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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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  • Redbox Instant (Score:5, Interesting)

    by corychristison ( 951993 ) on Monday June 09, 2014 @11:16AM (#47195177)

    Considering Verizon owns(?) Redbox Instant, why wouldn't they throttle Netflix?

  • Re:No proof? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 09, 2014 @11:37AM (#47195381)

    Not really. That tells you that all of the providers between Google and Netflix aren't congested. But the equation doesn't contain just two variables. In the case of Verizon specifically it contains three. Netflix hired Cogent to carry the content and Cogent peers with Verizon. Cogent underbid everyone else because they refuse to pay peering overages, which obviously something like Netflix would cause. Verizon is capping the connectivity between themselves and Cogent at the threshold ratio at which Cogent has been willing to pay.

    This is not the first time that Cogent has been in this situation. Of the 13 examples of "de-peering" instances listed on Wikipedia Cogent is listed 6 times. Netflix went with the low bid fully knowing what they were getting into. Netflix could opt to pay for the ratio difference themselves, like they are with Comcast.

    Now I am both a FiOS customer (not employee) and a Netflix customer. I tried, unsuccessfully, to watch several shows over the weekend. It does piss me off something fierce, but my anger is directed at both Netflix and Verizon as they both just bitch and moan rather than trying to solve the issue for their customers.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 09, 2014 @11:37AM (#47195383)

    I can completely confirm Netflix''s claims. In the last month streaming over FIOS has become unbearable. Last week I couldn't take it and ordered Optimum. Streaming is back to normal and even latency and bandwidth to other services has improved. If you can, dump this bloated monopoly known as Verizon. Why did we break up AT&T to just to create a new monopoly 30 years later?

  • by LordLimecat ( 1103839 ) on Monday June 09, 2014 @11:39AM (#47195411)

    Just a sample of median income over time,, race, etc (in 2004 dollars) (source []):

    1950 -- White men: $18000; White women: $ 7000; Black men: $ 9775; Black women: $ 3150
    1980 -- White men: $28939; White women: $10741; Black men: $17390; Black women: $ 9944
    2004 -- White men: $31335; White women: $17648; Black men: $22740; Black women: $18379

    Not only has (inflation adjusted) median-- not mean! -- income risen, it looks to my casual eye like the disparity has massively dropped. It went from a 3:1 ratio for black men to women to 1.25:1; between blacks and whites it went from ~2:1 to ~1.5:1.

    If you were to look at education over the past 100 years you would see the same trend. Im not sure where people are getting these "facts" about the dismantled middle class but theyre terribly wrong. All of this talk about class warfare can only be made by one completely oblivious to reality and history.

  • Re:Redbox Instant (Score:4, Interesting)

    by pixelpusher220 ( 529617 ) on Monday June 09, 2014 @11:42AM (#47195455)
    Verizon is playing favorites, Netflix is simply calling them out on exactly is this a 'bad' attribute of Netflix? Hell Netflix has already paid Verizon for better access, and apparently Verizon still isn't providing it.
  • Why Netflix caved.. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by PortHaven ( 242123 ) on Monday June 09, 2014 @11:45AM (#47195483) Homepage

    Because now that they have paid Comcast. Netflix has the potential to claim actual financial damages, allowing them to bring a case all the up to the Supreme Court.

  • by Ecuador ( 740021 ) on Monday June 09, 2014 @12:03PM (#47195629) Homepage
    Ok, so there are no rules in place that would make Comcast enforce net neutrality. But I don't understand, why wouldn't their customers have a good class-action case against them? I mean, I am paying a (decent in the case of Comcast customers) monthly service fee and I have a reasonable expectation of being able to access whatever I want at a reasonable speed. Why aren't Comcast/Verizon customers recruited for a good ol' class action, since they are essentially paying a monthly fee just to be added to the pool of Comcast/Verizon customers that those companies can "dangle" in front of the likes of Netflix in order to extract more fees. I am not in the US right now, but when I had a TWC (=another crap ISP) contract, it didn't say that TWC could decide what I could download at slow or fast speeds - is that no longer the case?
  • Re:I have both (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bleh-of-the-huns ( 17740 ) on Monday June 09, 2014 @12:06PM (#47195651)

    I disagree, I do have FIOS, and I get shitty quality streaming for Netflix, HD streams keep buffering or falling back to SD quality.

    When I change my fios gateway VPN connection to force all traffic over my VPS, suddenly everything works just peachy (except my xbox live since I do not run miniupnpd on my vpn gateway).

    I have a perpetual VPN connection open, that only routes traffic to certain countries through my VPN, all other traffic defaults through my verizon connection (unless I change the config and disable split tunneling)

  • Re:No proof? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Bengie ( 1121981 ) on Monday June 09, 2014 @12:28PM (#47195811)
    Netflix stated that they had to hire Cogent because Verizon refused to accept Netflix traffic from any other CDN. Netflix stated that they were willing to pay the higher price of Level 3, but Verizon wouldn't accept it.

    Maybe Verizon knew that Cogent was bad and wanted to try to cause Netflix into a "guilt by association" situation. Or maybe Verizon finds it easier to flex against Cogent than Level 3, who is many times larger than Verizon when it comes to transit.
  • by Bengie ( 1121981 ) on Monday June 09, 2014 @12:33PM (#47195839)

    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.

    Level 3 has stated that this is common issue across the entire Internet, which is why Level 3 has an average peak port utilization of 37%. Level 3 has designed their network to handle large shifts. You can pay Level 3 to handle peering for you or you can do it yourself, but don't come crying when someone changes routes.

