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A frustrated Netflix won't back down from telling customers what it observes

Ever since net neutrality rules were struck down in court early this year, instances of apparent throttling have been on the rise.  Comcast Corp. (CMCSA) -- the nation's largest cable internet provider -- was the first to capitalize on the newly unregulated landscape.  It began throttling Netflix, Inc. (NFLX) subscribers, but agreed to stop after Netflix agreed to pay it a special fee for extra bandwidth.

In the months since, Verizon Communications Inc.'s (VZ) FiOS and AT&T Inc.'s (T) Uverse customers have also seen suspicious slowdowns in Netflix video.  The ISPs claim their networks are just experiencing natural lags and perhaps a bit of congestion at peak hours in urban areas.

Verizon and Netflix reached a "paid peering" deal, similar to the one Netflix made with Comcast, at the end of April.  And yet, despite agreeing to this double dipping, customers and Netflix  are indicating that speeds are still looking suspiciously slow for many users, a possible indictation of throttling.

Having already paid and raised its rates, Netflix was almost out of options, so it turned to a bold approach -- putting warnings for AT&T and Verizon customers, calling out the ISP by name and warning that their network was detected as "congested".

Verizon throttling message

The new approach created quite a stir.  Verizon has now threatened to sue Netflix, sending it a cease and desist letter.  In the letter Verizon calls the claims in Netflix's message "deceptive" and  "false", blaming the slowdown on Netflix.  Verizon writes:

In light of this, Verizon demands that Netflix immediately cease and desist from providing any such further 'notices' to users of the Verizon network... We further demand, that within five days … Netflix provide Verizon with any and all evidence and documentation that it possesses substantiating Netflix's assertion to Mr. Yuri Victor that his experience in viewing a Netflix video was solely attributable to the Verizon network.

Here's a full copy of the letter:

Letter to David Hyman by Brian Fung



Netflix fired back, saying that it was OK with giving Verizon its data showing the slowdown was on the service provider side, but that it won't be stopping the messages.  Netflix spokesperson Joris Evers writes The Washington Post in an email:

This is about consumers not getting what they paid for from their broadband provider.  We are trying to provide more transparency, just like we do with ISP Speed Index, and Verizon is trying to shut down that discussion.

In a statement to Quartz, Netflix elaborates further, writing:

This is about consumers not getting what they paid for from their broadband provider. We are trying to provide more transparency, just like we do with the Netflix ISP Speed Index, and Verizon is trying to shut down that discussion.

We are testing ways to let consumers know how their Netflix experience is being affected by congestion on their broadband provider’s network. At present, we are testing in the U.S. in areas serviced by many broadband providers. This test started in early May and it is ongoing.

Our test continues.

Now that Netflix has called Verizon's bluff, it should be interesting to see if Verizon files a lawsuit over the warnings, or backs down.  Either way, it's going to be increasingly tough for companies like Netflix and Google Inc. (GOOG) (owner of YouTube) to provide free or affordable streaming video services, as internet service providers are look to increaase their profits with offerings of their own.  As America has so few internet service providers and as these providers can throttle at will, warning customers directly is probably the only real recourse a company like Netflix has.

And if the courts silence those warnings, American customers will have to deal with the consequences without even possibly being aware of them.

Sources: Verizon to Netflix via Scribd, The Washington Post, Quartz



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AHAHAHA
By Reclaimer77 on 6/6/2014 12:16:01 PM , Rating: 5
Go Netflix! That's awesome.

Not "the network is slow". Not "we're experiencing difficulties".

It's "VERIZON'S slow ass network, the one you pay tons of money for, is screwing up your entertainment fyi!"

AHAHAH love it.




RE: AHAHAHA
By Falacer on 6/6/2014 12:20:45 PM , Rating: 5
Love Netflix and hope they stick to their guns on this!


RE: AHAHAHA
By Mitch101 on 6/6/2014 2:28:32 PM , Rating: 5
Stands up and claps for Netflix.


RE: AHAHAHA
By ClownPuncher on 6/6/2014 3:49:13 PM , Rating: 3
Yea, I'm resubbing.


RE: AHAHAHA
By Chadder007 on 6/6/2014 12:50:41 PM , Rating: 5
Netflix should have never started paying off Comcast and Verizon for faster access speeds on their networks in the first place. It has set a bad precedent.


RE: AHAHAHA
By amanojaku on 6/6/2014 1:32:24 PM , Rating: 1
I disagree. It was an excellent PR move. It shows that Netflix is willing to sacrifice some of its profits in order to keep customers happy, while attempting to find middle ground with access providers. And it got screwed, anyway. Netflix shouldn't have to do this as the providers are double-dipping, stealing money from content providers just because of their popularity.

