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From throttling to CDN fees, Comcast had a counter to every Netflix workaround as it

Interesting tidbits continue to emerge from Netflix, Inc.'s (NFLX) petition to deny Comcast Corp.'s (CMCSA) $45.2B USD mega-takeover of Time Warner Cable Inc. (TWC), which sits on the docket of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC).  In the 256-page filing [PDF], Netflix explains finer details of its war with Comcast late last year.
I. Pay to Play -- Level One, the Small CDNs
Many assumed that it was after the collapse of the FCC's net neutrality rules that an emboldened Comcast began to aggressively throttle connections from Netflix.  But in reality, Netlix's loss to Comcast earlier this year and agreement to pay it fees came after a hard-fought half-decade-long war against America's largest and most abusive cable company
Comcast would sell users high speed connections, then effectively deny customers the service they paid for by disallowing high-bandwidth content providers like Netflix from connecting to subscribers at reasonable bitrates.

Netflix video
[Image Source: The New York Post]

Netflix describes how it initially outfitted itself to become the nation's largest deliverer of subscription streaming video, writing:

In 2007, Netflix launched its video streaming service. In preparation for its initial launch, Netflix designed and deployed its own CDN, which Netflix hosted in five locations across the country.  Netflix purchased transit from Limelight and Qwest to deliver content from the CDNs.

By 2008, however, consumer demand for edge provider content, including Netflix's service, had grown significantly.  As a result, it made sense for Netflix to partner with third-party CDNs, which could better manage the relationships with terminating access networks and could host Netflix content in more locations to reduce distances that the content needed to travel to reach the requesting end user-thus enhancing both the consumer experience and network efficiency.  In 2008, Netflix entered into agreements for transit with Level 3 and CDN services with Limelight.  In 2009, Netflix entered into an agreement for CDN service with Akamai.

Starting in 2009, the CDN providers on which Netflix relied to distribute its content to Comcast's subscribers-Limelight and Akamai-were forced to pay arbitrary terminating access fees for additional capacity into Comcast's network.

The squeeze was on.  
Comcastic day
Comcast wants customers to have a "Comcastic" day -- aka, a fee-filled day.
[Image Source: cmorran123/Flickr]

By charging terminating fees to third "content delivery network" (CDN) providers like Akamai Technologies, Inc. (AKAM) and Limelight Networks, Inc. (LLNW) Comcast eyed either eliminating this undesirable who dared allow customers to make full use of the bandwidth speeds they were paying for.
II. Comcast Punishes Fee-Free Netflix Content Delivery Partners With Throttling
To be fair, Akamai and Limelight always had to pay Comcast fees of some level for connections.  While the increased rates seemed abusively correlated to Netflix's arrival, it could be dismissed as merely historic.  So Netflix turned to the natural alternative -- companies who had no-fee agreements with Comcast.  But it would soon find that Comcast wasn't afraid of resorting to more flagrant tactics to counter its "workaround".
internet cables
Netflix tried to circumvent Comcast's fee wall by cutting deals with fee free vendors.
[Image Source: VentureBurn]

In 2010 it partnered with Level 3 Communications, Inc. (LVLT) -- one such firm who had long-standing agreements with Comcast the precluded these connection fees.  Or so it thought.  It recalls:

Approximately one week after Netflix's agreement with Level 3 went into effect, Comcast, citing the traffic ratio in its peering policy, demanded payment from Level 3 for terminating traffic on its network (even though that traffic, like all traffic delivered to Comcast, was requested by Comcast's broadband subscribers, who pay Comcast to deliver it).

According to Level 3, this was "the first time [that Comcast demanded] a recurring fee from Level 3 to transmit Internet online movies and other content to Comcast' s customers who request such content."

After three days of heavy congestion at interconnection points between Comcast and Level 3's networks, Level 3 agreed to pay the requested fee for terminating traffic on Comcast's network.

Cogent Communications Inc. (CCOI) saw a fate similar to Level 3's in 2012.  Netflix recalls:

According to Cogent' s CEO, "[ t]or most of Cogent' s history with Comcast ...
[as] Comcast's subscribers demanded more content from Cogent's customers, Comcast would add capacity to the interconnection points with Cogent to handle that increased traffic."  After Cogent began carrying Netflix traffic, however, "Comcast refused to continue to augment capacity at our interconnection points as it had done for years prior.

