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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 roc97007 (608802) on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @07:34PM (#44044721) Journal

    ...or does that not apply to internet service providers?

    • by Mashiki (184564) <mashiki.gmail@com> on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @07:45PM (#44044819) Homepage

      ...or does that not apply to internet service providers?

      In Canada it does, back a few years ago [dslreports.com] Rogers was involved in throttling everything, even though they said they weren't. Took the work of a few very determined people who brought it before the CRTC, and were told to stop or face fines. As a fun note, Rogers and Bell Canada were two of the greatest throttlers in the world back then.

    • by sabri (584428) on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @07:57PM (#44044879)

      ...or does that not apply to internet service providers?

      Nothing prevents Cogent from purchasing access to Verizon network. What Cogent expects instead, is for Verizon to purchase more network ports so Cogent can offload their traffic for free. "Peering" is usually mutally beneficial, meaning traffic ingress and egress is balanced. If it is not, it does not make sense to provide free access and it is fair to expect on of the parties to pay.

      Essentially, Netflix pays Cogent as their "ISP". Cogent probably won that deal with their ridiculously low pricing. 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.

      Probably necessary disclaimer: I am not in any way affiliated with Cogent nor Verizon. I do, however, work for a vendor of high quality networking equipment.

      • by peragrin (659227) on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @08:04PM (#44044915)

        um that is the entire point of the internet.

        I pay an ISP, you pay an ISP, Company A, B and C all pay different ISP's.

        It is the 5 different ISP's job to share the data load between them. Once you start having ISP's charge different rates to other ISP's the entire network collapses into AOLhell. Once ISP's stop working together to connect each other entire value of all ISP's fails. ISP's solely exist to connect tiny communities to larger ones.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          "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 mome

          • 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.

              • There is a good chance it's more complicated than just this. Remember this is Cogent we are taking about here and they are famous for trying to get downstream isps to pay the entire cost of peering upgrades and have also been known to actively cut back on peering points with other providers.

                They are also famous for causing most of the IPv6 routing problems [anuragbhatia.com] that affect day to day useage.

                • by Dogtanian (588974)

                  There is a good chance it's more complicated than just this. Remember this is Cogent we are taking about here and they are famous for trying to get downstream isps to pay the entire cost of peering upgrades and have also been known to actively cut back on peering points with other providers.

                  Also remember that Netflix themselves tried to use their dominance of the market to bully ISPs- and ultimately that ISP's customers (whether or not they used Netflix or ever intended to ever use it) into subsidising the bandwidth required for *their* HD service. [slashdot.org]

                  It's very definitely true that two wrongs don't make a right, but let's not shed any tears for the other guys who are just as bad.

              • There really needs to be some anti-trust cases brought against the biggest telecoms.

                There really needs to be a plan to shift Internet control from the private sector to the public sector over, say, the next 10 or 15 years. The Internet is now societal infrastructure and, like roads and water supplies, should no longer be privately owned. (If we'd done that with the telcos and the cell networks when we should have, things would be much better now). Private fortunes have been made on the backs of taxpayers while corporations enjoyed tax breaks, subsidies, favourable legislation, and access t

                • by Richy_T (111409)

                  If we'd done that with the telcos and the cell networks when we should have, things would be much better now

                  How old are you? I remember when the post office ran the phone system. You had to had their phone, pay rental for it, you only had a choice of colors unless you wanted to pay £400 for one of six speciality phones, service was crap, international calls were out of the stratosphere and many other things besides. Things are a long way from perfect but if you want to see bad, give it to the governme

                  • by PopeRatzo (965947)

                    You had to had their phone, pay rental for it, you only had a choice of colors unless you wanted to pay £400 for one of six speciality phones, service was crap, international calls were out of the stratosphere and many other things besides. Things are a long way from perfect but if you want to see bad, give it to the government.

                    But they brought service to the rural areas, which is something private industry would never have done. They created that network on which you could make calls and made

            • http://internethealthreport.com/ [internethealthreport.com]

              Packet loss over a 24-hour period seems to support the claims, but barely.

