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Time Warner Defends Comcast In Level 3 Dispute 315

Posted by Soulskill
from the discouragingly-finite-bandwidth dept.
MojoKid writes "On December 21, the FCC will finally vote on adopting net neutrality rules. This may (or may not) have been caused by Comcast's spat with Level 3 after Level 3 won a big contract to handle Netflix's video streaming. Grind it all together, output it to Facebook and you get this campaign: 'Save the Internet: Stop Comcast from Blocking Netflix. Without strong net neutrality rules, companies like Comcast can demand fees from innovative companies like Netflix in an attempt to choke consumer freedom and coerce users to adopt its own video services instead.' Comcast insists that this has nothing to do with blocking the upstart Netflix's business but about how much of Level 3's traffic it must carry before they get to send Level 3 a bill. Level 3's traffic has greatly increased thanks to Netflix. On Thursday, Comcast's frienemy, Time Warner, issued a statement of support for Comcast that explained the pro-cable provider side of the fight."
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Time Warner Defends Comcast In Level 3 Dispute

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  • by phantomfive (622387) on Friday December 03, 2010 @01:15PM (#34432954) Journal
    Don't they have some sort of peering agreement that covers this? Aren't they supposed to charge their peers, and their customers, more when their bandwidth usage goes up? Or am I missing something here? Obviously telcoms are greedy and will try to take whatever they can, but isn't there already a channel established for that?
    • Re:Peering Agreement (Score:4, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 03, 2010 @01:20PM (#34433082)

      Don't they have some sort of peering agreement that covers this? Aren't they supposed to charge their peers, and their customers, more when their bandwidth usage goes up? Or am I missing something here? Obviously telcoms are greedy and will try to take whatever they can, but isn't there already a channel established for that?

      Nope. You've got the gist of it.
      Comcast and Level3 had a settlement free peering agreement based on a roughly 1:1 traffic exchange. Level3 now wants to send 5:1 more traffic to Comcast, meaning their settlement free peering agreement is no longer valid. Comcast is just trying to negotiate a new peering agreement.

      Funnily enough, Level3 was in Comcast's EXACT position back in 2005 with Cogent. Cogent wanted to send more traffic than Level3 was sending, and Level3 said "Nope, no more settlement free agreement. Get out your wallet!"

      Comcast has peering agreements with other CDN's, and Level3 wants to leverage their old peering agreement to bust into the CDN market here. They are trying to pass the cost of increasing their CDN presence off to Comcast and Comcast's customers rather than paying for it themselves.

      If anything, consumers should be pissed at Level3, not Comcast, because this will directly increase Comcast's operating costs... and we all know those costs are passed on to the consumer.

      • Re:Peering Agreement (Score:4, Informative)

        by Trailer Trash (60756) on Friday December 03, 2010 @01:43PM (#34433454) Homepage

        If anything, consumers should be pissed at Level3, not Comcast, because this will directly increase Comcast's operating costs... and we all know those costs are passed on to the consumer.

        Why will this increase Comcast's operating costs? It's not going to affect Comcast's customers Netflix usage, so their overall traffic won't go up, it'll just be coming from a different peer.

        • That different peer might pay them.

        • by dfghjk (711126)

          That's right, it won't change Comcast's operating costs at all. What's happened is that Comcast is no longer getting paid on both ends of the pipe because one of the customers got a better deal elsewhere. In response, Comcast want to send a bill to the competition who took that customer.

        • Re:Peering Agreement (Score:5, Informative)

          by Shakrai (717556) on Friday December 03, 2010 @03:09PM (#34435190) Journal

          Why will this increase Comcast's operating costs? It's not going to affect Comcast's customers Netflix usage, so their overall traffic won't go up, it'll just be coming from a different peer.

          Akamai delivered Netflix (and other content) to Comcast's customers by buying colo rack space in Comcast's POPs and pulling in their own private lines. Level 3 is dumping the traffic onto Comcast at a much smaller number of peering points, thus Comcast has to use their long haul network to transport the traffic across the country instead of having it originate inside a POP nearer to it's final destination.