Comcast slowlane
Comcast has been fighting for half a decade now to slow Netflix enough to force it to pay fees.
[Image Source: Mashable]

In other words, when Cogent and Level 3 -- two of the only CDNs that had contractual fee-free status with Comcast -- developed relationships with Netflix, Comcast skirted its commitments by simply congesting their networks to the point at which they dropped out of their deal with Netflix or agreed to pay "voluntary" fees to reduce the congestion.
III. No Way Out
Netflix tried to develop alternatives to CDNs -- even acting as a CDN itself.  It writes:

The threat of  new access fees being passed through to Netflix were making third-party CDNs a less certain option for Netflix and in early 2012, Netflix began to transition its traffic off of CDNs and onto transit providers with settlement-free routes into Comcast's network.  Netflix also was preparing to launch its own CDN, Open Connect, which would bear most of the burden of delivering traffic to terminating access networks' subscribers.  Netflix continues to invest significantly in Open Connect, an effort that has more than 100 million dollars in research, development, and deployment costs.

Comcast taunt
Netflix tried to wait Comcast out, but that approach proved impossible.
[Image Source: Viacom/Comedy Central/SouthPark Studios]

Netflix met with Comcast and tried to talk through the impasse.  It writes:

When Netflix approached Comcast regarding the lack of uncongested settlement-free routes available to its network, Comcast suggested that Netflix return to using CDNs, which Comcast could charge access fees that would then be passed on to Netflix, or use a Tier 1 network like AT&T which charged its own access fees.  Comcast made clear that Netflix would have to pay Comcast an access fee if Netflix wanted to directly connect with Comcast or use third-party CDNs. In essence, Comcast sought to meter Netflix traffic requested by Comcast's broadband subscribers. 

The streaming video provider tried to simply wait out Comcast, but that plan proved fruitless.  

IV. Comcast's Dark Victory

Comcast continued to turn up the heat on Netflix until finally it was ready to break down and pay fees.  Netflix recalls:

In December 2013 and January 2014, however, congestion on routes into
Comcast's network reached a critical threshold and Comcast's and Netflix's mutual customers were significantly harmed. Comcast subscribers went from viewing Netflix content at 720p on average (i.e., HD quality) to viewing content at nearly VHS quality. For many subscribers, the bitrate was so poor that Netflix's streaming video service became unusable.  

The degraded viewing quality for Comcast subscribers also resulted in a sharp increase in calls to Netflix customer support. Those calls made clear that Comcast was well aware of the degradation of Netflix traffic and was directing its subscribers to contact Netflix.  The fact that the height of the congestion occurred in December and January is significant. December is one of Netflix's busiest times because members spend more time at home over the holidays and therefore request more streaming video from Netflix and other OVDs.  It became clear that Comcast would continue to allow congestion across its network to negatively affect its subscribers' online video streaming experience.

VHS tapes
Comcast finally broke Netflix by reducing its service to "VHS-like quality". [Image Source: Cohesive Pieces]

That breaking point came when Comcast managed to reduce the quality of Netflix's service to "near VHS quality".  It writes of its decision to pay direct-access fees:

Despite purchasing transit on all available routes into Comcast's network that did not require direct or indirect payment of an access fee to Comcast, the viewing quality of Netflix's service reached near-VHS quality levels.

Faced with such severe degradation of its streaming video service, Netflix began to negotiate for paid access to connect with Comcast.  Netflix and Comcast eventually reached a paid agreement.  Within a week of that agreement, viewing quality for Netflix streaming video on Comcast's network shot back up to HD-quality levels.

Netflix implicated this successful shakedown for subsequent direct-access fee arrangements forced by Time Warner Cable, Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ), and AT&T, Inc. (T).  After watching Comcast's play calling, these rivals had a readymade playbook to squeeze Netflix for fees.
In perhaps its most interesting note, Netflix compares its hard bitrate data between Comcast and a smaller -- but less abusive -- internet service provider (ISP), Cablevision Systems Corp. (CVC).  

Netflix says that if Comcast and Time Warner are merged, it will create a single dominant entity that will be capable of not only endangering online video firms with fees, but also other forms of "edge content" such as online gaming services.
In the end the consumers pay for these tactics, as streaming services are forced to charge subscribers higher rates to keep up with the relentless fees levied on the ISP side.

Source: FCC

Comments     Threshold

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By Motoman on 9/1/2014 7:50:51 PM , Rating: 5
Net Neutrality.


Anyone who is so catastrophically stupid as to defend Comcast's actions here, please go kill yourself. The gene pool will become much clearer.

