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The Internet AT&T Businesses Communications Network

'Netflix and Alphabet Will Need To Become ISPs, Fast' (techcrunch.com) 326

Following the recent official repeal of net neutrality and approval of AT&T's acquisition of Time Warner, an anonymous reader shares an excerpt from a report via TechCrunch, written by Danny Crichton. Crichton discusses the options Alphabet, Netflix and other video streaming services have on how to respond: For Alphabet, that will likely mean a redoubling of its commitment to Google Fiber. That service has been trumpeted since its debut, but has faced cutbacks in recent years in order to scale back its original ambitions. That has meant that cities like Atlanta, which have held out for the promise of cheap and reliable gigabit bandwidth, have been left in something of a lurch. Ultimately, Alphabet's strategic advantage against Comcast, AT&T and other massive ISPs is going to rest on a sort of mutually assured destruction. If Comcast throttles YouTube, then Alphabet can propose launching in a critical (read: lucrative) Comcast market. Further investment in Fiber, Project Fi or perhaps a 5G-centered wireless strategy will be required to give it to the leverage to bring those negotiations to a better outcome.

For Netflix, it is going to have to get into the connectivity game one way or the other. Contracts with carriers like Comcast and AT&T are going to be more challenging to negotiate in light of today's ruling and the additional power they have over throttling. Netflix does have some must-see shows, which gives it a bit of leverage, but so do the ISPs. They are going to have to do an end-run around the distributors to give them similar leverage to what Alphabet has up its sleeve. One interesting dynamic I could see forthcoming would be Alphabet creating strategic partnerships with companies like Netflix, Twitch and others to negotiate as a collective against ISPs. While all these services are at some level competitors, they also face an existential threat from these new, vertically merged ISPs. That might be the best of all worlds given the shit sandwich we have all been handed this week.

'Netflix and Alphabet Will Need To Become ISPs, Fast'

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  • [Cue the Jurassic Park Music]

    Greed will find a way.

    Despite almost every person in the world now having a common benefit for accessing a world-wide open information network - greed always find a way to add in barrier and costs wherever it can.

    Greed finds a way to play groups against groups - so that large numbers in effect demand that everything become more expensive for little real benefit, other than some easily disprove set of things their leaders are saying unbacked by any science or reasoning.

    Greed find

    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      by Kjella ( 173770 )

      Despite almost every person in the world now having a common benefit for accessing a world-wide open information network - greed always find a way to add in barrier and costs wherever it can.

      Meanwhile here in Norway:
      Mean download: 94.0 Mbps (+58.0% YoY)
      Median download: 45.8 Mbps (+45.4% YoY)
      Broadband (>128 kbps): 85.3% of households
      Over 40% fiber and climbing fast

      And we are more sparsely populated with way smaller cities than the US. The generation growing up now won't know what bandwidth scarcity is, everybody can watch their own UHD Netflix stream...

      • Indeed - that's the 'wherever it can' part.

        Societies can sometimes push back against greed - as outrageous as it might seem to some here in the States.

        We're missing half of the entire equation here - the whole 'wow, we should really give the public interest some weight in our policy debate' side of the equation.

        Ryan Fenton

      • Top of the rankings according to Speedtest Global Index [speedtest.net]. Slightly rub it in your face though as the US is 42nd. I wonder how many people with dial up do a speed test though? Do they have the bandwidth to do one? Could they be bothered?
        • by dryeo ( 100693 )

          I used to when I was on dialup, then the speedtest sites started taking too long to load.
          Of interest in your link is that at least 2 sparsely populated large countries (Australia and Canada) are in the top 10.

        • Norway no longer has POTS/PSTN. If you want an analog telephone line, you'll have to get a SIP to Analog box. Some providers will even provide G.711 if you need the full bandwidth.

          When Norway privatized the national telephone company back in 1999 or something like that, part of the agreement was that any service they provide to one Norwegian house they have to provide to 95% of Norwegian households. So there are 5% which were a little screwed. Then companies in those areas popped up pretty quick. So, compan
      • Question: What are your upload speeds like?