      • Except that this is content that was requested by Comcast's customers, who are already paying Comcast for the traffic. My understanding is that peering agreements are for sending information through a network to someone else's network.

        ie. If I drive from New York to New Hampshire, and pass through Vermont. There would be an agreement between New York and Vermont (and/or Vermont and New Hampshire) for allowing me to pass through, while New Hampshire's costs would be covered by their citizens and businesses

        • by Guspaz (556486)

          If I want you to call me on the telephone, should I have to pay for your telephone line? No, we each pay for our own telephone line, and then you can call me as much as you like.

      • by MBCook (132727) <foobarsoft@foobarsoft.com> on Friday December 03, 2010 @01:56PM (#34433706) Homepage

        The difference is that Cogent was sending traffic across Level 3's network, when in this case Level 3 is sending traffic to Comcast.

        If Level 3 and Comcast were peers in between two other endpoints, I could understand this. But that's not the case, Comcast is one of the end points. Doesn't Comcast owe their customers the ability to receive the traffic they want?

        Also, it's not like Level 3 is suddenly going to quintuple traffic to Comcast and everything else stays the same. The fact that Netflix movies are going to be served from Level 3 means they are not being served by someone else, which should free up some of the ports they are so worried about.

      • Re:Peering Agreement (Score:5, Informative)

        by Anthony Mouse (1927662) on Friday December 03, 2010 @02:25PM (#34434228)

        Comcast and Level3 had a settlement free peering agreement based on a roughly 1:1 traffic exchange. Level3 now wants to send 5:1 more traffic to Comcast, meaning their settlement free peering agreement is no longer valid. Comcast is just trying to negotiate a new peering agreement.

        It's a little more complicated than that.

        Here's what the dispute is really about: The way the Internet works (obviously) is that you buy access from your ISP (e.g. Comcast), they in turn (perhaps through some number of additional intermediaries) buy access to the backbone from a Tier 1 provider (like Level 3). If you were a big enough network, you could 'peer' without paying anything (since there was no particular reason for one network to pay the other vs. vice versa). The way it worked in the Old Days was that data centers would always be uploading more than they download, so the rule of thumb became that if you upload too much data without downloading, you can't peer for free -- a rule of thumb to distinguish data centers from ISPs and make them pay. But it is unheard of for a backbone provider to pay an ISP -- because it is inefficient. ISPs like Comcast always used to have approximately symmetrical load to their uplink providers: Their customers would download more than they upload, which means they would have "surplus" upload bandwidth "for free" which they could sell to local data centers. Selling to data centers like this is efficient because otherwise the surplus upload bandwidth is lost -- use it or lose it.

        Some of these data centers in modern times turned into CDNs like Akamai. The CDNs kind of messed with the model. Instead of connecting Comcast's network to buy Comcast's surplus upload bandwidth to the backbone, they connected to Comcast networks to serve content only to Comcast's customers. In other words, they evened out Comcast's uplink to Level 3, not by increasing upload traffic as was the traditional model, but by decreasing download traffic from the backbone. But that still works.

        So now what's happening with Level 3? Netflix is moving from Akamai to a data center operated by Level 3 which is only connected to Comcast through Level 3's backbone. What this does from Comcast's perspective is a) deprive them of the money Akamai was paying them, but b) give them a huge amount of "free" upload bandwidth. What Comcast is then supposed to do is the efficient thing: to shop this surplus bandwidth around to data centers. Or sell Comcast Business customers higher upload rates. Or whatever. They're supposed to sell it, because they can sell it most efficiently -- there is a pipe going into Comcast which is only full in one direction and the only way to fill it is to put something which uploads a lot on the Comcast side.

        Comcast apparently doesn't want to do that. I can really only think of two possible reasons for this: First, there is so much upload bandwidth that no one would possibly want to buy it. (I find this to be pretty unfathomable. Supply and demand says that if the price is right, someone will pay.) And second, Comcast is double dipping and trying to sell access to their customers as a scarce resource; in other words, trying to force Level 3 to pay more for the bandwidth than it would sell for on the open market because buying it from Comcast is the only way to get access to Comcast's customers and they want to charge monopoly prices.

