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Verizon Communications The Internet

Is Verizon Already Slowing Netflix Down? 298

Posted by Soulskill
from the didn't-take-long dept.
hondo77 points out a blog post by Dave Raphael, who noticed some odd discrepancies between two different Verizon broadband connections he has access to. His personal residential plan and his company's business plan both went through the same Verizon routers, but his residential plan is getting unusably slow speeds to places like AWS. He suggests that Verizon is already waging a war on high-bandwidth services like Netflix after the recent court decision against net neutrality. His discussion with a Verizon service representative seems to confirm this, though it's uncertain whether such an employee would have access to that information.
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Is Verizon Already Slowing Netflix Down?

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  • by bobstreo (1320787) on Wednesday February 05, 2014 @03:53PM (#46165189)

    http://bgr.com/2014/02/05/veri... [bgr.com]

    “We treat all traffic equally, and that has not changed,” a Verizon spokesperson told BGR in an emailed statement. “Many factors can affect the speed a customer’s experiences for a specific site, including, that site’s servers, the way the traffic is routed over the Internet, and other considerations. We are looking into this specific matter, but the company representative was mistaken. We’re going to redouble our representative education efforts on this topic.”

    It is still unclear exactly what was causing the issues that Raphael described, but it’s apparently not any form of bandwidth prioritization. Instead, the issue may relate to congestion specific to the Amazon servers or connections that Raphael was testing, but nothing has been confirmed by Amazon.

  • by alen (225700) on Wednesday February 05, 2014 @04:07PM (#46165345)

    if you search on the internet, netflix is pushing it's own CDN with the condition that they don't pay the regular CDN fees. most of the big ISP's haven't signed on which is why netflix is slow on their networks. the pipes to the CDN provider are probably maxed out like the issue with Cogent a few years ago

    business scuffle with two companies trying to lower their costs of business. not like netflix is the angel here either.

  • Because it is. (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 05, 2014 @04:36PM (#46165651)

    Net Neutrality states that all data must be treated equally. That means if I purchase a 20Mb connection, I should be able to allocate that 20Mb connection to any service I want without the ISP throttling it down. If Netflix lets me stream at 20Mb, but for some reason I can only get 10Mb because it is throttled by Verizon, well then that breaks Net Neutrality. Obviously there is a lot of things to take in, like router, modem, and infrastructure, but if there is obvious evidence showing my connections to a particular service is treated differently, it would be illegal under Net Neutrality.

  • by sexconker (1179573) on Wednesday February 05, 2014 @04:37PM (#46165673)

    if you search on the internet, netflix is pushing it's own CDN with the condition that they don't pay the regular CDN fees. most of the big ISP's haven't signed on which is why netflix is slow on their networks. the pipes to the CDN provider are probably maxed out like the issue with Cogent a few years ago

    business scuffle with two companies trying to lower their costs of business. not like netflix is the angel here either.

    This is the second time you've posted about this here as if you have some sort of inside information.
    It's not a rumor, and it's not newsworthy. Netflix announced this shit a year ago when they started touting "Super HD". https://signup.netflix.com/ope... [netflix.com]

    Netflix gave ISPs 3 options:

    A: Peer with us at favorable rates and we'll allow your users to access our higher quality streams and help make sure shit is routing efficiently.
    B: Drop our content boxes directly on your network and we'll allow your users to access our higher quality streams and pay you fair rates.
    C: Don't peer with us at lower rates or let us store content on your network, and we'll name and shame you as not fully supporting Netflix.

    Once all the major ISPs agreed with A or B, Netflix opened up "Super HD" to (almost) everyone. They now have a lot of those distributed content boxes and favorable agreements, and are effectively a CDN.

  • by Shatrat (855151) on Wednesday February 05, 2014 @04:42PM (#46165733)

    I know there's a precedent, but it's a silly one. An ISP participating in Open Connect improves the product of both companies. The ISP reduces the traffic on their network and Netflix performance is better for that ISPs customers. Charging for caching the content would be like trying to charge for peering, the revenue it might be worth is nothing compared to the savings from reducing the load on the network.

  • by Tumbleweed (3706) on Wednesday February 05, 2014 @04:49PM (#46165819)

    Because it would be illegal

    Why?

    What was the rule or regulation or law from Net Neutrality that made what Verizon is doing illegal?

    I want someone to be specific because my point is this Verizon action has NOTHING to do with Net Neutrality, and would not be stopped by any Net Neutrality rules that the FCC put forth before they were told to stop.

    So I repeat; HOW WOULD VERSION NOT BE ABLE TO DO WHAT THEY ARE DOING?

