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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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  • Price Wars (Score:5, Insightful)

    by imunfair ( 877689 ) on Monday June 09, 2014 @11:15AM (#47195165) Homepage

    Since Netflix already paid off Comcast I'd wager they're willing to do the same for Verizon. However, Verizon is probably trying to bleed them for more than they're willing to pay. In other words, this is just their way of negotiating the contract down to a "reasonable" amount. (as if they should even have to make payoffs to the cable companies in the first place)

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

      by Austerity Empowers ( 669817 ) on Monday June 09, 2014 @11:41AM (#47195441)

      This is why you don't negotiate with terrorists.

      • Re:Price Wars (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Man On Pink Corner ( 1089867 ) on Monday June 09, 2014 @04:09PM (#47197595)

        It is always a temptation [poetryloverspage.com] to an armed and agile nation
            To call upon a neighbour and to say: --
        "We invaded you last night--we are quite prepared to fight,
            Unless you pay us cash to go away."

        And that is called asking for Dane-geld,
            And the people who ask it explain
        That you've only to pay 'em the Dane-geld
            And then you'll get rid of the Dane!

        It is always a temptation for a rich and lazy nation,
            To puff and look important and to say: --
        "Though we know we should defeat you, we have not the time to meet you.
            We will therefore pay you cash to go away."

        And that is called paying the Dane-geld;
            But we've proved it again and again,
        That if once you have paid him the Dane-geld
            You never get rid of the Dane.

        It is wrong to put temptation in the path of any nation,
            For fear they should succumb and go astray;
        So when you are requested to pay up or be molested,
            You will find it better policy to say: --

        "We never pay any-one Dane-geld,
            No matter how trifling the cost;
        For the end of that game is oppression and shame,
            And the nation that pays it is lost!"

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

      by pixelpusher220 ( 529617 ) on Monday June 09, 2014 @11:41AM (#47195443)
      They already HAS [time.com] paid Verizon for better service...and Verizon STILL isn't providing it...
      • Re:Price Wars (Score:5, Informative)

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

        They already HAS [time.com] 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.

        • 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.

          Well doesn't it seem rather odd then that in a ranking out of 60 ISPs, Verizon DSL comes in dead last? [netflix.com]. (hit the include small ISPs button)

          Even their Verizon FIOS ranks at 50. How is it that 49 other big and small ISPs come in faster than Verizon's FIOS when most of them probably do not have peering agreements. Seriously, who in the heck is going to pay for Verizon FIOS when it can't even stream Netflix as fast as a small broadband company. Verizon can complain all it wants, but I suspect Netflix has da

  • 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?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 09, 2014 @11:19AM (#47195217)

      Who actually uses Redbox Instant? Sorta kinda seriously asking.

    • Heh. I never heard of Redbox Instant before now. Big marketing failure there, chaps.
      • Heh. I never heard of Redbox Instant before now. Big marketing failure there, chaps.

        It's only marketed to people who use redbox because that's it's only real value. It gives you 4 free rentals
        per month plus streaming. If you rent from redbox you can't miss it.

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

      by aaarrrgggh ( 9205 ) on Monday June 09, 2014 @11:35AM (#47195361)

      Because that would be abuse of monopoly, and they take that stuff seriously!

      The current situation is unacceptable, and it makes me want to dump both Verizon and Netflix. There are alternatives for both.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Viable alternatives to Netflix or any other service routed over telecommunications? Yes. Viable alternatives to the telecommunications providers, whether they're treated as telecommunications providers or not? Very few if at all.

      • 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 it...how 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.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          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...
          • by mosb1000 ( 710161 ) <mosb1000@mac.com> 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.

      • 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, Insightful)

      by Chalnoth ( 1334923 ) on Monday June 09, 2014 @11:50AM (#47195531)

      They don't actually need to throttle anything. They just have to fail to build the infrastructure required to support the bandwidth needs of their customers from a Netflix source. Basically, as video streaming has increased, it's created bottlenecks in existing internet infrastructure. If they don't keep up with the new bandwidth demands, they can't deliver the content.

      Video streaming providers like YouTube and Netflix have been colocating cache servers at ISP's for a while now. These cache servers are actually cheaper for everybody: they're cheaper for the ISP because they don't need to build out as much new upstream bandwidth to keep their service going. They're cheaper for the content provider because the content provider doesn't get as many hits on its datacenters. And everybody else in between has a less-congested network.

      So really it's a matter of ISP's like Verizon and Comcast refusing to allow Netflix/YouTube to build cache servers at the ISP's sites, despite the clear benefits to everybody.

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

        by JWW ( 79176 ) on Monday June 09, 2014 @12:28PM (#47195809)

        The irony here is that Version will claim no one is paying them to expand their capacity to deal with the Netflix traffic.

        But then there customers should be able to ask and sue for an answer to the question: "If you don't have enough bandwidth to handle sending us data from Netflix, did you lie when you told us you were selling us X amount of bandwidth?"