        Funnily enough, Level3 was in Comcast's EXACT position back in 2005 with Cogent. Cogent wanted to send more traffic than Level3 was sending, and Level3 said "Nope, no more settlement free agreement. Get out your wallet!"

        No, Cogent was sending traffic over Level 3's network to third party networks. In this case Level 3 is sending traffic to Comcast customers. Level 3 has no monopoly on access to third party networks. There are other backbone providers. Comcast has a monopoly over access to Comcast customers -- that's what makes it different.

    • Re:Peering Agreement (Score:5, Informative)

      by RingDev (879105) on Friday December 03, 2010 @01:24PM (#34433182) Homepage Journal

      Peering agreements are what we typically see at back bone and transport level connections.

      The bandwidth going either way is roughly even.

      For example, if Level 3 wanted to get packets to an AT&T customer, and Comcast owned a network between those two points, Level 3 and Charter could have a peering agreement so that Level 3 could send data over Comcast's network and vice-verse. If Comcast is sending a lot more data out for transport over Comcast's network than Comcast is sending back, then there may be a fee included.

      That's all fine and good. But, in this case, Level 3 isn't sending data to AT&T customers. They are sending data to Comcast's customers. Customers that requested the data. Level 3, being proactive for Netflix, is trying to get a direct connection to Comcast's network to reduce backbone data transfers. Even if this agreement falls apart, Level 3 will still be routing the data to Netflix, but it will be coming over an existing back bone connection. It will offer worse performance for Comcast's customers, and it would waste more bandwidth on the back bone.

      This is a pretty clear case of Comcast taking two dips from the coffers. Once from the users who are paying for data to be transferred to them via Comcast's network, and again from Level 3 that is providing the requested data to Comcast.

      -Rick

      • Good summary.

        It also seems pretty obvious that Comcast is trying to protect its TV/Movie business. They figure if customers are not watching HBO or USA or whatever, but instead watching netflix, then Comcast will try to charge extra for the privilege. Their TV/Movie business may collapse but they can still collect fees off the streaming netflix business.

      • by Sancho (17056) *

        That's all fine and good. But, in this case, Level 3 isn't sending data to AT&T customers. They are sending data to Comcast's customers.

        Two points:

        1) Comcast almost certainly has multiple business units operating with their own budgets. It's pretty likely that one of the BUs is for Comcast's backbone, while another is for their residential customers.

        2) CDNs (and Level 3 is acting as a CDN here) usually pay ISPs to host their servers locally. They usually do this with one ISP per geographical region, and other ISPs will still use the server. So it is very much a case where the CDN needs to pay to transport data across the network to other

      • by dmayle (200765)

        I'm glad you've got the points, because this is the first intelligent response I've yet seen on the subject.

        To add my two cents, Comcast's argument is with regards to Level 3 as a CDN, and how other CDNs are paying access fees.

        Let's think about that for a moment... At some point an ISP like Comcast had the brilliant (if morally repugnant) idea of charging CDNs access to their customers. Since a CDN makes money off of reaching customers, their service is only valuable if they can reach the customers, which

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by BagOBones (574735)

      If you have been following the details of this, yes they have existing agreements but they go like this..

      If I provide content, and your users are consuming it, I don't pay you, your customers do as they are the content consumers. We work together making sure the pipes between us are big enough to keep up with demand without charge.

      Comcast has changed it to:

      If your content is really really popular and we need bigger connections between us, I am going to charge you for the larger connections on my side, becau

      • by Zeek40 (1017978)

        If your content is really really popular and we need bigger connections between us, I am going to charge you for the larger connections on my side, because most of my customers have no alternative to my service, the government isn't regulating my monopoly, and my second Yacht still wasn't big enough.

        I think that's a little more accurate.

      • by Erioll (229536)

        It depends on who's lying. Level 3 said they wanted the additional fee for video. Comcast says it's just an imbalance in the amount of data in their existing peering agreement, REGARDLESS of the type of traffic.

        Personally, I'm more willing to believe Comcast here. Imbalances can happen for a huge number of different reasons. This one is obvious: they're going to be taking on a HUGE amount of extra data from Level 3 specifically because of Netflix.

