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T-Mobile says it's 'optimizing' YouTube video, not throttling it

Looking to deflect allegations, T-Mobile denied that it's throttling YouTube for users of its Binge On perk, instead saying that it's presenting "mobile optimized" content.

"Using the term 'throttle' is misleading," a representative explained to DSL Reports. "We aren't slowing down YouTube or any other site. In fact, because video is optimized for mobile devices, streaming from these sites should be just as fast, if not faster than before. A better phrase is 'mobile optimized' or a less flattering 'downgraded' is also accurate."

Last week YouTube complained to the Wall Street Journal that T-Mobile was degrading its video to 480p resolution, even though it isn't a Binge On partner. In exchange for sub-HD video, Binge On allows people to watch video from services like Netflix and HBO without it counting against their data caps.

"Reducing data charges can be good for users, but it doesn't justify throttling all video services, especially without explicit user consent," a YouTube spokesman said at the time.

T-Mobile blamed the problem on the software it uses to flag videos as exempt from caps, which is apparently poor at recognizing YouTube content. The two companies are reportedly working on solving the flaw.

The point could eventually be moot, as the U.S. Federal Communications Commission has expressed worries that things like Binge On may violate net neutrality rules. Services participating in Binge On could be said to have preferential treatment of their traffic, putting other services at a disadvantage.