  • Re:Redbox Instant (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Necroman ( 61604 ) on Monday June 09, 2014 @12:55PM (#47196001)

    Your packets are just taking a different route to get to Netflix, so you are bypassing the bottleneck that is normally hit when accessing Netflix. As an end user you have no way to pick the route your packets take unless you proxy through another server (such as a VPN does). So Verizon isn't throttling, they just have overloaded interconnects to certain networks. This probably means that sites beyond Netflix/Youtube are effected by the problem, it's just not as apparent to end users.

  • Re:I have both (Score:2, Interesting)

    by alen ( 225700 ) on Monday June 09, 2014 @01:05PM (#47196081)

    verizon hosts a lot of CDN's that compete with their tv service
    itunes, vudu, hulu and at least half a dozen others. i never hear of any problems with them, except for netflix

    and that's because netflix has a history of finding low ball bids for their business who then refuse to upgrade peering connections to deliver the content they agree to deliver. and netflix used to use a CDN until last year when they tried to push their own onto ISP's without paying for it. like every other CDN who pays ISP's for access, power and other costs

    netflix screams network neutrality to get preferential access for themselves

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

    by Hodr ( 219920 ) on Monday June 09, 2014 @01:20PM (#47196195) 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, it isn't shortest path that defines your route. Their network should route around congestion automatically (the VPN proves there is a less congested route), and the fact that it does not means that they are overriding the default behavior to send Netflix/Youtube/Whatever traffic to specific choke points.

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

    by brxndxn ( 461473 ) on Monday June 09, 2014 @01:33PM (#47196317)

    I am so sick of seeing this damn argument.. The bottom line is Verizon is slowing down and dropping packets that go to specific areas. It does not matter how they do it or what they are saying to justify it. It is intentional and they are lying when they're saying it's not. The fix, for a network provider, is simple and low cost - and it should be part of maintaining the network.

    Verizon wants more money to fix their own network problems that they created intentionally because it allows them to extort money from their competition. Also, Verizon is lobbying to further legalize what they are doing since it is a fairly grey area right now. So.. they are both lobbying for the right to slow down competitor traffic and they are claiming that the existing slow-downs in competitor traffic are a 'technical issue' that is not their fault when they are in full control of the means to fix the technical issue.

  • Re:Redbox Instant (Score:4, Interesting)

    by sjames ( 1099 ) on Monday June 09, 2014 @02:51PM (#47196897) Homepage Journal

    But since the route still has to get through peering w/ Verizon, it lends some credence to the suggestion that Verizon is selectively oversubscribing the peering points. Normally, traversing a VPN would be expected to damage connectivity.

    Verizon isn't lying in the same sense as a used car salesman isn't lying.

  • by mosb1000 ( 710161 ) <> on Monday June 09, 2014 @03:10PM (#47197067)

    The problem is the way they do their accounting, people pay a monthly rate no matter what, and every bit they deliver is written down as an expense. Verizon doesn't feel they are obligated to actually provide the service their customers are paying for. I'm not even sure what they think their customers are paying for. They will readily admit that 30% of their peak traffic is Netflix, but somehow it never occurred to them that some customers might be paying them $120/month so they can have access to Netflix. Also, if Netflix can deliver this service $8/month (most of which is spent buying content), it's hard to believe Verizon can't keep up with them for 15 times that amount! In reality, there's a bunch of shady nonsense going on here.

    If Verizon doesn't like government regulations, they probably shouldn't be such total assholes to their customers. You'd think that the geniuses running that company would have the foresight to realize their monopoly is only secure as long as their customers are happy, but instead they are pulling this crap.

    If you prefer a free market solution, we could pass a law requiring ISPs to charge per GB delivered. Then they'd get the message that their customers are paying for data, not whatever the fuck Verizon thinks they're providing. But either way, Verizon is totally in the wrong here.

  • by Arker ( 91948 ) on Monday June 09, 2014 @05:11PM (#47198165) Homepage
    "Verizon is asking customers to buy something like 10Mbps download speed and an order of magnitude less of upload speed. Now Verizon gets "congested", and they claim a surplus of content generated by upload to its network being responsible for that and want to get paid extra for that upload content."

    You got it. Nice scam huh?

    I got nominal 4gb up, that's the max available in my area, and it's not always delivered. In a lot of larger markets I have researched even this is not available - I see people with 50+ down and only 1 or at most 2 up. This is because ISPs in this company are typically NOT really ISPs, they lack the knowledge or the culture to be one, they do not understand the internet in some cases and when they do, they dont like it. They do not WANT to be in the business, frankly, and are quite uncomfortable with it. That's why you see them advertise the crap out of high download speeds but flat out refuse to offer any significant upload. Their mental model is not that of an ISP but of a cable company, and they dont want their customers to be internet nodes, but passive 'consumers' only.

    Then, having condemned their customers to a second-class imitation internet from the start, they then turn around and complain that their backbone connections are not utilised symmetrically? Well of course they are not. The conditions imposed guarantee they will not be. The gall to turn around and use that as an excuse to shake down their upstreams... unbelievable.

    The worst part is there is no effective competition most places and customers are trapped. If the rest of the internet simply cut off peering to ISPs that do this instead of dealing with them... most of the US would no longer have access to the internet. A few would have a choice... between Comcasts walled-garden and Verizons.

Karl's version of Parkinson's Law: Work expands to exceed the time alloted it.