        Think of it this way, if roughly the same amount of data

        • Re:Peering Agreement (Score:4, Interesting)

          by silas_moeckel (234313) <{silas} {at} {dsminc-corp.com}> on Friday December 03, 2010 @02:01PM (#34433792) Homepage

          Did Comcast become transit free when I was not looking? Nope they still buy transit L3 should grow a pair and cancel there settlement free peering with Comcast, worst case is they end up with an imbalance with another transit free provider. Right now comcast is not paying for the bandwidth L3 should grow a pair and make them pay for those bits even it's to att or similar. Time Warner is in the same boat. Look at it more as Comcast needs to find some source of packets to send to L3 to get the ratio's back inline if they want to play with the big boys. Take a look at there network http://www.robtex.com/as/as7922.html [robtex.com] Comcast is an obvious bad actor they like many of the cable co's chew through AS numbers because they don't want to have a backbone they do want everybody to do the hard work for them.

  • How much Intarweb must cary befoer send Intarweb teh bill?

  • In the end, I think the campaign's name is going to work against them. I'm a Comcast customer, I'm a Netflix customer, and I've had no trouble watching Netflix' streaming video.

    Thing is, I understand what the underlying issue is (wrt net neutrality) - but the average person certainly won't in any detail. All they're going to say is "What do you mean, stop them from blocking Netflix? I'm having no trouble streaming Netflix over my Comcast cable, so it must not be a problem!"

    • As consumers of information we can not have a system in which certain players can create choke points on the internet to deny access and distort democracy. At the same time it is obvious that nothing in life is free and that one must accept that some kind of payment is required to build and maintain the physical infrastructure that makes such connectivity possible.

      The government needs to establish simple rules regarding the exact nature of what these fees can be based on a universal formula for all in term

  • You forgot one link (Score:3, Informative)

    by geegel (1587009) on Friday December 03, 2010 @01:17PM (#34433006)

    ... the one saying that Level 3's claims are complete bullshit and they have nothing to do with net neutrality

    Here it is [techdirt.com]

    • by jmichaelg (148257)
      The link you provide is, by it's own admission, speculative. After much blather the post resolves to:

      If this is true, and the details do line up, it's rather stunning (and incredibly braindead) that Comcast would make such a demand right now, just as the merger is close to approval. You would think that someone in management would recognize the sort of backlash such a demand would bring. Of course, again, I'm wondering if there are more details here. I wasn't aware of an online movie offering from Level 3, and I'm wondering if Level 3 was actually trying to do something more involved rather than just letting users access online content through existing connections. I'm sure the details will come out soon enough...

      followed by an update that links to another post that parrots Comcast's press release claiming the dispute is a peering issue. In short, the link you provide adds nothing to the discussion.

    • IANACCIE, but how can this just be about peering?

      My understanding is that peering focuses more on what network is going to serve as the middle-man to transfer data from one part of the world to the other; this is distinctly different from the L3/Comcast situation where Comcast is the end-point(and the endpoint for an asymmetric network at that). The traffic is meant for Comcast users, so Comcast has to accept it so that their users can get what they're requesting. Why would L3 need to pay for traffic Comcas

  • There is already geotargeted of videos online done on commercial grounds. If different types of traffic get "throttled" it'll only make it harder on the users of any high-bandwidth activity whether video, gaming or anything else where the ISPs are likely to be costed more than these consumers are paying. For example I used to be able to watch The Daily Show on the Comedy Channel's website from the UK. Since they sold the rights to E4, that isn't possible without going through a proxy.
    • by 56ker (566853)
      Sorry that should read geotargeting not geogtargeted. I blame it on the wife watching TV next to me taking my mind off my train of thought!
  • Conflict of interest (Score:5, Interesting)

    by KublaiKhan (522918) on Friday December 03, 2010 @01:18PM (#34433050) Homepage Journal
    So long as the majority of broadband is offered by corporations that have 'content generation' as a part of their business model, there will never be a real chance for net neutrality. The conflict of interest there is just too strong a force.