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward

            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.

          • by delt0r (999393)

            No, it is not. The job of an ISP is to deliver traffic from their paying customers to other paying customers...

            That is not an internet. That is just a net.

      • 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 @08:57PM (#44045257)

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

          Not only that... if you are ISP, and you have enough traffic to Netflix; Netflix will provide a 'local cache box' to install on your network. OpenConnect [netflix.com] hardware appliance.

          Netflix pays for the hardware and such.

          Large ISPs such as Verizon, can potentially put multiple boxes on their network, so they save cost and do not transport large amounts of Netflix traffic long distances.

          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.

          • by greenbird (859670) on Wednesday June 19, 2013 @01:17AM (#44046633)

            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.

            No Verizon chooses not to because they can't charge $100 a month for cable video in a free market with actual competition. Thus they stop delivering other video service over the internet eliminating the competition.

            • by drinkypoo (153816)

              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.

              No Verizon chooses not to because they can't charge $100 a month for cable video in a free market with actual competition. Thus they stop delivering other video service over the internet eliminating the competition.

              GP's inability to spell should not have impeded your reading comprehension to this degree. We call that an ulterior motive.

          • 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?

        • by Jason Levine (196982) on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @09:01PM (#44045285)

          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.

          [BEGIN ISP REASONING MODE] Of course, it does. You see, Netflix makes lots of money. Partly, they make that money in a method involving Verizon's network. Verizon doesn't get any of that money. Therefore, it deserves lots of money from Netflix. What's that you say? Verizon gets paid by their customers and Netflix pays their ISP? *sticks fingers in ears* LA-LA-LA-LA-LA-LA-LA I CAN'T HEAR YOU!!!! LA-LA-LA-LA-LA-LA-LA GIVE ME MORE MONEY!!!! LA-LA-LA-LA-LA-LA-LA-LA [/END ISP REASONING MODE]

        • 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 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 Mal-2 (675116)

          You're assuming Verizon has viable competition to fear. Alas, there is really no competition for FiOS, at least in this area, so they have no fear. Where are we going to go, the cable company? Like they're any happier about Netflix eating their lunch.

        • by evilviper (135110)

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

          Umm, no it doesn't. We're not talking about last-mile links here, we're talking about backbone. If I'm Cogent, and I need to get traffic from San Francisco to New York, I can dump that on Verizon's network (or anyone else I'm peering with) and their network will dutifully forward the traffic all the way to NY. The end-point could be AT&T, Comcast, or even another Cogent customer, but du

          • by mysidia (191772)

            The end-point could be AT&T, Comcast, or even another Cogent customer

            Generally no. Backbone peering agreements generally say traffic destined to my customers only.

            That is to say, on non-transit (settlement free) peering sessions between Tier1 providers, Verizon would advertise only Verizon's customers' IP space.

            And the providers' peering agreements specifically include a rule that traffic may not be routed across the link, except according to the BGP advertisements.

            So a packet destined

      • by DragonTHC (208439)

        you're missing the point.

        Other ISPs have already setup their own CDNs for netflix because it's simply cheaper. Verizon is in direct competition with netflix now with Redbox's streaming service.

        I have comcast. Trying using netflix on your cable modem with and without comcast DNS servers. When using OpenDNS, the streams are stalled for minutes. Using comcasts own DNS servers, the streams start quickly.

      • by greenbird (859670)

        Essentially, Netflix pays Cogent as their "ISP". Cogent probably won that deal with their ridiculously low pricing. 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.

        And there is a whole lot of individuals who pay Verizon for internet access including access to Netflix. That traffic is going over Verizon's network because Verizon customers who are paying Verizon for that network traffic are requesting it.

        The part you seem to be missing here is that Netflix is eating into Verizon's ability to charge obscene rates of $100 a month just to watch movies. Cause, you see, it use to be paying customers had very limited options for accessing video therefore allowing cable TV com

      • by AK Marc (707885)

        Nothing prevents Cogent from purchasing access to Verizon network. What Cogent expects instead, is for Verizon to purchase more network ports so Cogent can offload their traffic for free.