RE: Morons
By amanojaku on 9/1/2014 9:03:13 PM , Rating: 2
The scary part is that none of this is new. This issue has been reported as far back as 2010, from OTHER access providers.

It turns out that before Netflix paid Comcast, it was indirectly paying Comcast through Akamai. When Netflix established a direct connection to Comcast, the money from Akamai was lost. In fact, by creating its own CDN at Tier 1 networks that provide Comcast with transit, Netflix put Comcast in a position where Comcast could end up paying Tier 1 providers for customer's access to Netflix.

Of course, this is all Comcast's fault for throttling, but let's not quibble over petty details, right? Fortunately for Comcast, there was a solution:
If Level 3 turned off Comcast for refusing to pay their contractually obligated transit bills, the traffic would be forced through massively congested Tata transit ports, and a huge number of Level 3's customers would take their business elsewhere as a result. If Comcast intentionally congests its transit providers and provides terrible service to its end users, which it has been doing for several months now, most of those users have no real alternatives to switch to. t-level-3-and-you/

RE: Morons
By Motoman on 9/1/2014 9:06:00 PM , Rating: 5
The problem is that it's legal at all. Regardless of where the throttling is happening.

Either treat all internet data equally, or don't be in the internet business. Period.

RE: Morons
By amanojaku on 9/1/2014 9:29:12 PM , Rating: 5
Wake up, man. This is America - if you want legal protection you have to buy it. Just like Comcast.

RE: Morons
By MrBlastman on 9/2/2014 2:35:27 PM , Rating: 5
There are times where I think that America is so screwed the only solution is to pull the ejection handle and move to an island in the Pacific somewhere.

It's a sad day that I've come to a conclusion like this.

RE: Morons
By amanojaku on 9/2/2014 5:36:09 PM , Rating: 2
Fuck that, this is my home. I'm not going to let it be taken over by corruption. Our democratic process is broken, but it IS fixable.

Then again, how are the ta ta's on those hula girls?

RE: Morons
By Motoman on 9/2/2014 5:37:15 PM , Rating: 2
Our democratic process is broken, but it IS fixable.

Oh? What makes you think that?

RE: Morons
By MikeMurphy on 9/7/2014 3:49:47 PM , Rating: 2
Problems don't get fixed in America because private interest groups don't want them fixed. It's become such a real problem that everyone on these forums is actually concerned that they will get away with this. That's what this has come to.

The real tragedy is such a great country being slowly "chipped away" by the endless flow of private interest money into public office.

RE: Morons
By TheEinstein on 9/1/2014 9:34:26 PM , Rating: 5
The problem is the Net Neutrality proposed by Obama Administration is biased politically. There is no way we can get an unbiased version until he is out.

RE: Morons
By Motoman on 9/1/2014 9:39:53 PM , Rating: 5
The problem with all politics is that it's all invalid...always.

I don't care who does it. We just need real Net Neutrality. And we need it a couple decades ago.

RE: Morons
By Solandri on 9/2/2014 1:19:10 PM , Rating: 3
It's a bit more complex than that. If there were competition among ISPs, we wouldn't need net neutrality. If Comcast tried to pull this garbage in an area where people could also subscribe to (say) Cox, all their customers who experienced poor Netflix would drop them and sign up with Cox.

But because most ISPs are government-granted cable monopolies (DSL speeds are no longer competitive), they can get away with crap like this. And we need net neutrality to prevent this behavior.

RE: Morons
By jRaskell on 9/3/2014 9:47:01 AM , Rating: 2
But because most ISPs are government-granted cable monopolies

This is the real problem here. Cable companies aren't operating in a free market environment, so treating them like free market companies is a complete and utter failure.

What we need is to address this real problem. Net Neutrality is just an attempt to put a bandaid on it.

RE: Morons
By Motoman on 9/3/2014 10:37:03 AM , Rating: 2
We do, absolutely, need actual competition between ISPs. All the artificial monopolies and rare duopolies need to be destroyed.

However, an open market doesn't guarantee that the available options still won't be abusive. Realistically, you'd never have more than a handful of options in any given market, based just on the need to deploy and manage infrastructure. And if that handful all decide to throttle non-paying content're still screwed.

This market needs to be free and to have reasonable regulations. Net neutrality isn't some whacked-out theory - it's lowest-common-denominator common sense.