    Back in the '90s, electricity deregulation was a big topic; I recall that the state of Maine ended up differentiating between the electricity providers and the electricity carriers--while before, there had been two monopolies (a biopoly?) serving different areas of the state, there was, afterwards, a number of smaller generating companies (content generation) and a couple of larger companies that provided and maintained the transmission and delivery equipment (broadband providers).

    As my parenthetical notes indicate, I think that the same model could be effectively used--or, rather, ought to be enforced--for the current debate. Differentiate the providers of the connection from the providers of the content, and much of the impetus for the anti-neutrality standpoint will go away.
  • Stupid Summary (Score:4, Interesting)

    by pavon (30274) on Friday December 03, 2010 @01:19PM (#34433070)

    The L3/Comcast issue became public after the December 21 net neutrality vote was announced, so no it didn't cause it. Secondly, from everything we've heard the net neutrality rules to be proposed will not effect on the L3/Comcast dispute as it is between network operators, and does not discriminate based on content type or source.

  • the big cable co's all help each other also I think they try to use stuff like cable labs and indemand to make it look like a 3rd party is doing the stuff they do.

  • by Assmasher (456699) on Friday December 03, 2010 @01:23PM (#34433150) Journal

    ...I am paying Comcast for already?

    • by Guspaz (556486)

      Because everybody who connects to Comcast's network needs to compensate Comcast in some way, regardless of who they are?

      If you and I are both Comcast cable customers, and you request that I send you data, should Comcast give me a free cable internet connection? Because that's exactly what you're implying.

  • Time Warner != Time Warner Cable != Time Warner Telecom

    This is about Time Warner Cable, whereas the vague term Time Warner is often used to refer to Time Warner Cable and/or Time Warner Telecom which are separate companies. (granted, the does the s&#65279;ame &#65279;thing)

    That said, having another company say that what Comcast is doing is unfortunate. Comcast is trying to bully L3 into settlement-based peering, but it is Comcast's end traffic (as an eyeball network, not a transit provider) that i
  • by nick_davison (217681) on Friday December 03, 2010 @01:30PM (#34433250)

    Based on my admittedly limited understanding:

    Backbone providers work on the assumption that data goes both ways: I don't charge you for shoving ten lumps of data down my tubes because you don't charge me for shoving what might be nine, might be eleven lumps of data down yours. We're all doing roughly the same thing so it all comes out in the wash.

    When someone turns around and says, "Don't worry, I'll keep taking your ten lumps of data for free. Now here are the five hundred I'd like you to keep carrying for free, too. Oh, and by the way, yes I do charge the generator of all those lumps a hell of a lot for my transporting them to and dumping them on your tubes." then it's somewhat understandable to think the relationship's gone a bit one sided.

    When Netflix is using fully 20% of prime time US bandwidth (source [pcmag.com]) and Level 3 are happily billing Netflix for the right to put that on the net, it's pretty understandable the other companies who have to shoulder what's become a very one sided relationship for free are a little touchy.

    In this case, I'm tempted to agree it's not about stomping competition, not about charging one source more or less for a better or worse service, it's about whether the fundamental model for the backbone is being abused.

    I'm for network neutrality. But isn't there also a degree to which neutral also means the neutral flow back and forth, not all of the data going one way with one company charging for it and expecting the others to just suck it up?

    • by Todd Knarr (15451) on Friday December 03, 2010 @01:48PM (#34433542) Homepage

      Except you're missing one thing here: the traffic isn't crossing Comcast's network on it's way to some other network, it's on it's way to Comcast subscribers and was requested by those subscribers. Backbone providers carry other people's traffic (eg. carrier X handling traffic originating on network A and destined for network B because A and B both have connections to X but don't have a direct connection with each other). Comcast doesn't connect other networks to the backbone, it only connects it's own subscribers. If those subscribers are incurring bandwidth costs, Comcast ought to be billing them for it. In fact it is, I'm fairly sure Comcast sends every subscriber a bill every month for their connection and turns that connection off if the bill isn't paid. If Comcast wants Level 3 to pay, then what's that bill to the subscribers for?

    • by sjames (1099)

      That would be true except that each and every one of those five hundred lumps of data Level 3 puts on Comcast's network is because one of Comcast's customers requested it.