        So what am I, as a Verizon DSL subscriber, buying? In the old days, the subscriber fees paid for peering, and peers were bought based on demand, not punishing companies who do business with competitors.

      • by sjames (1099)

        If that traffic is bound for Verizon customers, then no. It is not any sort of freeloading to hand a network traffic bound for one of it's customers. Why would Cogent want to pay to give Verizon's customers the packets that they requested and that Verizon has already been paid to deliver?

        In a free and healthy market, Cogent would say "fine, no packets for you" and then laugh as Verizon's customers jumped ship. Alas, it is not a healthy free market and many of Verizon's customers have nowhere to jump to.

        Bala

      • If memory serves, this is a typical pattern for Cogent. Rather than paying for additional bandwidth as they are contractually obligated to do, they complain loudly in the media and make wild accusations.

        I suspect nothing is preventing Cogent from paying for the excess transit. They just don't wanna.

      • I can come at this from a slightly different angle. I'm very familiar with interconnect billing practices between ILECs/CLECs/CAPs/CMRS etc.

        The issue here is purely Verizon's fault. Verizon's customers are wanting traffic off of Cogent's network. Verizon is obligated to buy ports (Internet Drains in LEC parlance) with a min commit (usually 5gb or so at 2-5 dollars per MB) and billing generally based on hourly samples of usage and then taking the 95th percentile band. There may or may not be a separate acces

    • by samkass (174571)

      ...or does that not apply to internet service providers?

      Well, depends what you mean by "internet service". In this case, the basic problem is that Netflix streaming accounts for 1/3 of all the traffic on the internet, and "peering" assumes roughly equal sharing in both directions. The whole peering issues with Netflix has been going on for years... it's too bad the article doesn't put it in context and oversimplifies.

      • With peering to ISPs it isn't about equal traffic in both directions, that is more when Tier 1 companies peer.

        ISPs usually peer because it is cheaper and/or faster than paying to send the same traffic over the regular internet.
        Over here in Australia most ISPs peer with PIPE. PIPE does not provide any internet access, just traffic between peers.
        The ISPs consequently get nearly free data from Google, Akamai, etc... just by setting up the one peering connection which is unlimited.

        • by mysidia (191772)

          With peering to ISPs it isn't about equal traffic in both directions, that is more when Tier 1 companies peer.

          Actually... "traffic ratios" are more about what large ISPs use as a tool to prevent smaller ISPs from peering with them settlement-free, as a substitute from purchasing transit.

          Other than traffic ratios are an illustrative tool, that beancounters can understand. They kind of fall apart in a sense, when there are "one of a kind" destinations that aren't on your network -- that your own subscr

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by FuzzNugget (2840687)
      Silly pleb, laws don't apply to corporations
    • by PopeRatzo (965947) on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @08:35PM (#44045079) Homepage Journal

      aren't there laws against monopolistic practices?

      There are but they were pretty well gutted back in the days of the Reagan Administration. Now, the ones that are left are mainly ignored. The big exceptions, like the Microsoft case, usually come as political punishment or when the infraction is so blatant that it cannot be ignored.

      If we had a Justice Department that was more than a bunch of cronies and amateurs, there wouldn't be a single telecom with any interest in content providers, and there certainly would not have been any of the mega-mergers in the airline industry and others.

      We haven't had a real Justice Department since before the days of Ed Meese. Meese is really the very model of the modern attorney general, who believes his main job is to make sure no rich people get in any trouble and to find ways to subvert the Constitution.

    • by DragonTHC (208439)

      apparently the OP doesn't realize Redbox now has a streaming service.

    • "...or does that not apply to internet service providers?"

      It used to be that the FCC strictly forbid the content CARRIERS (telephone, cable, satellite) from being content PROVIDERS, too. But not very long ago they seem to have dropped that regulation.

      And look at the results. We are already seeing some pretty terrible negative effects. Carriers should never be allowed to be in the business of providing content. It's just plain a bad idea, and the consequences are pretty easy to predict. Hell, we don't even have to predict. It's already hindsight.