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by sabri ( 584428 )

          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

    • Well Verizon FIOS is the only price competition competition to Cable Internet Access. Netflix streaming is the "Killer App" that makes people want to upgrade to a faster connection.
      Most people already have Cable based internet and Verizon wants to get people to switch to theirs.

    • Because of the fodder it would give Comcast and AT&T.

      Commercials involving slow Netflix (which that and YT are the biggest uses of bandwidth for most people) and placing blame squarely on Verizon or a Verizon lookalike is pretty persuasive when people are alreadying frustrated by their service.
    • 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 hidemyass.com (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.

      • 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.

    • Because Verizon has customers paying them for unrestricted access to web content, including Netflix.

      But I doubt Verizon does throttling to reduce the quality of Netflix for the sake of redbox instant, it's far more likely to be about boosting their own cable service subscriptions.
  • by magsol ( 1406749 ) on Monday June 09, 2014 @11:16AM (#47195185) Journal
    ...over the sound of all its whining.
  • by B33rNinj4 ( 666756 ) on Monday June 09, 2014 @11:17AM (#47195197) Homepage Journal
    I'll run a comparison with my current network (Verizon) and when Google Fiber finally drops in my area. I'm sure I'll find all the proof I need.
    • 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.

      • This!
        Anytime I have issues streaming with Netflix I just throw on my VPN(from private internet access) and problem solved. IF Verizon wants proof, I have it right here.
    • 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.

      • Then why aren't Cogent's other peers having the same issue? The issue here is Verizon, just as it was with Comcast.
      • 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.
    • I'll run a comparison with my current network (Verizon) and when Google Fiber finally drops in my area. I'm sure I'll find all the proof I need.

      Google Fiber serves a few thousand customers country wide. Don't hold your breath.

  • by Enry ( 630 )

    I was doing a bit of streaming over the weekend (BSG) from my Tivo on FIOS and didn't get see any messages nor did I see performance problems.

  • 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. [washingtonpost.com]
    • by gfxguy ( 98788 )

      +1 Informative... too bad I have no mod points, but it's an incredibly interesting graph. As a Netflix/Comcast subscriber, with no viable alternative to high speed internet service, I've always argued against Netflix's caving into Comcast's extortion. Of course, the date is supplied by Netflix, but it echoes what we've experienced at home.... it used to work just fine, then suddenly it was terrible and we were always getting "rebuffering" messages, and often enough Netflix would just give up and not play.

      • 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.

      • What does it tell? It shows a simultaneous decline with numerous other providers during the timeframe when Netflix and Comcast were negotiation for direct transit rather than requiring transit through intermediaries like Cogent. Without knowing when the direct transit was initiated, it's hard to tell exactly what went on. Very likely it's was done shortly after the deal was concluded and if you will note that AT&T and Verizon, who were both declining, ceased declining at the same rate and also started i

    • SOURCE: Netflix


    • 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?
  • I'm really interested to see what evidence ends up being offered in this. Can Netflix prove that ISPs are at fault? Can Verizon prove that it's not their fault.

    I find this part pretty interesting:

    Citing the Internet Phenomena blog, Verizon said that instead of using its ability to connect directly to every broadband network in the country, Netflix has tried to cut costs by relying on a "panoply of content-distribution and other middle-man networks" to reach customers.

    It seems like an awfully strange complaint. How is Netflix supposed to "connect directly", and are people not supposed to use content distribution networks? What's the argument exactly on Verizon's side. If Netflix is using a "panoply of content-distribution networks", I would think that'd imply that they sho

    • by Shados ( 741919 )

      The evidence shouldn't be too hard to come by. For a while Youtube offered a page showing statistics for your ISP's streaming rate vs other ISPs in the same general area.

      I was on FiOS at the time, and the streaming speed was pitiful (could barely stream 360p during peak hours on youtube), while the average in the area was significantly higher. Switched ISPs (yeah, I had a choice at the time), and sure enough, it was all better.

      • They did this because Google and VZN were butting heads over whose fault the slowdowns were in several areas around the country (my area, Northern VA, was one of them).

        Google supplied pretty damning evidence that VZN had some faulty hardware or was throttling and causing the issues, but VZN was still trying to shift blame to Google. After enough complaints and people leaving FiOS, the problems magically went away.
    • by JeffOwl ( 2858633 ) on Monday June 09, 2014 @11:38AM (#47195401)
      I think what Verizon is saying is that instead of Netflix paying Verizon for a direct link between the Verizon (tier 1) network and the Netflix servers, Netflix is using a different Tier 1 provider which probably has a peering agreement with Verizon and therefore Verizon isn't making any money off the supply side, only the consumer side, which just isn't good enough for them.
    • 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 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.

        • 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.

          It is a common problem. But it was something that wasn't really done until Netflix pioneered it. Traffic moves all over, but Netflix is 33% of traffic. That's not just traffic moving, that's re-engineering your entire network overnight. The ISPs were just switching peers and following Netflix for a while but their network utilization is just too large to ignore now. The ISPs should have seen this coming and approached the FCC to enshrine the "Gentlemans agreement" they'd always had with content providers in

      • by amorsen ( 7485 )

        So when Netflix switches peers they leave the ISP with a 10gig trunk to AT&T that's now severely underutilized.

