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Netflix Trash-Talks Verizon's Network; Verizon Threatens To Sue 364

jfruh (300774) writes "If you're a Verizon broadband customer and you've tried streaming Netflix over the past few days, you might've seen a message telling you that the "Verizon network is crowded" and that your stream is being modified as a result. Verizon isn't taking this lying down, saying that there's no proof Verizon is responsible for Netflix's issues, and is threatening to sue over the warnings."
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Netflix Trash-Talks Verizon's Network; Verizon Threatens To Sue

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  • Detect this sarcasm (Score:5, Informative)

    by TheSpinningBrain ( 998202 ) on Monday June 09, 2014 @11:23AM (#47195257)
    Right. Verizon isn't artificially limiting network speeds. Just like Comcast wasn't. []
  • Re:No proof? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 09, 2014 @11:25AM (#47195277)

    Easy to prove. Use a proxy, ssh tunnel, or VPN outside of Verizon's network, then access Netflix and compare it to not using one of those.

  • Re:Redbox Instant (Score:5, Informative)

    by Wycliffe ( 116160 ) on Monday June 09, 2014 @11:40AM (#47195439) Homepage

    Who actually uses Redbox Instant? Sorta kinda seriously asking.

    It's a pretty good deal for someone who mostly uses redbox and occasionally wants to stream.
    It's $8 a month and gives you 4 rentals so comes out to $2-$3 per month for the streaming portion.
    It's a way for redbox to lock in some customers and a way for verizon to test out it's own streaming service.

  • Re:Price Wars (Score:5, Informative)

    by pixelpusher220 ( 529617 ) on Monday June 09, 2014 @11:41AM (#47195443)
    They already HAS [] paid Verizon for better service...and Verizon STILL isn't providing it...
  • by Charliemopps ( 1157495 ) on Monday June 09, 2014 @11:57AM (#47195579)

    It's more complicated than that. Netflix's speeds on Verizon, or any other carriers, network are determined by peering agreements. There are multiple "Tier1" providers out there... these are the networks that interconnect all the ISPs. Random example: Level3

    So you could have a 10gig agreement with AT&T and a 5gig agreement with Level3 and be doing fine. 30% of all peak traffic comes from Netflix. But Netflix has their peering agreement with AT&T so you're all good. Then, suddenly, Netflix switches peering hosts and goes to Level3.

    In most cases the content provider would inform you ahead of time. You make peering agreements in concert with each other. "We'll both sign a peering agreement with AT&T for a period of 2 years" The big change with Netflix is they do not make agreements like this. They switch peers without notice.

    So when Netflix switches peers they leave the ISP with a 10gig trunk to AT&T that's now severely underutilized. The ISP is reluctant to sign with Level3 because who says Netflix wont just switch peers again? The Tier1 providers are aware of this situation and are using it to their advantage. Particularly Level3. We've no idea what's going on here, but I wouldn't be surprised if Netflix is just as much to blaim her as Verizon.

    Netflix has no financial incentive to be friendly with the ISPs and that's what this whole "Fast lane" is about. I don't like the plan but the ISPs concerns aren't just made up. There is a real and legitimate problem with Netflix and it's not just some conspiracy to prevent people from watching movies.

  • by ArhcAngel ( 247594 ) on Monday June 09, 2014 @11:58AM (#47195587)
    If Verizon wanted to offer the best experience to their Netflix subscribing users they would allow Netflix to install a streaming server in their server farm. This would save Verizon money and prevent the throttling that happens at the peer junction.

    To illustrate imagine 40% of Verizon ISP customers are streaming a movie from Netflix. Without the streaming server the entire 40% have to traverse the backbone which Verizon pays a tier A provider like Level 3 [] for. Now Verizon, like most USA ISPs oversells the capacity they can accommodate because they don't expect everybody to use their full bandwidth portion simultaneously so to save money they also under purchase back end peering connections so that 40% of traffic just slammed all the connection going from Verizon to their tier A provider slowing traffic for everyone trying to access a connection not on Verizon's network. If you add the streaming server inside Verizon's network that 40% of traffic never leaves Verizon's infrastructure thus negating the need to upgrade their back end connection to accommodate the load. Netflix simply sends any new content to the streaming server when it becomes available. Now this scenario SAVES Verizon/Comcast/etc. money but they insist Netflix pay for the privilege of putting the server inside their network. The only reason they would pass up the opportunity to save money is if they also had a streaming service that competes with Netflix which could potentially make them more than they would save. VOD (Video on Demand) and RedBox Instant are just such services. This is why ISPs should not be content providers.
  • by VTBlue ( 600055 ) on Monday June 09, 2014 @12:08PM (#47195663)

