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Wide-Ranging Research Effort Shows Data Speeds Throttled for Big Video Sites

CYBERSPACE—A new, large-scale study by researchers at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and Boston’s Northeastern University appears to confirm that the fears of net neutrality advocates after the Obama-era open-internet rules were repealed are coming true.

According to the study, which covered about 100,000 net users in 161 countries running approximately 500,000 tests on 2,000 ISPs, data speeds for some of the most popular sites on the internet, including Netflix and YouTube, are frequently slowed—or “differentiated”—by the largest service providers, with Verizon and AT&T flagged as the worst offenders, according to a report in the study by Bloomberg News.

YouTube was the most frequent target of data throttling, with Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and the NBC Sports app also regularly suffering from the data throttling. In the study, Verizon was discovered throttling traffic more than 11,000 times, while AT&T was detected engaging in “differentiation” on about 8,400 occasions.

The full study has not been made public, meaning that whether or not it included porn video sites in its data speed studies remains uncertain. But with the study showing that heavily used video streaming sites have been the main targets of data throttling, and by one recent estimate as much as 37 percent of online data traffic is generated by porn, to find that porn sites are also being heavily throttled would be an unsurprising result.