      The only time balance is properly considered is when the agreement includes transit. So Comcast would be right to object if Level 3 said "here's 500 lumps of data, hand them to AT&T please", but that's not the case, they're saying "Here's the 500 lumps of data your customers requested".

      Comcast will inevitably always be a data sink, the

    • by dfghjk (711126)

      "When someone turns around and says, "Don't worry, I'll keep taking your ten lumps of data for free. Now here are the five hundred I'd like you to keep carrying for free, too. Oh, and by the way, yes I do charge the generator of all those lumps a hell of a lot for my transporting them to and dumping them on your tubes." then it's somewhat understandable to think the relationship's gone a bit one sided."

      On the other hand, Comcast has charged a hell of a lot to the consumers of those "five hundred lumps of da

  • I usually back up my friends in a bar fight too, even if we've had minor disagreements in the past. The difference is, of course, that me and my friends don't walk around punching people in the face for shits and giggles...or for cash.
  • by Jimmy King (828214) on Friday December 03, 2010 @01:36PM (#34433346) Homepage Journal
    Comcast sends way more traffic to my home network than my home network sends to Comcast. Clearly they should start paying me for using up my network bandwidth.
    • by Nadaka (224565)

      please seed more.

      Your torrent ratio must suck.

      Note: I host a collection of open source torrents including the last 4 versions of ubuntu, my ratio for some of them is in the hundreds.

  • This isn't Neflix' traffic, it's the traffic of Comcast customers.

    And those customers are paying Comcast to transit whatever data they want, not because it's today Netflix and tomorrow YouTube.

    So I would see it as a breach of contract between Comcast and their customers when they try to levy toll on individual suppliers to their customers.

    • by Guspaz (556486)

      This isn't Netflix' traffic. It isn't Comcast cable customers' traffic. It's Level3's traffic. If you would like to send data to Netflix (via Level3), then it's your traffic. But you're not.

  • There seems to be something terribly wrong with the US ISP market (I am not American), such that consumers can't/won't leave Comcast for another ISP, because they want Netflix.

    If the market was free, wouldn't this problem fix itself?

    (OTOH, I do think regulation mandating net neutrality would be a good thing, for other issues)

  • Seriously? Who?
  • All these ISPs are out there to make money. We get it. But they are also in the business of providing internet access to their customers. If they block or limit access to certain points on the internet, they are failing in their business agreement and their mission. They are an ISP, not a OCPISP (Only Certain Parts of the Internet Service Provider).

    The way I see it, if you can't do something right, you shouldn't do it. AT&T apparently got in over their heads with iPhone and the problem is only gett

  • Please stop posting this! The same basic thing has been posted 3 days in a row, and every time all the +5 comments are the ones correcting it. Just stop. I'm tired of having friends say "We gotta cancel our Comcast, they are blocking NetFlix" and having to explain that the FCC is not voting to stop Comcast, and Comcast is not violating Network Neutrality. This was a simple peering dispute between two companies.

    • by digitaldc (879047) *
      Or, you could just explain how bad Comcast sucks in general and they will still cancel it.
      • by MobyDisk (75490)

        True, there are already plenty of reasons to leave Comcast. But in our case it involved moving too, since Comcast is our only option. :-(

        • by digitaldc (879047) *
          Talk about a monopoly which it basically is since you don't have any choice. A friend of mine is in the same boat.
  • If you imagine there is a great big interstate highway designed by the government that's called the Internet, and people like to drive on it, and order packages to be delivered to their homes by trucks using it we have a place to start.

    This Internet didn't go everywhere, and to get on it, people needed a driveway from their garage to the onramps, so ISPs sprung up that provide those for people, for a price. Now some of the ISPs wanted to get the access fees from a lot more people, but the Internet was too f
  • by jmichaelg (148257) on Friday December 03, 2010 @02:02PM (#34433794) Journal
    I can see one way Comcast has it right and if it's not that way, then Comcast's argument suggests something they really don't want to say.