    The flaw in your reason is is that inflation adjusted median income growth is a poor measure for purchasing power. You have adjust the median income growth with the expenditures side to get Purchasing Power Parity. Today, middle income people are feel poorer and are poorer than their 1950s 60s counterpart.

  • Re:Redbox Instant (Score:5, Informative)

    by JMJimmy ( 2036122 ) on Monday June 09, 2014 @12:09PM (#47195683)

    Netflix has already issued a clarification. []

  • Re:Redbox Instant (Score:5, Informative)

    by JWW ( 79176 ) on Monday June 09, 2014 @12:21PM (#47195757)

    I refuse to criticize Netflix for standing up to the ISP extortionists.

  • Re:Redbox Instant (Score:5, Informative)

    by brxndxn ( 461473 ) on Monday June 09, 2014 @12:23PM (#47195771)

    I have Fios and I called about Netflix and Youtube issues. The customer service rep actually told me I should use Redbox Instant instead. I ended up saving the chat log because I was so incensed. I paid for the packets of data I request on the Internet. Verizon is trying to charge twice for those very same packets. The only reason I have Verizon is because it's one of two horrible choices I have for Internet access.

    Further, I went ahead and flashed an old wireless access point to DD-WRT and set up an account with (VPN provider) to see if that helped Netflix and Youtube. Sure enough, it did. Netflix was in HD every time after that and Youtube almost never had a hiccup or buffering issue in the middle of the video - as long as the traffic through the device was going to the VPN.

    Netflix, please keep talking trash. Verizon, please go to hell.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 09, 2014 @12:28PM (#47195807)

    You missed the "in 2004 dollars" part of the GPs post. In 1950s dollars, median income was below $5000.

    Now, with income disparity increasing the middle class may well feel like they're worse off, but they really aren't. They are, however, relatively further behind the wealthiest.

  • by Rockoon ( 1252108 ) on Monday June 09, 2014 @12:29PM (#47195817)

    $18k was middle class black in 1950, but once you adjust for inflation, that means in 2004, they should be making about $54k assuming a low 2% inflation,

    Is your bias so thick that you didnt even bother to see if the number was already inflation adjusted? ..or are you so uneducated that you think $18K was a middle class income in the 1950's? Which is it? Disingenuous bias or tragic ignorance?

    The unadjusted figure for white males for the 1950's is $2,709

    ..but here you are, claiming that it was $18K before adjusting for inflation... disingenuous? ignorance? both?

    There is a reason that "the right" is doing better financially, and its not because they are holding you down. You are holding yourself down by not giving a fuck about things like facts.

  • Re:I have both (Score:5, Informative)

    by unrtst ( 777550 ) on Monday June 09, 2014 @12:31PM (#47195825)

    except DSL has always been a shitty tech

    ... the tech isn't shitty, it just has limitations.

    you have to be within range of the CO, have newer wiring, and the farther out you go the slower the speeds
    they will advertise a max speed like LTE, which you will never see because of old and crappy wiring and people "far away" from the CO because the wiring twists and turns underground

    While that's all true, it's also just the last mile, and it is easily and clearly testable**. This means you should be able to determine the speed of your connection from you to the CO (with the ISP's assistance), and it's not going to change based on congestion or time of day (though you could have a crappy copper line that is affected by water damage or other environmental factors... but not congestion).

    What this means is that it's actually much more clear cut when there is an issue, as compared to something like cable (a shared medium). If your speeds over DSL vary depending on time of day (ex. congestion), then it's the network's fault, not your line, and it's most likely due to over subscribing the connection from the CO to ISP (after that, it's the same network that FiOS/etc uses).

