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Networking The Internet Verizon

Verizon Accused of Intentionally Slowing Netflix Video Streaming 202

Posted by Soulskill
from the if-you-can't-trust-giant-corporations,-who-can-you-trust dept.
colinneagle writes "A recent GigaOm report discusses Verizon's 'peering' practices, which involves the exchange of traffic between two bandwidth providers. When peering with bandwidth provider Cogent starts to reach capacity, Verizon reportedly isn't adding any ports to meet the demand, Cogent CEO Dave Schaffer told GigaOm. 'They are allowing the peer connections to degrade,' Schaffer said. 'Today some of the ports are at 100 percent capacity.' Why would Verizon intentionally disrupt Netflix video streaming for its customers? One possible reason is that Verizon owns a 50% stake in Redbox, the video rental service that contributed to the demise of Blockbuster (and more recently, a direct competitor to Netflix in online streaming). If anything threatens the future of Redbox, whose business model requires customers to visit its vending machines to rent and return DVDs, it's Netflix's instant streaming service, which delivers the same content directly to their screens."
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Verizon Accused of Intentionally Slowing Netflix Video Streaming

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  • by mmurphy000 (556983) on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @08:12PM (#44044945)

    Nothing prevents Cogent from purchasing access to Verizon network

    Verizon already got paid, by their customers, the ones who are requesting to stream from Netflix.

    it does not make sense to provide free access and it is fair to expect on of the parties to pay

    Verizon already got paid, by their customers, the ones who are requesting to stream from Netflix.

    And now Cogent expects Verizon to invest in their network so that they can act as an extension of the Cogent network, through a "peering" agreement.

    More importantly, Verizon's paying customers -- the ones who are requesting to stream from Netflix -- are expecting Verizon to invest in their network so that they can deliver the contracted-for services. The fact that Netflix uses Cogent versus Billy Bob's Bass Boat, Bait Barn, and Content Distribution Network does not really play a role here.

  • by mysidia (191772) on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @08:49PM (#44045171)

    Nothing prevents Cogent from purchasing access to Verizon network.

    Verizon is a Tier1. Tier 1 providers do not buy transit, period.

    "Peering" is usually mutally beneficial, meaning traffic ingress and egress is balanced. I

    No: settlement-free peering is usually mutually beneficial, meaning the benefit to both parties of the relationship is larger than the cost.

    Traffic ratios are almost irrelevent. Although, they are commonly used for negotiation purposes.

    Pushing more traffic into Verizon's network than you pull, means that Verizon's users are requesting data from you.

    If Verizon were not a monopoly; there is no question that this would be mutually beneficial --- if there is poor connectivity to Netflix, or greater latency / worse performance, then competing providers would be favorable for subscribers.

    Better connectivity to Netflix is beneficial for an ISP; moreso, than the cost of some extra ports.

  • by mc6809e (214243) on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @08:58PM (#44045267)

    And peering is like agreeing to allow guests to use your toilet as long as you are allowed to use theirs.

    Okay. Fine.

    But what Cogent does after making this agreement with its neighbors is open up a buffet next door with a big sign directing its customers to your bathroom. Then when their customers complain about the backups and stink, Cogent demands you build more toilets.

  • by Burdell (228580) on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @09:12PM (#44045355)

    Verizon doesn't "choose" ISPs; they _are_ a backbone provider (they don't buy transit from anybody). Cogent is known for peering disputes, as well as selling hard to content providers (and sometimes eyeball networks) they think will give them leverage in peering disputes.

    Smaller ISPs (that do buy transit) know that you don't buy from Cogent unless you have at least two other paths to everything on the Internet.

  • by Guido von Guido II (2712421) on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @10:06PM (#44045665)

    There's absolutely no reason I should be footing the bill for a service I have no intention of using.

    You realize that a caching appliance for a heavily-used service like Netflix could save an ISP bandwidth costs, right? Presumably more than enough to offset the cost of switch ports, rack space and electricity.

  • by mdielmann (514750) on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @10:07PM (#44045669) Homepage Journal

    Or they'd simply rather not spend time and money to solve someone else's problem?

    You're looking at this the wrong way. The problem is their customer not being able to access the services they wish to in a reasonable manner.