RE: Morons
By DT_Reader on 9/2/2014 12:45:38 PM , Rating: 4
It's not legal. If you or I did it, they'd call it extortion and throw us in jail. "Corporations are people, my friend" - people with immunity from prosecution, apparently.

RE: Morons
By mushkins on 9/2/2014 1:47:39 PM , Rating: 2
Reminds me of when I called Verizon last because we were trying to port a phone number from their service to our PRI. Our HR director was the authorized agent on the account from forever ago, so I asked them to change it.

They told me they needed a *specific person* to be the authorized agent on the account, and that person would be *legally and financially liable* for the account.

I asked them why our *incorporated company* would not be the one legally liable, and what would happen if that person left the company. They said that didn't make any sense, and they couldn't do it. Someone had to be liable.

I asked "but that's specifically why the legal body of a corporation was created, so the business could be legally liable for the business, not the guy who left 45 years ago who originally made the account. Why isnt the corporation the liable body here?"

Nothing but silence.

RE: Morons
By Dr. Kenneth Noisewater on 9/1/2014 11:58:51 PM , Rating: 5
I'd rather have competition, frankly.

Revoke all local options for monopolies, and force all municipalities to offer equal access to infrastructure and fair and equal costs for fees, permits, licenses, etc. No squeezing them for gimmes (like free recreational centers, low-cost broadband, anti-cherrypicking, etc), just a wide open and fair market.

In a world where every town of 5000 or greater has 3 or more high-speed providers vying for their custom, there's no need for net neutrality. Networks will become fast, dumb and cheap, which is all any customer wants.

RE: Morons
By SeeManRun on 9/2/2014 12:55:09 AM , Rating: 4
What if they don't compete? What if they just keep their prices the same and they all get about 1/3 of the pie. If they don't need to grow, that is perfectly acceptable. Like gas stations or most major cell companies.

RE: Morons
By tayb on 9/2/2014 10:01:04 AM , Rating: 3
There is no need to choose between the two. Comcast, Time Warner Cable, AT&T, and Verizon should be shattered into a million little pieces. Then Congress should pass strong net neutrality laws.

Problem solved until AT&T rebuilds itself and needs to be shattered into a million little pieces again.

RE: Morons
By Motoman on 9/3/2014 10:39:26 AM , Rating: 2
Competition doesn't guarantee good behavior. There's no reason to think that if you had a pure free market in a given area, that all the ISPs wouldn't just decide to require content providers to pay fees to use their networks.

The market needs to be free, but reasonable regulations need to be in place too. Like net neutrality.

RE: Morons
By inperfectdarkness on 9/2/2014 2:46:07 AM , Rating: 2
And the sad thing is, Net-Neutrality was the ONE thing that I thought....hmmm, this might actually be the one truly bright outcome to the current administration.

Then Obama nominated Tom Wheeler.

Folks, we can't even get the most basic, simple things right at home. There's no point in arguing about international policy; we can't even correctly handle what is the political equivalent of not putting diesel in a gasoline car.

Even more depressing? More Americans are pissed about Ferguson than about Net-Neutrality. I don't want to live on this planet anymore.

RE: Morons
By jayare on 9/2/2014 10:36:54 AM , Rating: 2
People are pissed about Ferguson because a young man is dead. Net neutrality is important, but please, keep some perspective.

RE: Morons
By Dr of crap on 9/2/2014 12:36:44 PM , Rating: 3
Yep someone got shot.
Now WHY would others, not involved in the it, go and DESTROY others peoples property for the shooting???

I can be upset about it and NOT burn stuff or loot businesses!

RE: Morons
By SPOOFE on 9/2/2014 12:47:26 PM , Rating: 2
An insignificant number of people upset in or because of Ferguson have engaged in looting.

RE: Morons
By inperfectdarkness on 9/2/2014 4:08:45 PM , Rating: 2
Really? One teenage thug dies under questionable circumstances, and that's somehow more important than an unscrupulous business practice that's been costing MILLIONS of Americans money and frustration/anguish/pain/suffering?

Next thing you'll tell us is that Bernie Madoff deserves a shorter prison sentence than someone who committed 3rd degree manslaughter.