    • ...or does that not apply to internet service providers?

      Verizon in this case is the physical plant provider, and, contrary to every notion about how markets work, governments enforce monopolies there. We have hundred-year-old cronyism still dragging us down today. Statists are then shocked to find the providers aren't competing on service quality when they have no competition.

      In the not-too-distant future we'll have a majority of people happy to have both DSL and CableTV-derived pure-IP networks availabl

  • by AlphaWolf_HK (692722) on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @07:36PM (#44044731)

    This wouldn't be the first time people have had issues with Cogent having saturated peering links. A common complaint among Cox customers is that latency is high to certain WoW servers, and saturated Cogent links has been found to be the cause - and they don't seem particularly interested in fixing it.

    • Perhaps. But, IIRC, the same complaints/problems happened with Netflix, Level 3 Communications, and Comcast.

  • by AuralityKev (1356747) on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @07:36PM (#44044737)
    I know when my Netflix stuff starts throttling (not saying it's intentional by my cable co) I just sit and watch slightly more pixelated versions of whatever I was watching at the time. My last reaction is "Dammit, gotta get my ass off the couch, pants on, get in car, drive to Redbox, get disc, watch disc, remember to go back to Redbox and return disc because that's a lot less hassle."
    • Redbox has its own netflix-like streaming service now
    • by Brucelet (1857158)
      Well most of us don't need to drive very far to find the URL bar.
    • by Jason Levine (196982) on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @09:05PM (#44045309)

      But Redbox has a streaming service now. Coincidentally, it's owned by Verizon. But I'm sure Verizon doing this in no way is a plot to make people think Netflix is horrible and Redbox Streaming is wonderful. I'm positive that they're not trying to leverage their network to benefit one of their unrelated services over a competitor. After all, big companies are owned by good, kind-hearted people who only seek to make as many people happy as possible. (Also, the sky is the most beautiful shade of orange in the world I live in.)

      • But Redbox has a streaming service now.

        Note: Redbox's streaming service is not called Redtube. Also, don't google that at work.

    • by Mashiki (184564)

      Except we already know that most US ISP's like many in Canada deploy or have deployed DPI boxes.

  • by Tablizer (95088) on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @07:42PM (#44044793) Homepage Journal

    My provider solved the fairness problem by making everything slow and spotty.

  • Whenever I get issues with content delivery, I call the tech dept of my ISP. If they fail to fix it, I become part of the churn data. This is why I am no longer a Comcast customer. They were caught dropping connections and bringing some services to a standstill.

    My last slowdown with my current provider wasn't their fault. A neighbor cracked my older weak encryption and saturated my connection. It pays to check your router's lights. Changed SSID, encryption, and password and the problem was fixed on th

    • My problem is that I can't become part of the churn data because I live in an area where there's ONE broadband ISP (Time Warner Cable). I could go with Verizon DSL, but they're ditching their DSL service as quickly as they can and I'm not jumping onto a service like that. FIOS doesn't reach into my neighborhood. (I'm not in a rural area. They just stopped their build out before they reached my house.) So if I ever have a major problem with Time Warner Cable's Internet service (like if they instituted th

  • I wouldn't put it past Verizon to do that but one of my colo's peers primarily with Cogent and Cogent blows up internet connectivity from that colo all the time, an issue I just don't have in my other colo. Honestly I don't think Cogent has the moral authority to be able to assert anything.

    -Matt

  • It's partly because they're big, but it's also because they're cheap.

  • Gee, that like, never happens!

    Cogent is well known for undercutting the market to acquire another networks eyeballs, and then sending all that traffic into the networks they have settlement free peering agreements with. That kind of dick move means nobody wants to turn up settlement free links with you. Verizon's no angel either, but they're merely the latest to disagree with Cogent about what constitutes polite use of the access to their network.

