The video streaming slowdowns reported by multiple subscribers on Freedom Mobile’s LTE network are the result of a misapplied tool for 3G video optimization, according to the carrier.
In a recent Reddit post, a subscriber to the Shaw subsidiary wireless brand, p1ckl32, reported that though they clocked speeds as high as 70Mbps on Speedtest.net — more than enough to watch Netflix or YouTube content at 1080p — they were only able to stream at 480p.
The user further noted that after enabling the ‘stats for nerds’ feature on YouTube, which reveals metadata about the streaming video, they found that the video seemed to be throttled at a constant speed of 879Kbps — though the app streamed at 30.3Mbps after setting up a VPN server.
The post received many responses from users that confirmed they too had experienced these slowdowns, and others also noted that the use of a VPN solved the issue.
Several users wondered whether the issue was caused by intentional throttling, raising concerns that the company was failing to abide by the net neutrality practices mandated by Canada’s telecom regulator, which explicitly state that data must be treated in an agnostic manner, regardless of content.
“This tool functioned as expected when applied to our 3G network, but has been unintentionally causing a slowing down of streaming video traffic for some of our customers on our LTE network.”
A Freedom spokesperson, however, says the issue was not intentional, but rather the accidental result of technology designed to improve 3G video streaming.
“Our team has identified an issue with a video optimization tool that we enabled on our 3G data network to optimize transmission of video content to handsets on our network,” said the spokesperson.
“This tool was intended to determine the optimal resolution of video content per particular screen size and real time network conditions, and determine the appropriate resolution for the receiving device.”
Freedom stated that this would allow the carrier to save bandwidth by allocating it where needed and that, even with the tool, customers would still be able to select a higher resolution manually. However, it wasn’t meant to affect the LTE network.
“This tool functioned as expected when applied to our 3G network, but has been unintentionally causing a slowing down of streaming video traffic for some of our customers on our LTE network,” said the spokesperson.
Freedom notes it is working with its vendors to implement a fix for the issue shortly. Let us know in the comments if and when you see the fix.