    Netflix feeds data to level 3 which distributes it out to its servers spread across the land. The stream then is handed off to Comcast for delivery to consumers. Comcast would have a valid point if the network looked like this:
    Netflix -> L3 Los Gatos ->Comcast ->L3 Server ->Comcast ->user

    In which case L3 would be using Comcast's network to keep its distributed servers current and Comcast's complaint would be justified.

    The alternative picture, and what most of us presume is correct is looks like this:
    Netflix-> L3 Los Gatos -> L3 fiber network -> L3 Server ->Comast ->user

    In which case Comcast is on the receiving end and according to Comcast, they should be paid by L3 since more data flows their way than vice-versa. However, if that's true, then Comcast should pay me since more data flows to my PC from Comcast than vice versa.

    So Comcast, do you owe me money?

    If L3 pays Comcast, then Comcast pays me to watch Netflix movies.

  • It's not like Level 3 is holding Comcast down and forcing data into them. Although that's an interesting mental picture.

    Level 3/Netflix is providing a service that Comcast customers are buying. The traffic wouldn't exist if Comcast customers weren't using it. One of the reasons for choosing Comcast is that they advertise big tubes and fast throughput. In marketing terms, Netflix is an enabler for Comcast.

    I've never really understood why the various broadband ISPs advertise huge download speeds and

  • The question is whether the movie is on a server outside Comcast's network or on a server Inside Comcast's network. Why can't they act like grown-ups and decide on a division of costs for "co-locating" a movie server inside the comcast network? Netflix does not even offer "Live" content. How much would the hardware and electricity for a file-server cost? The entire library does not have to be on the server either; just the titles in the instant queue for people who subscribe to comcast. The netfl

  • You're the ones who are so staunchly anti-net neutrality because you think it's about a government takeover of the 'net or some such paranoid nuttery.
    This is just the beginning. I guarantee it.

  • ...there is nothing left to save.

  • by chainsaw1 (89967) on Friday December 03, 2010 @03:21PM (#34435418)

    Comcast, (along with other final mile ISP's) typically limit upload bandwidth. These artificial caps are just that.. artificial. By corollary, Comcast is deliberately setting themselves up to receive paychecks by limiting the reciprocation on their pipe by it's customers. If you must limit yourself for financial reasons over what bandwidth you could utilize I understand, however for the sake of peering that amount should still be symmetric.

    If asymetric pipes are allowed to continue, then as long as it is monetarily beneficial to maintain a high receive to send ratio, that ratio should grow until it becomes unrealistic to maintain useful bandwidth. The download portion then becomes a marketing gimmick only as the limit will be the TCP ACK packets being sent back to the publishing application.

    Feel free to correct where/if I am wrong

  • by divisionbyzero (300681) on Friday December 03, 2010 @03:45PM (#34435892)

    I hate Comcast but they are technically correct. Level 3 is wrong. Network neutrality is discrimination based on traffic type or protocol. Comcast is saying that Level 3 must pay for all traffic in excess of the ratio regardless of type or protocol. Level 3 is merely trying to leverage the momentum behind network neutrality in order to get the government to make-up for their poor ability to calculate margins. And given that Comcast has a monopoly on a huge chunk of eyeballs it puts a lot of pressure on Level 3 to capitulate in order to make Netflix happy. It's really Level 3 that's screwed here, not Netflix (assuming the additional router hops do not degrade quality too much). Of course, Comcast also runs some risk of losing customers/increased support calls if the quality of Netflix degrades but it is largely insulated by its monopoly in most markets. If there is anything offensive about this whole scenario, it's Comcast using its monopoly to abuse Level 3, not a net neutrality violation against Netflix.

    Of course the fishy bit is that most of this traffic just happens to be Netflix content and Comcast is a provider of similar content. Comcast claims this is merely co-incidental. That's kind of hard to believe but guessing about motives is murky business.

    Both of them are being stupid though. Level 3 looks incompetent by claiming this is a net neutrality issue and appears to be rent seeking by seeking regulation. Comcast looks like a big bully while they are trying to acquire NBC. I wouldn't be surprised to see some regulation around acceptable peering ratios between monopoly last-mile networks and other networks come out of all of this. And given the assumptions built into the download/upload ratios of most consumer broadband connections 5:1 seems reasonable.

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