RE: Morons
By FITCamaro on 9/2/2014 4:38:23 PM , Rating: 1
I'm not pissed about Ferguson because a kid with a criminal past got shot. I'm pissed about Ferguson because once again the media attempted to distract people with cries of racism and drummed up that narrative which encited mass rioting resulting in massive property destruction from people not even involved in the shooting. Because once again a local matter was turned into national news. And our current administration went right along with it. To the point that it cared more about this kid than what's happening in Israel and Iraq right now. When an administration cares more about sending personnel to a thug kid's funeral, who might or might not have been wrongly shot, than to a 3 star general who was murdered along with others in a warzone, something is wrong.

RE: Morons
By inperfectdarkness on 9/4/2014 5:06:04 AM , Rating: 2
Major General (2-star) but your point is valid. Margret Thatcher's funeral was also not as important to this administration.

I completely agree about the media causing the issue. Within 2 days of the Ferguson incident, a white male of the same age & with an equally "shady" past was gunned down by a black police officer...and that didn't make it past local news.

If there's one thing I have learned from American media, it's that the only black people that matter are the young men who are "murdered" by someone who isn't black; and the only women who matter are attractive white ones who have gone missing. If you're a missing black woman or a white male who gets shot by someone who isn't white....may god have mercy on your soul.

RE: Morons
By TSS on 9/2/14, Rating: -1
RE: Morons
By amanojaku on 9/2/2014 8:47:58 AM , Rating: 3
You must not live in the US. There is no other cable provider, that's the way it works here. Utilities are government-granted monopolies. In general, there is only one phone provider, one cable provider, and one fibre provider for any given region. If you're lucky you have fibre as an option (most don't). If you're unlucky you get satellite as an option (or worse, your only choice). For most people there are two alternatives: one cable provider and one DSL provider. In New York the Time Warner Cable/Verizon duopoly has led to prices that are 15% higher than they were two years ago. That's the "free" market for you.

RE: Morons
By FITCamaro on 9/2/2014 10:15:56 AM , Rating: 2
Hence why I believe in small government. The government has no authority to grant such monopolies. So they should be ended. Asking the government to fix what the government created is foolish.

RE: Morons
By MikeMurphy on 9/7/2014 4:09:43 PM , Rating: 2
"Free market" thinkers such as yourself have absolutely no idea of the endless opportunities to use anti-competitive measures to abuse the market and gain advantages. Business is not some fair utopia in the absence of regulation, no matter what industry. Regulation is necessary.

The real problem is private interest money flowing into the pockets of those regulating, creating an obvious conflict of interest.

RE: Morons
By FITCamaro on 9/2/2014 10:10:46 AM , Rating: 2
Well I would debate, but anyone who believes that those who disagree with them should go kill themselves is not a rational person open to any kind of such logical debate.

RE: Morons
By tayb on 9/2/2014 10:52:03 AM , Rating: 1
People who truthfully disagree with net neutrality are so seriously deluded and pumped full of propaganda that their opinions are irrelevant anyway.

RE: Morons
By FITCamaro on 9/2/2014 11:10:37 AM , Rating: 1
I don't disagree with net neutrality.

I do disagree with the iron fist of government being used to tell private companies how to run their businesses when they aren't breaking any law or causing anyone harm (and I'm talking actual harm).

I think for this case, Comcast is in the wrong because they are selling a service that they claim is open but then outside the terms of those agreements, are restricting things. If they want to sell a tiered service to content providers like Netflix, they should do so. Not sell supposedly the same thing to all and then behind the scenes hurt a customer like Netflix by throttling things on the end user side.

But I don't believe they are wrong to want to sell a tiered service because they are legally allowed to and they're not actually hurting anyone in doing so(stifling potential start ups, yes). Now I don't want them to sell a tiered service, but what I want and what they're allowed to do are two different things. Again, get rid of the mandated monopolies.

RE: Morons
By tayb on 9/2/2014 1:05:09 PM , Rating: 2
The fact that you even make this statement tells me all that I need to know about where you are getting your nonsense information.

I do disagree with the iron fist of government being used to tell private companies how to run their businesses when they aren't breaking any law or causing anyone harm

Net neutrality has nothing to do with anyone telling anyone else how they can run their business. The fact that you don't understand this basic principle of net neutrality is all the information I need to exit this discussion completely. As I said before, there is no sane discussion to be had with someone who actually believes net neutrality is somehow bad. The only way to have that belief is to be pumped full of nonsense and propaganda, which you just demonstrated in four short paragraphs.

RE: Morons
By FITCamaro on 9/2/2014 4:34:17 PM , Rating: 2
Net neutrality is the idea that all network traffic should be treated equally. The only way to ensure that always happens is through legislation that makes it illegal to do otherwise. In other words, use the government to stop me from running my business how I choose because you think what I'm doing is unfair, immoral, or don't like it for some other reason.