    It's not like rack space is free, or electricity is free, or ensuring that someone else's hardware isn't going to harm your network is free. If I were an ISP, Netflix would "get" to install hardware in my network over my dead body - simply because I DO NOT TRUST HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE I HAVEN'T VERIFIED.

    You do realize that the whole point of the internet is to connect to servers, clients, and peers of an unverified nature, right? And if they co-locate for any of their clients, they already deal with this issue on a daily basis? Go ahead and google Verizon colocation services, just for fun.

    What about the people who AREN'T Netflix customers and DON'T want to pay for someone else's service? Why should my ISP fees be used to help someone else stream movies I can't access?!

    Well, the benefit to their other customers would be that their connection to other servers outside of Verizon's network wouldn't be impeded by the congestion of their customers who would like to stream said movies. Keep in mind, the customer who wants to watch movies on Netflix have exactly as many rights as the customer who wants to play MMOs, or the one who wants to send emails. This benefits all their customers - just not their RedBox business.

    If Netflix wants to solve this, they can talk to Cogent and help Cogent come up with a solution that isn't making Verizon and their non-Netflix subscribing customers foot the bill. There's absolutely no reason I should be footing the bill for a service I have no intention of using.

    It must be a source of relief to you to know that all those services that you use are vitally important to all the other Verizon customers. Or just maybe those other customers' service fees pay for those services they use, on average.

  • by Rockoon (1252108) on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @10:09PM (#44045677)

    Cogent isn't the only ISP out there for Verizon to choose from.

    Why open your mouth when you don't know what you are talking about? You did know that you didn't know what you were talking about, right? Right? yeah.. you did...

    Verizon is a tier 1 provider.
    Cogent acts like a tier 1 provider, but isn't.

    Cogent has run into this "problem" more than once, and more than a few times it was before Netflix used them as a provider. The problem is that Cogent dumps data onto other peoples networks as fast as possible, even when its a significantly longer route than if they had moved the data themselves most of the way.

    The only reason that any of the tier 1 providers put up with Cogent at all is because Cogent landed quite a few CDN deals that people feel are important, and they landed those deals by offering a lower cost that was only enabled by their bad faith routing practices.

    The fair thing is for Cogent to stop existing entirely.

  • by Y-Crate (540566) on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @10:15PM (#44045701)

    Or they'd simply rather not spend time and money to solve someone else's problem?

    Verizon's bandwidth is indeed Verizon's problem.

    It's not like rack space is free, or electricity is free...

    The backspace and electricity demands of an OpenConnect box are likely negligible in comparison to the overall strain placed on the network by Verizon customers using Netflix en masse.

    ...or ensuring that someone else's hardware isn't going to harm your network is free. If I were an ISP, Netflix would "get" to install hardware in my network over my dead body - simply because I DO NOT TRUST HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE I HAVEN'T VERIFIED.

    Good. You sound like a capable admin. Now, what's to say you cannot verify the box?

    What about the people who AREN'T Netflix customers and DON'T want to pay for someone else's service? Why should my ISP fees be used to help someone else stream movies I can't access?!

    By having an ISP you are splitting the cost of using the network among X number of people. Since the cost of an OpenConnect box is rackspace + electricity + verification / customer base, the cost to you alone is exceedingly low.

    There's absolutely no reason I should be footing the bill for a service I have no intention of using.

    This mentality is destroying the country.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @10:16PM (#44045703)

    "It is the 5 different ISP's job to share the data load between them."

    No, it is not. The job of an ISP is to deliver traffic from their paying customers to other paying customers, or hand off the traffic to another ISP to deliver to their own customers. In this case, one ISP (Cogent) expects another ISP (Verizon) to absorb infrastructure costs because they failed to plan for external capacity requirements of their customers. Feel free to name your own guilty party here - I am feeling generous at the moment. Either way, the modern Internet is not the same "for the benefit of all mankind" research network it was years ago and ISPs are not sugar daddies. We are talking about for-profit companies making and spending real money in the name of making more money for their shareholders. Your comments do bring a twinge of nostalgia for the old days, but they are wrong today.

  • by visualight (468005) on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @10:38PM (#44045811) Homepage

    Yes, it is. The job of the ISP is to provide their paying customers access to 'TheInternet'. That is still the promise they make, and still their obligation. If they can't meet that obligation they should go do something else.

