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The Internet Entertainment

Comcast CEO Brian Roberts Opens Mouth, Inserts Foot 343

lpress (707742) writes "At a recent conference, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts rationalized charging Netflix to deliver content by comparing Comcast to the Post Office, saying that Netflix pays to mail DVDs to its customers but now expects to be able to deliver the same content over the internet for free. He forgot to mention that the Post Office does not charge recipients for those DVDs. The underlying issue in this debate is who will invest in the Internet infrastructure that we badly need? Comcast has a disincentive to invest because, if things bog down, people will blame content providers like Netflix and the ISP will be able to charge the content provider for adequate service. If ISPs have insufficient incentive to invest in infrastructure, who will? Google? Telephone companies? Government (at all levels)? Premises owners?"
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Comcast CEO Brian Roberts Opens Mouth, Inserts Foot

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  • Backbone.... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by niftymitch ( 1625721 ) on Saturday May 31, 2014 @08:34PM (#47138623)

    We need backbone resources or other tricks...
    Mostly we need legal legislative backbone.

    The last mile is owned by local monopolies.
    That is the sad reality. These local monopolies are
    also content service providers and do what they to
    do feather their own nest.

    The congestion is the backbone owners and providers.
    Multiple issues dominate the congestion problems.
    Access, distance, hops and hubs.

    The likes of Netflix need to embrace one or more
    flavors of p2p networking. A local neighborhood
    can cache and redeliver most video frames from a
    modest cache with modern crypto tools to contain
    theft of service.

    I think the likes of Netflix would do well do develop
    an enhanced DOCSIS 3.x modem that also contains
    a p2p client/service that can recast content to other
    like service devices a hop or two away. It can also
    begin caching the top two products on a wish list.

    Proxy and p2p services are underused or vastly abused.

  • by UPZ ( 947916 ) on Saturday May 31, 2014 @08:34PM (#47138625)
    Perhaps a more ideal solution would be for end-users to own the last mile of fiber (maybe as a municipality tax?). That way, ISPs could feed into a local hub.

    It would lower costs to entry significantly, allowing small start-ups to provide internet much in the same way that dial-up ISPs did.

    Also, I think that bringing competition in his way would take away a lot of power that Verizon/Comcast/[insert major cabelco/telco] have. In this situation, net neutrality is almost inevitable as a byproduct of end-user demand, regardless of which corrupt FCC chairman is in power. Net neutrality is almost certain to create more competition among major TV/news networks, which takes away power from the likes of CNN/FOX/Msnbc/CBS/etc who currently dictate the course of conversation in this otherwise great nation.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 31, 2014 @09:29PM (#47138855)

    The ability to run a server is an overlooked part of net neutrality. The debate now is motivated by content providers who only care about downstream parity with other providers â" but real neutrality would also allow consumers to run their own servers including mail and web servers. That would open up markets for plug servers and turn the privacy debate on its ear. In the long run, it might even prove more important than content provider equality.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 31, 2014 @10:01PM (#47138981)
    It's especially bad to sound elitist when you're wrong, but I'm sure that won't stop you the next time either.
  • by sabri ( 584428 ) on Sunday June 01, 2014 @03:09AM (#47139773)

    The point is that, in both cases, the sender/content provider has already paid. If there's an additional cost to transmitting the content across a boundary (different country or different peering service), then in both cases that has already been factored into the cost of sending it, and paid to the local provider (post office or ISP).

    Excellent point. I totally understand how you can feel this way. However, in reality, things are a bit different:

    In the case of the mail, the USPS has contracts with carriers all over the world, where either someone pays the other, or they both agree to forward each others mail without charging. The equivalent of this on the internet is called "peering". With two networks peer with each other (i.e. Netflix and Comcast), they mutually agree to provide access to each other's network. (In this case it is slightly more complicated, but that's irrelevant at this point).

    The problem that is occurring between Netflix and Comcast is that Netflix is sending so much mail to Comcast, that Comcast would need to upgrade its infrastructure to handle all that mail. In your analogy, that would be the USPS sending 10 times as much mail to the Canadian Post than vice versa, forcing Canadian Post to hire more personnel, expand distribution centers and get more people on the road.

    Is it really that unfair? And don't get me wrong, in other threads I've been called a "corporate apologist" for defending Comcast in this matter. I'm not, I don't like Comcast. They're an overpriced underperforming service with horrible customer service. However, from a technical point of view, I can totally understand their point of view.

  • by O('_')O_Bush ( 1162487 ) on Sunday June 01, 2014 @08:29AM (#47140465)
    The issue is that ISPs are greedy on many, many levels.

    The main issue is that ISPs are allowed to oversell their capacity by many, many times, and they hope that nobody notices what they have done. Now that customers are using that capacity, instead of doing the ethical thing and fulfilling the promise they made to consumers, they are trying to find someone else to foot the bill for their sleezy business practices.

    I think the best analogy is like fractional reserve banking. Imagine a culture shit where suddenly people stop leaving their money in savings, and instead store lots of money in savings, but then withdraw almost all of it periodically to spend.

    Instead of changing their banking policy to remain solvent, the banks begin demanding that the most popular retailers pay them massive fees to accept the money that their customers are paying them, and if they don't, the banks will notify people that it is the stores not accepting their money. And for some reason, people believe them.

    Not making a whole lot of fucking sense? Well, neither does the tiered internet thing.

10.0 times 0.1 is hardly ever 1.0.