The fact that you can't grasp that concept tells me all I need to know about your ability to reason things out.

And as I've stated multiple times, I do agree with with the idea of net neutrality. There's just no way to have it without legislation in today's market where government mandates allow a single company to have complete reign over a service area.

RE: Morons
By DocScience on 9/2/2014 1:09:48 PM , Rating: 1
Comcast can do what they want with their own network.

If Netflix wants a better deal, they can build their own network to the consumers.

RE: Morons
By Solandri on 9/2/2014 1:24:36 PM , Rating: 3
Comcast can do what they want with their own network.

If Comcast had competition, then I wouldn't see any problem with them doing what they want with their own network.

But Comcast has a government-granted monopoly. Its customers are a captive audience, and market forces no longer apply. The only solution then is to open it up to competition, or to add regulations (e.g. net neutrality) to what the government-granted monopoly is allowed to do.

You cannot simultaneously ask the government to grant you a monopoly, but also leave you alone to run your business as you wish. You have to pick one or the other.

RE: Morons
By ritualm on 9/2/2014 4:46:40 PM , Rating: 2
Comcast can do what they want with their own network.

Or to put this another way, AT&T should be allowed to keep its monopoly - and its anti-consumer tactics - and everyone else should just suck it up.

Your reputation has just flatlined.

RE: Morons
By MikeMurphy on 9/7/2014 4:11:40 PM , Rating: 2
What if they aren't allowed to build their own network?

RE: Morons
By EricMartello on 9/2/2014 4:33:00 PM , Rating: 3
If you own a network infrastructure and want to prioritize traffic, fine, but if you own a network infrastructure which you then lease out acting as a service provider then you should be required to cease any kind of traffic shaping or throttling (other than taking actions to deal with attacks on the network like the ever-popular ddos or other such issues).

I'd also like this neutrality extended to include content privacy. I don't like spam, but I sure as hell don't want my ISP deciding what is spam and what is not - I'll filter my own email using my own software.

I don't need my ISP snooping on my traffic to decided if I "may be sharing a copyrighted file". Unless there is a court order and/or warrant out naming a specific user, there should be no logging of user activity. This bulk data collection nonsense along with compliance with bogus entities like the MPAA and RIAA needs to end.

You know what would really put the brakes on comcast and other ISPs that have gotten too full of themselves? If people in local communities would establish their own nodes and buy network bandwidth directly from tier-1 providers, then wire up local homes via ethernet.

A 1 Gbps burstable ethernet connection from a tier-1 provider including a C block of IPs would probably be in the ballpark of $4,000 per month depending on location. Wire up 100 homes at a rate of $75 per month and you have enough to cover the cost of the bandwidth plus upkeep. They could be provisioned at 50 Mbps symmetrical and the net would generally be more than able to handle the average consumer load, but if necessary, more bandwidth could be added to ensure smooth operation. The side-benefit of this approach would be that if more nodes like this existed, high speed PTP connections would fall in price and we could basically eliminate the ISP monopoly. You'd also be able to enjoy internet without being roped into stupid tv/phone bundles.

It could also be possible to provide high speed net service to remote locations using microwave rx/tx towers. Line of site would be required, but the speed of a microwave signal thru air is actually faster than the signal of electricity thru copper.

RE: Morons
By FITCamaro on 9/2/2014 4:41:30 PM , Rating: 2
Except the massive ISPs have taken municipalities to court successfully for trying to provide their own ISP because it violates the legal monopolies they were granted. As I've said repeatedly, until those are done away with, no real progress will be made.

RE: Morons
By EricMartello on 9/3/2014 3:28:39 AM , Rating: 2
Except the massive ISPs have taken municipalities to court successfully for trying to provide their own ISP because it violates the legal monopolies they were granted. As I've said repeatedly, until those are done away with, no real progress will be made.

I was not suggesting municipal internet paid for by local taxes, rather something like neighborhood nodes set up as something like a trust or homeowners' association, in that the paying members each have fractional ownership of the bandwidth.

Peer to Peer model
By Philippine Mango on 9/1/2014 9:16:31 PM , Rating: 4
Has netflix considered a Peer to peer model to skirt around these sorts of issues?

RE: Peer to Peer model
By LOL Here We Go Again on 9/1/2014 11:30:01 PM , Rating: 2
The data would still be coming from Netflix, so the ISPs could still slow the connections down.