    This is no different than the Comcast/Level3/Netflix peering

  • by kriston (7886) on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @08:38PM (#44045103) Homepage Journal

    More likely YouTube, too, is being throttled or at least left in a state of benign neglect. Verizon FiOS, supposedly to be the fastest anywhere, consistently has trouble delivering YouTube videos. I work on many different networks and peering points but the only one that has trouble with YouTube is Verizon FiOS. Even if the YouTube video is serving from a local edge server (Ashburn) it will pause within the first twenty seconds each and every time.

    Oddly enough, and likely because we are only down the road from AWS-East, we never have trouble with Netflix or Amazon Instant Video on our FiOS connection.

    Cox never had any sort of problem but that might be a lack of customers since FiOS came into town.

    • by Osgeld (1900440)

      I regularly have issues with youtube, almost unwatchable on my comcast

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Yep. I'm a Comcast customer in a metropolitan area of Northern California.

      I used a *nix tool to get the actual URL that the Youtube player uses to download the video that's being streamed to it and used wget to fetch the video file. On my wired home connection, the first fifteen or twenty seconds of the video transferred at ~2MBps, the remainder transferred at ~100KBps. When fetching the resource at that very same URL from a machine at a university in Alabama, the *entire* video transferred at a constant 14

      • by morgauxo (974071)

        I wish you weren't A/C it would be nice if you could try this and respond again!

        Anyway..

        Your experiment doesn't necessarily show they are deprioritizing Youtube. It could be that they are deprioritizing large downloads in genreal. It actually kind of makes sense to do so. You have 100s of thousands of people trying to get millions of files all at the same time. Many are tiny little files that could be transfered nearly in an instant. Some are huge plus will take a while. It makes sense to let those ti

        • by morgauxo (974071)

          "Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity." --Robert J Hanlon

        • by omnichad (1198475)

          tl;dr - they don't have enough bandwidth any time of day, but thanks to the high priority given to young connections you can start watching very quickly before it quits.

    • YouTube is also hit or miss for me. Sometimes it'll work fine, other times I get the dreaded 10-20 seconds of video, then wait, wait, wait... forget it; close the tab. I'm on a 50mb/s Time-Warner connection in North Carolina, FWIW.

      I think the problem with YouTube is YouTube...
  • by thule (9041) on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @08:39PM (#44045111) Homepage
    "Hey, we're not throttling. It is just that our peering is maxed out. Use this other service, it works better for our customers."

    Totally legit way of doing this. I haven't seen any Net Neutrality discussions cover this possibility.
  • by Okian Warrior (537106) on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @08:41PM (#44045127) Homepage Journal

    This is an example of a "natural monopoly", where a limited community resource is owned as property by a corporation. In this case it's the easements and permission needed to run the phone lines, and the RF spectrum for cell-phone service.

    If you treat the resource as property, you get the situation we have now: high fees for access and discouraged use. Phone service has high monthly fees (access) as well as data caps, fixed monthly "minutes", and roaming charges (discouraged use). Similarly for internet: high monthly fees (access), data caps, throttling, kicking off high-usage users, and so on (discouraged use).

    As an alternative, take the revenues from the carriers and divide by the total minutes of service. I don't know what that figure actually is, but for purposes of discussion let's say it's 5 cents a minute. A similar calculation can be done per gigabyte of internet data.

    Suppose the government mandated that carriers could only charge that amount or less, with no other restrictions. Any phone could be used with any carrier, and you choose a carrier at call time by scanning the available carriers like we scan wireless access points. (You wouldn't explicitly scan for each call. Most likely you choose one carrier as default, like we now do with wireless access points.)

    Now instead of making money by getting people to sign up and not use the service, carriers make money the more people use the service. They have to encourage more people to use it, and for longer periods. They have an interest in putting unused capacity to work, and promoting innovative new uses. If a channel is overallocated, they have an interest in building out more capacity.

    The reasoning can be applied to cable TV, internet, and phone service. If the cable company can only charge 15 cents per hour of viewing/downloading (whatever the fee structure works out as), then they will encourage more usage rather than throttling.

    If this change is made, the existing players will make the same profit as now: initially the profits are the same, and no workers need be laid off. Their bottom line doesn't change, only their focus of service.

