is going slow. Much like it's unwise to assume providers actually honor net neutrality concepts when/if they are in place.
I know most of those ISP Tricks, and their "UP TO" BS, again my exact Bandwidth was not what I had issue with, as my UP TO for my Plan actually is the full Speed that AT&Ts 4G LTE (Now called 5Ge, so stupid) will allow, which in damn near perfect conditions can be as much as 300Mbps or even higher. I was not at all mad that I wasn't getting Speeds that high, as I don't live close to a Cell Tower, as such the best I get at my house is about a 50% connection, which gets me an Average of around 30Mbps. That sucks, but its what I am used to here at home, and I don't really care because I have Gigabit with my broadband, it just happened to be in an outage yesterday, which is what prompted these tests. So yeah, definitely wasn't complaining that I wasn't getting my 300Mbps, or even my full 30Mbps that I expect in my area, more complaining that I definitely was being throttled when connecting to Youtube to a very specifically low speed.

However, it turns out I was just a dumb ass, and should have read the fine print, so it doesn't matter in the end. There is a stupid "Feature" called "Stream Saver" on by default with my plan. It turns out I just had to turn that off, and this behavior goes away. So before doing all those tests and making a YouTube Video, I probably should have just read the fine print on my plan... :doh:
 
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