RE: Peer to Peer model
By The Von Matrices on 9/2/2014 3:28:08 AM , Rating: 2
There would be very little data coming from the source; conceivably only one copy ever needs to be uploaded from the source to the peers. It would be difficult to control because Comcast would have to restrict data coming from other Comcast customers.

However, a legal peer to peer network will never happen because peer to peer networks provide no control to the distributor over who has access to the content. Producers want to control who distributes and views their content (to ensure that they get paid). In a peer to peer network, you can't stop peers from distributing data and such a payment scheme breaks down.

In addition, if peers were still distributing content even when the distributor (e.g. Netflix) lost its license to distribute that content, this would not only result in lost revenue for the producers but legal issues for the distributors.

RE: Peer to Peer model
By Just Tom on 9/2/2014 9:57:51 AM , Rating: 2
Of course you could restrict peers from distributing content to non-authorized peers. Both the content and the peers themselves would just need to be authorized periodically.

RE: Peer to Peer model
By sorry dog on 9/2/2014 3:18:59 PM , Rating: 2
I think Comcast could stiff sniff out the P2P netflix traffic, but it would make it harder on them. In the end all P2P traffic would suffer. I notice some of P2P traffic already smelling it's throttled.

I have their "Blast service" which I think is 30/5, and from 7-11 at night it is usually much better to wait five minutes for a torrent to finish than to try to use the majority of streaming services. I use Dish online a lot which aggregates several streaming services and you can tell the ones who haven't paid the data hostage ransoms like HBO...lots of buffering.

RE: Peer to Peer model
By amanojaku on 9/2/2014 3:29:04 PM , Rating: 2
No, because the content providers are allergic to P2P. They classify it as piracy, and Netflix would lose access to content.

Most hated company for a reason
By djdjohnson on 9/1/2014 9:05:17 PM , Rating: 2
Yep, Comcast is the most hated company in the US for a reason. Stuff like this.

I'm only with them because they're the only ISP that offers speeds greater than 2 Mbps where I live. But boy do I hate them. Between increasingly slower and slower (and more inconsistent) speeds at higher and higher plan rates, and going down multiple times per day, I so wish there was another option where I live. And I'm paying $100/month for the privilege (just for 20/6 Internet, no cable or phone).

Evil company.

If they want to merge with Time Warner the government ought to (a) require that the combined company open up their network so other ISPs can use their infrastructure for a nominal fee, or (b) require Comcast to lobby for the right for competitors to move in on its turf in its service areas. In most areas they are either a monopoly, or effectively a monopoly, and they know it and act like it.

I'm not normally a fan of regulation, but Internet access is more-or-less a utility now, and in most areas consumers don't have any real choice as to where they get it. So it ought to be treated like a utility.

RE: Most hated company for a reason
By djdjohnson on 9/1/2014 9:06:04 PM , Rating: 2
I failed to mention that other video services are affected now. Vudu is completely unwatchable in my area, even at SD resolutions. Looks like they've got a new target.

RE: Most hated company for a reason
By hpglow on 9/2/2014 12:40:55 AM , Rating: 2
Vudu is owned almost completely by the MPAA. So I would be surprised if they would get throttled. Specifically by Comcast who owns a studio. Speaking of something that should be illegal. How can you have your customers best interests in mind when it is in your own best interest to throttle your competition?

RE: Most hated company for a reason
By Just Tom on 9/2/2014 9:54:11 AM , Rating: 2
VUDU is owned by Walmart.

RE: Most hated company for a reason
By M'n'M on 9/3/2014 2:02:09 AM , Rating: 2
Interesting ! WalMart is 2x to 3x the size of Comcast by measure of revenue or profits. WM should say "jump" and Comcrap should say "how far". I wonder if WM is willing to pull on that chain ? To date nothing in their history has said otherwise.

By Motoman on 9/1/2014 9:08:33 PM , Rating: 2
At this point the only way the internet service industry is going to be rationalized is if broadband internet service gets put in the same class as landline telephones and electricity.

Destroy the massive monopolies, regulate and require service, and let it work the same way landline phone service does. Actually have competition that the consumer can choose between, where the companies actually have to compete against each other, and where actual market forces can influence price and quality.