        Also, Gigabit major cities are clearly coming to the US. But while you may be sparsely populated compared to NYC, you're not compared to Wyoming.

      • by mlyle ( 148697 )

        Your population density overall is lower because there's a lot of unpopulated land, but 75% of your population lives in areas with more than 1000 people per square kilometer :P.

        The US has telecom problems beyond the population density one, but the bad thing is intermediate population densities. Sparsely populated areas don't matter because no one lives there. Densely populated areas are easier to service. Sprawling, intermediate areas, where lots of people live but the economics of providing service suck

        • Much bigger problems than that.

          Norway thrives because Norway is a country about the size of California or maybe the American west coast states and also has a manageable population size. In America, it's possible to manage states the size of California without too much difficulty because the people of the state are all somewhat similar and carry common interests. If California were in charge of their own national budget, they could maybe manage to resolve water problems for example. But as part of a much lar
  • Dumbasses (Score:5, Insightful)

    by GerryGilmore ( 663905 ) on Wednesday June 13, 2018 @05:32PM (#56779912)
    Haven't they learned the lesson of Modern American Capitalism(TM) yet? Crikey, for a tenth of the money they'd spend to start an ISP, they could just buy a few carefully chosen politicians and - voila!
    • You're trying to be funny and sarcastic but what you don't seem to understand is that some are using sarcasm like yours as an instruction manual for how to get things done. We here in the U.S. already have the most corrupt and dysfunctional government we've ever had in our over 200 year history, we do not need more corruption and dysfunctionality.
      • by jwhyche ( 6192 )

        No we don't.

    • At this point, they don't even have to buy politicians, they just need to promote the political party that isn't batshit crazy to the people that seem to think batshit crazy is a sensible position.

  • by BrookHarty ( 9119 ) on Wednesday June 13, 2018 @05:32PM (#56779914) Homepage Journal

    Net Neutrality isn't dead, its just not being reinforced by the FCC, the FTC now owns it.

    FTC will have to handle bad throttling practices by mega corps of Comcast and ATT.

    Comcast offers unlimited for 50 extra a month, so they can cover that loss in the NFL/ESPN sports ball licenses...

    Binge netflix all you want. I'm too busy watching twitch.

  • Netflix and Alphabet will need to get involved with political campaigns fast!

    Seriously, it's not a complex equation: promote the people that benefit you and bad mouth the ones that don't. While it may benefit me in this particular case, corporate involvement in politics still something that needs to be stopped.

  • Between Comcast and AT&T, they pretty much own the entirety of the Last Mile, and the only way anyone else gets to use those is if they lease them from them. Unless Google/Alphabet, Netflix, and whoever else wants to get into the infrastructure business, too, then they'll either be entirely denied by Comcast and AT&T, or they'll get price-gouged so much that there's no way they could be competitive. Then there's the problem of Comcast and AT&T having regulators and legislators more or less in th
  • by mileshigh ( 963980 ) on Wednesday June 13, 2018 @05:53PM (#56780028)

    If Comcast throttles YouTube, then Alphabet can propose launching in a critical (read: lucrative) Comcast market.

    You mean like Google did to Microsoft Office with Google Docs? Years later, that's still costing MS big-time.. way more than they'll ever make from Bing. Didn't cost Google much, but it sure put MS on notice.

    There's lots more where that came from.

    • Translation: MS Office is massive, overpriced overkill for the vast majority of people.
      • by MBC1977 ( 978793 )
        Possibly, but its still better than the shit alternatives (i.e. LibreOffice, Google Docs just to name two).
    • by houghi ( 78078 )

      When companies fight the battle, do not be surprised if the people to not gain anything. If it happens it is a coincidence.

  • Slashdot is now apparently just siphoning off HN's front page, just about half a day late.

    Might as well read HN (but never comment there, because their moderation system blows more goats than Reddit and Voat combined.)

