Los Gatos, California – Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) has confirmed on Thursday that it has throttled video streams for most wireless carriers around the world and that it has been doing it for more than five years now.

A week after AT&T Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc. accused the entertainment company of throttling its customers’ Netflix streams; The Company has accepted the blame for the degraded video quality. Subscribers of the company need a minimum data speed of 500 Kbps to stream content. But Netflix admitted it has limited the streaming speeds of AT&T and Verizon Wireless customers to just 600 Kbps.

Netflix admits to throttling video quality on AT&T and Verizon ‘to protect consumers’. Credit: 9to5Mac

The issue came to light after T-Mobile US Inc.’s chief executive last week said Verizon and AT&T customers were receiving lower-quality Netflix streams. The carriers denied throttling Netflix videos.

It was all for the user’s own good

The popular streaming-video service told the Wall Street Journal it has been slowing its video transmission on wireless carriers around the world, including Verizon and AT&T to “protect consumers from exceeding mobile data caps.” In a recent post on its official blog, Netflix says they’ve been throttling to protect its members from overage charges when they exceed mobile data caps.

Netflix spokesperson Anne Marie Squeo wrote in a blog post that this issue is about striking a balance that ensures a good streaming experience while avoiding unplanned fines from mobile providers.

“This hasn’t been an issue for our members. Our research and testing indicate that many members worry about exceeding their mobile data cap, and don’t need the same resolution on their mobile phone as on a large screen TV to enjoy shows and movies.” Squeo wrote in the post.

Netflix will give users more control over data consumption

In May, it expects to develop a “data saver” feature for mobile apps that would let users choose, giving them more control over their data usage. Specifically, the data saver will allow users to either stream more video but with lower-quality or to increase video quality that consumes more mobile data.

Netflix said in its blog post that it would provide more details about its data saver feature as it gets closer to the launch date.

Source: Wall Street Journal