    There is no current authority by the FCC (which they recently admitted) that allows them to enforce net neutrality. Even before that admission, what they had in place would not have worked as net neutrality, and was certainly never legally challenged and upheld in any court to cement it. Until ISPs are classified as common carriers, the FCC will not have the authority to enforce any level of net neutrality - which a former FCC chairman has recently stated. I have not said, and do not believe, that we have ever had any level of net neutrality. I am advocating FOR true net neutrality. That doesn't mean that what Verizon is supposedly doing doesn't violate the spirit of what people want net neutrality protection against, however.

  • by Obfuscant (592200) on Wednesday February 05, 2014 @06:16PM (#46166997)

    If you inform them that Net Neutrality is against throttling speeds,

    Except that isn't what net neutrality is about. Net neutrality has nothing to do with residential and business accounts getting different data rates (which is the complaint in the original article.) It isn't about residential users seeing congestion because there are too many other users on their net segment. One hundred people on your net segment all browsing media-rich websites while you're trying to watch a movie on Netflix and your movie stalls isn't a violation of net neutrality. And it isn't even about the throttling of speeds when you overrun the limits on your data plan.

    It IS about preferential treatment for certain data SOURCES. And this is going to be something that is hard for a user to prove since it will take more than "netflix sux but youtube still rocks", or "netflix at home sux but netflix at work rocks". And it will take a LOT more than some undocumented alleged rambling from a front-line tech support person.

    And, I dare say, you will still have a lot of people who disapprove of net neutrality if you tell them that it would prohibit their ISP from giving their Netflix stream priority over someone else's web browsing. "So what if it takes five seconds for their web page to load instead of one, if them getting it in one means my Netflix hiccups?" (Perhaps this displays why using Netflix as the quintessential argument FOR net neutrality is a poor idea, since it is easy to dismiss it as just selfish people who want their movies to run without interruption even if it means everyone else's network experience suffers.)

    or enable a free market, where we have more than one or two choices for broadband (or any other utility).... If we had 10+ ISP's to choose from, this wouldn't be an issue,

    Well, unfortunately, we've already seen that a totally free market won't result in 10+ ISPs because there won't be enough money to keep all of them in business. Even back in the heyday of dialup ISPs our area only had three or four at best (not counting the AOLs of the world, which I wouldn't call a real ISP anyway), and they tanked because they couldn't keep customers when faster access came around. Heck, some parts of this state had NO ISPs until the state stepped in and provided it as a kind of "extension service". The one local ISP that survived the transition resells DSL for the local telco, so even that "competition" isn't really competition.

    No, to get those 10+ ISPs there will have to be heavy subsidies, and that creates something very different than a free market.

  • by wile_e_wonka (934864) on Wednesday February 05, 2014 @06:42PM (#46167361)

    Our cable (and hence cable modem) went out for a day recently (we use Cox). My wife set up a mobile hotspot from her T-Mobile phone in a spot in which she had LTE service and went about her life as normal, meaning streaming Netflix in the background while she works. It turns out that at LTE speeds, Netflix feeds you rather high reception, and you can go through a 2.5 GB limit in less than two movies. So, she was throttled for the rest of the month to 2G speeds.

    Supposedly they do not throttle on the unlimited plan. They are very clear on the 2.5 GB plan that they will throttle after the cap (but will not charge extra) and they did in fact throttle (and I was fine with that--that was all we paid for, and in the typical month is faaaar more than enough). On the unlimited plan, I question how much Netflix streaming they would really tolerate.

  • Re:Because it is. (Score:5, Informative)

    by vux984 (928602) on Wednesday February 05, 2014 @07:53PM (#46168157)

    Net Neutrality states that all data must be treated equally.

    No it doesn't. And nobody wants that. Do you really want your voip call to break up because the line is slammed with my linux ISO download?

    Net Neutrality more accurately states that all destinations be treated equally.

    The ISP cannot make a deal with google to throttle my traffic to microsoft and yahoo but give me fast access to google.

    The ISP cannot throttle my connection to netflix because it made a deal with amazon. Nor can it host its own video streaming service and throttle my connection to 3rd party services.

    In other words, proper net neutrality prevents ISPs from ACTIVELY using throttlling to advance the relative functionality of a service it would prefer you to use over an equivalent service from somewhere else.

    ISPs can still throttle torrents to ensure voip traffic moves through. ISPs can also still have deals to have netflix servers onsite if they wish, which are lower latency and faster than accessing apple or amazon servers which are not onsite; however they make reasonable best effort for that offsite traffic. They can't deliberately cripple or throttle that connection.

    Finally, net neutrality also effectively prevents ISPs from turning around BILLING amazon and other 3rd party content providers for the "privilege" of having unthrottled access to the ISPs customers -- this is something the ISPs would LOVE to do.

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