  • It is more likely you would get a situation like this;

    Step 1
    Alphabet threatens Comcast. Comcast board sees it's profits/share price going down which impacts their bonus. Board tells Alphabet to jump and charges them the maximum they can legally get away with then they take part of that money and hire lawyers(eg;community groups) to object to everything Alphabet does.

    Step 2
    After five or six more years (maybe ten) Alphabet looks like it is going to get somewhere so, before the profits go down, the old b

  • Google Fiber is not coming to your neighborhood no matter how much you might wish it to be true, Danny Crichton.

  • Here we go... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by infernalC ( 51228 ) <matthew@mellon.google@com> on Wednesday June 13, 2018 @06:07PM (#56780148) Homepage Journal

    We know how AT&T handles this sort of thing with TV networks.

    Next week, you'll go to Netflix.com and they'll start showing modal popups saying AT&T has decided to deny access to Netflix in a few weeks, and to call AT&T and let them know how you feel.

    Three weeks later, you'll go to Netflix.com and get a certificate error: bad CNAME. Users who are idiots enough to click through the errors will see a marketing-crafted propaganda video about how Netflix has chosen not to share their content anymore with AT&T subscribers, and to call Netflix and let them know how you feel.

    Invariably, this will occur right when some major season finale is supposed to air.

    The Internet should be a utility. It should just be metered and paid for by the consumers, who should be able to freely change their caps. Who cares how they use the bandwidth they pay for?

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      Re "Who cares how they use the bandwidth they pay for?"
      Thats what federal NN rules attempted to demand of networks all over the USA.
      That every part of a network had to be upgraded to some standard and offered to all.
      So all networks stayed slow as no investment would get covered if every poor community for "free" new networking.
      With NN rules removed the federal side is now more relaxed.
      A community with some ability to pay for new networking can try community networking, have a telco invest in a new ne
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Bullshit.

        https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20171005/09400638350/anybody-claiming-net-neutrality-rules-killed-broadband-investment-is-lying-to-you.shtml

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by shplopt ( 5409448 )
        "A community with some ability to pay for new networking can try community networking, have a telco invest in a new network." Except telcos have for years been using their political weight to sabotage and outlaw community broadband efforts, arguing that, poor things, they wouldn't be able to compete in a real market.
      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        That ain't gonna happen because the last mile is still way too expensive to make investing in a new network a risk investors are willing to take.

        The only way to fix this is local loop unbundling with mandatory minimum speeds. Split up the companies that own the last mile, with the last mile owner offering access to any ISP who wants it and charging enough to cover the upgrades required. Also mandate that all new installations are fibre.

        Due to broadband being a natural monopoly there is no other way. It has

    • dateline 2019 Winter is coming but not for Comcast subs. Game of thrones season 8 is starting but comcast subs are unable to watch on tv or on hbo now and on comcast network going HBO.com just get pushed to some ATT website. ATT says it's about playing fair and that Comcast has been offered a deal.

      Comcast says ATT is wants to have other NBC owned stuff as part of the HBO deal and We just want the deal to be about HBO like how it's been since 1972

  • ... might actually come out of this better than AT&T and Comcast. The last mile carriers aren't free of net neutrality yet. The next administration might just throw out Tweedie Pai and reverse his policies if enough people get pissed off. On the other hand, there might be a battle between AT&T, Comcast, Verizon and other carriers to convince customers that they are better ISPs, by not screwing with third party content. On the other hand, they might use their own content as leverage to gain market s

    • The next administration might just throw out Tweedie Pai and reverse his policies if enough people get pissed off.

      Nope and nope. With NN gone and nothing taking it's place, the conglomerates will move very fast to make reversing NN's current status of gone exceedingly difficult.

      We had our chance, it's passed us now. NN is dead, and the big guys will move swiftly to ensure it can NEVER be revived.

      In this world, a dollar speaks much louder than a thousand people. Just how it is. People can scream until they're blue in the face, the dollar wins every time.