By LOL Here We Go Again on 9/1/2014 11:28:03 PM , Rating: 2
Blackmail is illegal. Period. End of discussion. If the companies are charging their subscribers for a specific amount of bandwidth, but then denying them the use of that bandwidth in whatever legal means the consumer desires to use it, and telling its customers that the problem was on the Netflix end, when the reality was that they were purposely and intentionally slowing down the Netflix traffic drastically, that is blackmail and fraud.

And no company should be allowed to blackmail another to make more money. And that is exactly what seems to have happened here.

By FITCamaro on 9/2/2014 10:29:47 AM , Rating: 2
They didn't blackmail. They legally controlled their network how they see fit. I don't agree with it, but I also don't agree with telling them what to do.

Again. Take away the government mandated monopolies. Otherwise nothing will ever change. Those of you who think the government can leave them in place and just legislate away the problems are kidding yourselves. That's exactly what a company like Comcast wants. To be left with the monopolies while Congress pretends to do something.

By FITCamaro on 9/2/2014 10:30:33 AM , Rating: 2
Or in the case of this administration which acts like Congress doesn't exist, an executive agency.

By sorry dog on 9/2/2014 3:28:29 PM , Rating: 2
It's been proven well over a hundred years ago that Monopolies without regulation are not in the public's interest and we got things like the Clayton and Sherman Act. Now it's important to realize that some services needed by society will naturally encourage monopolies. One of the biggest is national defense. It doesn't work so great to have competing armies even if the microeconomics of it suggest more efficient capital allocation. Due to the large investments needed in infrastructure, internet service is one of types of services where capital allocation is cheaper if there is only one provider... yet at this point you no longer have market forces giving incentive to improve that allocation. Artificial incentive may be less effective than competitive incentives, but are better than none at all.

By FITCamaro on 9/2/2014 4:49:31 PM , Rating: 2
If one wants to build out that infrastructure, they should be allowed to. Not told "sorry but what you want to do is too expensive so we're not going to let you pay for it". AT&T was already in my parents neighborhood for phones but in recent years paid to dig up all the streets and lay fiber for U-verse. Now the residents there have both Brighthouse and AT&T for a real option for high speed internet service. Anyone else who wants to do so should be able to as well. Yes it was inconvenient. But that can be solved too. Have a physical pipe that holds all data lines with enough room for plenty more. That way new companies can just pull their lines through without ripping up streets.

And honestly in my opinion, if a single company consolidates the market on something but still does a good job at it and doesn't abuse their position, I see no reason to break them up. Look at Google. Should they be broken up when they provide high quality services at little to no cost to consumers and very reasonable rates to content providers wishing to access their services? I don't believe so. They're not perfect either. But no one is. Often times they're doing what the government is ordering them to do. Because if they don't they're out of business. That's what we need to fix.

By LOL Here We Go Again on 9/1/2014 11:31:55 PM , Rating: 2
Blackmail is illegal. Period. End of discussion. If the companies are charging their subscribers for a specific amount of bandwidth, but then denying them the use of that bandwidth in whatever legal means the consumer desires to use it, and telling its customers that the problem was on the Netflix end, when the reality was that they were purposely and intentionally slowing down the Netflix traffic drastically, that is blackmail and fraud.

And no company should be allowed to blackmail another to make more money. And that is exactly what seems to have happened here.

By Dickfogger on 9/2/2014 2:26:18 AM , Rating: 2
FCC and FTC have to look into these an unlawful and anti-competitive practices. ISPs in the US are already charging customers way too much $ for their service. Granted that media contents require bandwidth that taxes their network to the max and so it deserves a little more premium, yet the average customers who just want to have internet access end up paying more than a fair share.
What Comcast has done is absolutely intolerable and despicable. Customers now face a very limited range of options, either go with cable companies or telcos, neither of which are saints.
With the advent in technology, the poor and the elderly rely more and more on connectivity but lack the resources to make it a fair fight. The Federal Lifeline has recognized this importance to allow cell phone as the altenative to land line, an action worth the applause. However, the Feds needs to seriously consider basic internet as a necessity for the these people also. The first action is to mandate the basic rate down to $18-$20 range. Then subsidy can always kick in to help.

By BifurcatedBoat on 9/2/2014 7:21:04 PM , Rating: 2
Leave Comcast free to make whatever awful policies they want, but make it so easy for competition to enter the market that they go out of business.

At least it was done on purpose
By GatoRat on 9/3/2014 1:41:46 PM , Rating: 2
While Centurylink's issues with Netflix appear to be pure incompetence.

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