    It's game theory: change the rules so that the outcome is more desirable.

  • 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 Rockoon (1252108)
      Exactly.

      I am amazed at how few of the people here know what Cogent is doing, even though this is just another in a long line of slashdot-featured stories about Cogent.
    • by omnichad (1198475)

      Except Verizon actually owns the parking lot at the buffet - so to even get in, the customers have to pay for parking in the first place. Verizon is still not providing what their own customers are paying them for.

  • There are reasons for throttling bandwidth. Entirely reasonable and practical reasons for it... and I wouldn't get in the way of ISPs from doing that. But they can't take advantage of that understanding to exploit people or undermine services using their bandwidth.

    Please... do not make us take your flexibility away ISPs. Because if you start messing with this we will do it.

  • Wait (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Charliemopps (1157495) on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @10:33PM (#44045783)

    I work for a telco, and not too long ago I got to chat with one of our VPs about why this happens. I'm a total net neutrality guy, but after talking to him I understood his point of view a bit better.

    With most large content providers, like google for example, ISPs can go to them and say "hey, we're getting a lot of traffic from you. It's cheaper for us if we can make arrangements that are beneficial to the both of us." and then the ISP and the content provider enter into an agreement where the ISP pays a bulk rate for trunks to a network, and the content provider remains on that network and gives plenty of warning before switching so the ISP can make sure that they have enough capacity in that direction.

    Netflix however, doesn't make these kind of agreements. The switch providers and hosting at will. The ISP will pay for large trunks leading to where the majority of netflix traffic is coming from and then Netflix will suddenly drop that host and switch to another. Suddenly 20% of the ISPs traffic is coming from an entirely new network. But they are still locked into a contract with that other network.

    Also, Netflix has no interest in the health of the ISPs network. If Netflix had a financial interest in the health of the network they could do some rather simple things to help the isp, like encourage users to queue up movies ahead of time, have them download at off peak times and then play when they wanted to watch them. This is was cable companies do after all... but netflix has no interest in this sort of thing and as far as the ISP is concerned is doing is best to be as damaging to the network as possible.

    I'm still all for net neutrality, but its good to understand the ISPs concerns. They aren't just out to thwart Netflix. But Netflix is digging their own grave on this one.

  • Ok, if Verizon is intentionally slowing down Netflix, something like putting a delay on the transmission of packets or throwing away a certain percent of them so that they have to be resent, etc... That would be an unfair practice and something to be pretty upset about.

    But, what exactly are 'Peering Points'? Are they special Verizon to Cogent connections put in place specifically to help us use Netflix? If so then shouldn't we be thanking them for having any such connections at all? Do they for some reas

    • by omnichad (1198475)

      Cogent and Verizon are pieces of the cloud. The rain won't flow if they aren't connected with big enough pipes.

      • by morgauxo (974071)

        Sure, but here I guess is where I don't get it. The original 'cloud' was just the old Arpanet backbone right? Commercial and other networks were connected to it, eventually leaving the original pieces in the dust and Arpanet was taken down. Those new connections were made not to benefit the whole though but rather to benefit the companies that built, paid for and maintained them right? What makes Verizon obligated to build more connections to Cogent?

        • by omnichad (1198475)

          Verizon provides connectivity to the Internet as a whole to end users as a paid service (They're an ISP). The connectivity their users need is to servers that are hosted on Cogent's network. The easiest way from point A to point B is to build a bridge directly (i.e. peering). The Internet (at Verizon's end) can route around this limited bandwidth by bouncing all over the country through other routes, but that's not really the best way to do it.

  • There is little doubt in my mind that Comcast also sabotages Netflix to my home. Broken connections are practically non-existent on my cable modem. When the service is running I very rarely have any issues. However, fire up Netflix at night and connections are routinely lost 5 minutes into the show. Traditional downloading will simultaneously be fast as ever. Netflix has a lot of enemies. I mourn for their future loss to the megaton-hammer we know as "Fscking Comcast"

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