    ** I have no idea if they actually disclose the line speed at signup, nor do I know if it's easy for a user to get a test scheduled, and I suspect it is an ugly mess of customer service reps to jump through, but it is technically very easy.

  • Re:Price Wars (Score:5, Informative)

    by Curunir_wolf ( 588405 ) on Monday June 09, 2014 @01:04PM (#47196071) Homepage Journal

    They already HAS [] paid Verizon for better service...and Verizon STILL isn't providing it...

    No, not for "better service", they paid for an interconnect. That's it. It means that instead of streaming traversing from Netflix -> 3rd party backbone provider -> Verizon, it now goes directly from Netflix -> Verizon. So Verizon is correct - they are providing a connection from Netflix at the data rate specified in the agreement. Those messages may be the interconnect is actually too small (because Netflix undersized it), or something between the user's device and Verizon's network. Sure, it could be a crowded Verizon network, but claiming it's THE cause is speculation, and claiming that there is something Verizon isn't providing is completely wrong.

  • Re:Redbox Instant (Score:3, Informative)

    by sabri ( 584428 ) on Monday June 09, 2014 @01:06PM (#47196089)

    did you lie when you told us you were selling us X amount of bandwidth?

    Well, to be fair, that's not really the case. I did a quick check on their website to see whether or not they were making any solid promises on bandwidth, but they're not. You're paying for a traffic allowance per month. Their highest plan is 50GB per month, which translates to ~150kbps... Barely enough for a decent Pandora stream.

    BUT, I do agree that this is scumbag marketing. I could not find any promises of speed other than their general terms "Best LTE, Best coverage". Kind of deceptive. Legal perhaps, but deceptive.

  • Re:Redbox Instant (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 09, 2014 @01:28PM (#47196255)

    You should submit that log to the FCC discussion as evidence of how poorly the market acts without Net Neutrality.

  • Re:Redbox Instant (Score:3, Informative)

    by DamnOregonian ( 963763 ) on Monday June 09, 2014 @02:34PM (#47196769)
    No. They paid for a cross-connect and a router port at a specified bitrate. They got it, and it still wasn't enough.

    But I know, we should regulate evil Verizon to force them into peering arrangements with third-parties.


    Certainly you can see that such idiocy doesn't scale...
  • Re:Redbox Instant (Score:3, Informative)

    by kevmeister ( 979231 ) on Monday June 09, 2014 @02:53PM (#47196915) Homepage

    I think you need to learn how routing protocols work. I will give you a hint, unless they are using 20+ year old protocols like RIP v1

    I don't think you have worked for a real provider for quite a few years. RIP v1 (which is way more than 20 years old) has been effectively dead for years. Every provider has used either OSPF or ISIS for years. A few smaller providers may still use EIGRP, a pretty good proprietary protocol developed by Cisco. This goes back to at least the beginning of the commercialization of the Internet in the late 90s.

    But these shortest-path protocols are only used for "interior" routing. That is, within a single administrative domain, like Verizon or Comcast or the University of California at Berkeley. (All of these entities actually have more than one administrative domain to make things manageable or to deal with organizational requirements.)

    Between these domain a border protocol, BGPv4 is universal. It is also fairly stupid as it has no information on the interiors of the networks it is talking to. Instead it has a set of metrics that decide what routes to prefer and filter to control what routes are even accepted from neighbors (usually called 'peers'). There are very few metrics. the main one is called AS path length, or the number of administrative domains between points. It is fairly common to edit this path to make one or another path preferred, usually to prefer less expensive paths. Use the free or cheap path if you can and only use the relatively expensive path when there is no other choice. This is a gross over-simplification, but his i not a networking class.

    The North American Network Operators Group (NANOG) [] has several excellent tutorials [] on routing protocols free on-line if you want to learn more, but, as simple s BGP is, the actual ways it is implemented get very arcane.

    Netflix would probably be interested in evidence that Verizon is deliberately limiting traffic. I'm sure that they would be delighted to hear from anyone who can provide things like records of chats or e-mail where Verizon employees makes statements demonstrating this.

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