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+ - QWest confirms, then denies rate limiting YouTube

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "I live in western Washington. My DSL provider is QWest: I bought 1.5Mb/800Kb. About a week ago, my companion said that her download speed with YouTube, TED and others was substantially less than it had been. I suggested that it might be the outbound load on host site. Her complaints about poor performance persisted. The short of it is that after a long dialog with QWest, they first confirmed that they are rate limiting. They subsequently contacted me to say that they are not rate limiting.

This morning I ran some standard tests: speed test (speedtest.net) reports that I have the full 1.5Mb/sec I bought. I tried viewing a YouTube video, a long one (50 minutes) and found the experience painful, about 20% of the speed it should be. I suspected QWest of rate limiting. I used an external proxy server to view the same YouTube video. It appeared to download at full speed.

I called QWest DSL support. They were unhelpful, even when I escallated to a supervisor. I next called "customer service". The lady I talked to said she wasn't a techie and barely understood the terms "rate limiting" and the like. She transferred me to "Broadband Retention". I explained the apparent rate limiting to that individual. He denied knowing anything about it, but did transfer me to "Louis" in some tech department (not regular DSL support). I explained my observations and tests one more time to "Louis". He denied that QWest was rate limiting. Louis did put me on hold for a good while. When he came back he referred me to the QWest "subscriber agreement" at:
http://www.qwest.com/legal/highspeedinternetsubscriberagreementfilesHSI_Subscriber_Agreement_ENG_v20_042209.pdf
He cites the second page, end of the first paragraph, where it says that QWest may limit speeds. He also cites a "FAQ on Excessive use Policy"
http://www.qwest.com/internethelp/eup/16915_EUP_Details-15.pdf
and admitted that QWest was, indeed, rate limiting YouTube and other streaming sites.

I asked for a discount based on degraded service. Louis conferenced me to "Jason" in the "loyalty group". I told Jason that I thought 1.5Mb/sec but with rate limited access to YouTube, etc, was worth about $10/month. Jason offered $15/month for 3 months. I said, "Not good enough. Make it permanent". He declined.

I told both Jason and Louis that would post a summary of my discussion with QWest to Consumerist, Reddit and Slashdot. I ended the conversation with a polite "Good day".

About 20 minutes later Lousi called to change his previous statement that QWest rate limits YouTube and others. He now declares that QWest does not rate limit. — From my observation, it does appear that QWest does rate limit. Maybe smarter folks than I can determine the truth."
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QWest confirms, then denies rate limiting YouTube

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