        If the ISP is concerned about this, they can just ask Netflix for a caching box. Total cost to the ISP is a couple of ports in a switch, a few rack units, and power. I.e. approximately zero.

    • 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 [level3.com] 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.
  • I have both Verizon FIOS and Netflix. Here is what I, as a user/subscriber, expect. I pay Netflix to stream movies. I pay Verizon to provide me bandwidth and internet/web access. I don't pay either of them to throttle my connection or do what they want to quality. I pay for X amount, and expect to get it. If Verizon cannot hold up their end of the deal to provide me a pipe, then they aren't doing their job.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 09, 2014 @11:36AM (#47195365)

    Haha this suit is never coming, they sure as hell don't want to be in a courtroom over this topic too much risk in having netflix expose them and others.

  • 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?

    • YouTube performance over Verizon has been terrible for about a year now too. It's not a throughput problem, but the connection keeps stalling out at random intervals, requiring you to restart the video every minute or two.

  • by greywire ( 78262 ) on Monday June 09, 2014 @11:38AM (#47195397) Homepage

    Well this seems like a fine "solution" to companies that are trying to get rid of net neutrality.

    What if every big content provider started popping up such messages? Let the user know directly that their content is being delivered slower because their net provider is throttling the data.

    As long as the content provider can accurately determine this is happening, then what can anybody do to stop them from saying it? Verizon can huff and puff about it but if its provably true can they legally do anything to stop it?

    I bet people start caring about net neutrality real fast..

  • How is this different than the "use firefox" or "we recommend internet explorer" or "we recommend chrome"
    that many banks, websites, etc... have routinely shown. Many websites have gone so far as blocking you
    if you didn't have an "approved" browser. I see no reason why netflix can't do the same. They could even
    do something like "because we have detected that you will get a subpar experience, we currently don't allow
    verizon customers to use our service".

  • Is buffer bloat -- the over-buffering many ISPs do in the hopes of giving better last-mile performance, but which actually breaks TCP's internal throttling mechanisms -- part of what is at fault, here?

    • by Bengie ( 1121981 )
      Buffer bloat exasperates congestion by causing more extreme swings between over-saturated and under-saturated, but there shouldn't be congestion in the first place. Netflix is not attempting to send data at your full connection speed, except for the fraction of a second for initial buffering. Most of the time, they're only attempting to send 2mb/s
  • by Stormy Dragon ( 800799 ) on Monday June 09, 2014 @12:22PM (#47195769) Homepage

    In the US, it doesn't matter if there's no proof that Verizon is responsible for Netflix's issues. As the plaintiff, it would be Verizon's burden to show that there is proof that they aren't.

  • Simple solution (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Charcharodon ( 611187 ) on Monday June 09, 2014 @12:53PM (#47195979)
    The solution is Netflix and everyone else needs to let you buffer based on your available bandwidth. If your connection is too slow to watch the HD movie you have paid for then it should pretty much download the whole thing and then let you watch it.

    The whole concept of live streaming accross the internet has always been a stupid idea for pre-recorded non-live media consumption

  • The elephant in the room: Requiring streaming for every customer simultaneously with no option for offline playback is a broken model with respect to how the internet works.

    Granted, since any customer can arbitrarily choose any item in the Netflix library for viewing, the capability for streaming in real-time needs to work decently well. In practice, however, only the things in "My List" are likely to be viewed by a given customer, so downloading to a local cache would allow playback at optimal quality without needing ideal network performance.

    It seems to me the intense desire on the part of Netflix and the "rights holders" for full control, maximum monetization and the deep rooted fear that someone might figure out how to make a copy is the real reason this is even a problem.

    I would have no problem with a Netflix client that incorporated some sort of DVR-like functionality so that items of interest could be added to a local queue (sorry - queue is a deprecated term - My Local List). That would be wonderful for situations where the available network is sketchy (eg. hotel, coffeeshop) or not present (airplane, campsite, beach, etc). Rampant sharing could be minimized by allowing only one (or a few) devices to have the locally cached content, and requiring a network connection to download or release a particular item. Or if that's too complicated, just allow a limited number of authorized devices per account that can cache the same content.

    I think enough customers would take advantage of this to alleviate the problems caused by real-time streaming and take a lot of power away from the intermediaries.

  • I've heard mentioned that Netflix should adopt a P2P model using BitTorrent in order to circumvent ISP throttling. (Maybe I've got that wrong. I'm not terribly informed.)

    But that got me thinking. Could we, and big providers in particular, sort of collectively force network neutrality on the ISPs by encrypting everything, so that it's impossible for the ISPs to know what the packets are, only that they're supposed to be delivered to such-and-such a place? Would that work? And what would it take to make it happen? Or is there a big reason why it can't be done that I don't know about?

"The pathology is to want control, not that you ever get it, because of course you never do." -- Gregory Bateson