      And there is a lot of easy money to be made by bilking all thes

      • by PPH ( 736903 )

        With NN gone and nothing taking it's place

        But that's my point. With no net neutrality, the big ISPs will look for any club they can to beat down their competition. And the biggest one they have is to turn of the spigot on their competitor's content. They are collecting eyeballs and the best way they can do that is to offer the best package of content to those eyeballs. That means their own studio's content plus the third party stuff (Netflix, etc.). Since everyone can deliver Netflix there is no upside to screwing with it. They can throttle competi

    • by StormReaver ( 59959 ) on Wednesday June 13, 2018 @07:26PM (#56780608)

      On the other hand, there might be a battle between AT&T, Comcast, Verizon and other carriers to convince customers that they are better ISPs, by not screwing with third party content.

      No.

      What will happen is AT&T, Comcast, Verizon, and Mediacomm will collude to ensure that everyone gets the same shitty Netflix experience across the board. We'll have nowhere to go, so we'll give up and keep paying for shitty service.

      The Low Earth Orbit satellite companies (StarLink, Boeing, and I think one other) will likely be our only hope of getting decent Internet service on a broad scale. Alphabet seems to have already given up on being a terrestrial ISP, and no one else seems to care to fill the gap.

  • Net Neutrality could very well be the thing that ends America's tech dominance. Hosting Web hosting can now move off shore to locations where bandwidth is cheaper. It's going to look mighty tempting to host content in other countries.
  • by ChrisKnight ( 16039 ) <merlin@ghostwheel.cCOUGARom minus cat> on Wednesday June 13, 2018 @06:37PM (#56780358) Homepage
    Everyone is worried that ISPs will start charging more money for faster content. So, Netflix should beat them to the punch. Netflix should create NIPP (Netflix ISP Partner Program), where partners pledge to not charge customers more money for decent bandwidth, and that they will not charge Netflix a premium transit fee to keep from slowing them down. ISPs that don't sign up for NIPP get videos to their IP space automatically downgraded to a lower quality. If it is impossible to get full resolution videos on Comcast, you can bet I'll be moving to AT&T Fiber, or Sonic, or somebody who is partnered with Netflix.
  • RIP Internet (Score:4, Insightful)

    by duke_cheetah2003 ( 862933 ) on Wednesday June 13, 2018 @06:43PM (#56780396) Homepage

    This merger is only the beginning of the end. Between this, Net Neutrality getting canned and the EU's broken mandates regarding the internet......

    Yeah, it was fun while it lasted.

    Now we'll have AT&T Net, Comcast Net, Verizon Net, and you can bet they absolutely do not want to talk to each other, or have their customers streaming content from their competitors.

    Wish I could say I'm surprised, but I'm not, the ground work began for this with NN getting kicked to the curb. Now that the gloves are off, these big conglomerates can strangle the internet however they please.

  • Or they can not (Score:3, Insightful)

    by WillAffleckUW ( 858324 ) on Wednesday June 13, 2018 @07:23PM (#56780588) Homepage Journal

    Look, Net Neutrality is the Law of the Land in CA, OR, WA, and a few other states.

    They can just walk away from the unprofitable other states and let you freeze in the net dark.

    All the profit is in the West.

  • Disney is the eventual Netflix competitor. They've already announced pulling their content deals from Netflix to go it on their own. Comcast has already tried to buy Disney, perhaps in anticipation of the end of net neutrality. Now would be a very good time to revive that discussion. They could go from positioning to be a strong Netflix competitor to a position of dominance overnight.
  • I swear 95% of the arguments and complaints and "let's mess with the business model!" movements are complaints from Comcast customers about Comcast.

    As a former ISP employee who doesn't live in a Comcast area, complaints about how your ISP's service sucks is not a persuasive argument for how the rest of the industry has to function. I'm really sorry, but if you have a problem with your cable monopoly, take it up with your local representatives to find a solution. Or switch services to something else.

    Plenty o

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