    They are using publicly subsidized infrastructure on publicly owned land to seek rent on a network they are not investing in or improving. So fuck them.

  • by PopeRatzo (965947) on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @11:13PM (#44045991) Homepage Journal

    They are using publicly subsidized infrastructure on publicly owned land to seek rent on a network they are not investing in or improving.

    That is the heart of the matter. They're so used to huge profits for next to no effort that the notion of giving customers value for their money never enters their mind. And they'd laugh at the suggestion of "invest in your own network".

    There really needs to be some anti-trust cases brought against the biggest telecoms. Threaten to do to them what was done to AT&T decades ago. You'd see service improve everywhere in a big hurry.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @11:16PM (#44046019)

    The job of an ISP is to deliver traffic from their paying customers to other paying customers

    What? The job of the ISP is to purchase bandwidth and resell it to customers. Peering makes purchasing bandwidth cheaper. For an ISP, peering is always a good thing.

    But wait... Verizon isn't just an ISP, they're also a content distributer and being neutral about enhancing their network would not be good for their investments in the competition.

  • by Wovel (964431) on Wednesday June 19, 2013 @12:28AM (#44046339) Homepage

    Are you sure? Why is the traffic being routed to Verizon? Because Verizon is the optimal path for that traffic. The bulk of that traffic is gong to Verizon's customers or the customer of Verizon's customers. No one is asking Verizon to do anything for free. There may be some case where Verizon has a shorter path to another provider than Cogent, but that will be a small fraction of the traffic.

  • lf l were an ISP, Netflix would "get" to install hardware in my network over my dead body - simply because l DO NOT TRUST HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE l HAVEN'T VERIFIED.

    lF YOU'RE AN lSP THEN lNSTALLlNG RANDOM SHlT ONTO YOUR NETWORK lS WHAT YOU GET PAlD TO DO. SUCK lT UP AND DO YOUR FUCKING JOB.

  • Bingo, we have a winnar! This is just another case of a large corp fucking an audience that probably has NO say or choice in the matter (from what I've seen unless you live on the coasts you get one ISP with a useful speed and the other crap, in mine its 8-20Mbps for cable and 3Mbps for DSL) because God fucking forbid they actually provide what they were fricking PAID FOR by those customers instead of trying to fuck them for every cent they can squeeze!

    What will happen is the vast majority, which don't read tech sites and most likely will never hear a word of this from their corporate kissing local MSM, will try to use netflix only to get a stuttering mess. They will say "Oh Netflix sucks" because they won't have any way of knowing its their ISP that is MAKING it suck so they will have to use the alternative...which is owned by Verizon who will make that much more money off all those people that have to use Redbox instead of the service they originally wanted to.

    This is why we frankly shouldn't allow any company that owns ISPs to own content as they will always end up tilting things in favor of their content. Of course with our government being such corporate whores that every politician gets a free set of kneepads i doubt shit will be done, but that is why our prices put us in the top 5 but the quality and speed puts us behind countries like Romania.

  • by AmiMoJo (196126) * <mojoNO@SPAMworld3.net> on Wednesday June 19, 2013 @07:49AM (#44048143) Homepage

    Verizon chooses not too. Obviously, they cannot think their customers do not value Netflix. Clearly, they don't care much about their customers -- or there's an alterior motive; or just plain ignorance, blindness, and stupidity.

    That's the question. We have a similar situation in the UK where YouTube and iPlayer are unusable on Virgin Media between about 3:30PM and 11PM in many areas. If you switch over to a VPN or proxy that blocks their internal CDN everything is fine, indicating that the CDN cache boxes installed by Google and the BBC are inadequate for the demand. As a result people go on BitTorrent instead, causing more degradation of the network.

    There are only two reasons I can think of for this being the case:

    1. Virgin Media is incompetent and there is some really lame reason like running out of physical rack space or network ports that prevents them getting more cache boxes in.

    2. Virgin Media is trying to sabotage streaming video services in order to drive people to their cable TV products instead.

    I don't know much about Verizon. Care to speculate?

  • Capitalism. There are a pile of ISPs. If one sucks, vote with your dollars. Drop em and get a real ISP. Simple, done.

    I'd love to live in your magical land that has a pile of ISPs. I get a choice between ATT and TimeWarner, which both suck.

"But this one goes to eleven." -- Nigel Tufnel

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