It's a real shame, too, because I wanted to dump Time Warner in favor of Verizon. I may have to anyway if the Comcast deal goes through, but I would just be trading bad for slightly better at that point. That's the price we pay for government-granted monopolies. We didn't think the Internet would suck this bad back in the 90's, but we had competition then.


RE: AHAHAHA
By inighthawki on 6/6/2014 1:51:18 PM , Rating: 3
I feel the opposite. My impression of Netflix after doing so was that they gave up and gave in to ridiculous demands (granted because their hand was likely forced). I would have far more respect for Netflix if they had not accepted the deal.

When customers called and complained about their QOS, Netflix should have informed their users that their ISP was at fault, and then customers would complain to Verizon or Comcast instead.

The deal Netflix made only masks the problems from oblivious customers, instead of giving them the right information to make the proper informed decisions and complaints.


RE: AHAHAHA
By Spuke on 6/6/2014 2:03:50 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
When customers called and complained about their QOS, Netflix should have informed their users that their ISP was at fault, and then customers would complain to Verizon or Comcast instead.
No Netflix would've gotten crapped on because your average person would only see Netflix as being the problem because "everything else works fine". They HAD to pay up and make that public so their customers would blame their ISPs instead.


RE: AHAHAHA
By amanojaku on 6/6/2014 2:54:24 PM , Rating: 2
^This. The average person is not a tech, and would not be able to diagnose a throttling issue using ping, traceroute, etc...

Meanwhile, here's an example of a GOOD ISP:

Sonic.net CEO: Tiered Pricing ‘Doesn’t Make Sense’
ISP Preps Flat-Rate $40 1-Gig/Voice Combo In California

http://multichannel.com/news/broadband/sonicnet-ce...


RE: AHAHAHA
By JasonMick (blog) on 6/6/2014 3:14:07 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
Meanwhile, here's an example of a GOOD ISP:

Sonic.net CEO: Tiered Pricing ‘Doesn’t Make Sense’
ISP Preps Flat-Rate $40 1-Gig/Voice Combo In California
True that. I've been pretty happy with Wide Open West's (WOW!) offerings. They often have these infomercials explaining the anticompetitive tactics used by the "big cable companies".

It's a catch-22 as I admit the commercials come off as kind of preachy or pedantic, but they are a good way to inform customers of these issues plaguing America's relatively noncompetitive telecommunications market. For example, I wasn't fully aware of all the bundling issues with channels prior to the WOW! infommercials.

Given how few players there are in America's market, it's interesting to see how the big guys are teaming up and colluding to try to stomp out anyone who tries to offer better quality service or better prices.

I had Comcast -- horrible experience. This was back around 2009 or 2010, but even back then they seemed to punish Netflix users. Lots of throttling ... "congestion" ... in my region, even though I didn't fileshare. I did use a fair amount of Netflix or YouTube, but that was the only reason I could figure out why Comcast was failing to deliver the advertised speeds I had paid for. I even called to complain and was routed to some call center in India or the Philippines. Horrible customer service.

And the service people were relatively rude and clueless and took forever to do simple installation. Top it off with the Xfinity UI on their settop box being next to unusable and the whole experience would be bad if it was at a budget price.

Well, it was at a budget price at first, but then after a year of this garbage they added insult to injury by trying to triple my price from $15 to $45 for JUST the internet alone, plus even more for cable... at that point I said "F...U..." to Comcast and haven't looked back since, even though they keep mailing me fliers advertising that dishonest come-on rate.

Yea right, Comcast, I've seen the c--p you call service...

(Granted I've heard people in other regions having slightly better experiences, but in my region I've heard similar stories from family members and close friends.)


RE: AHAHAHA
By Motoman on 6/6/2014 3:33:27 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
...but that was the only reason I could figure out why Comcast was failing to deliver the advertised speeds I had paid for.


That's because the "advertised speeds" are total BS to begin with. Because they're advertised as "up to" speeds...there is no assurance provided (although it's definitely implied) that you'll ever see those kinds of speeds.

If we had any brains in our heads, ISPs would be required by law to advertise their services at a *minimum* speed - that they guarantee. A 50mbps service that actually gives the user 10mbps during typical usage is not a 50mbps service...and it should be illegal to advertise it as such.


RE: AHAHAHA
By amanojaku on 6/6/2014 3:47:41 PM , Rating: 3
The advertised speeds are not BS because they are "up to" a certain amount. The phrasing makes sense in that the ISP can only guarantee your speeds from your modem, through its network, and to its peering points (as well as the other way around). Once your data leaves the ISP there are no guarantees, and that is where the "up to" comes from.

The problem is, ISPs have only given us the guaranteed speeds from our modems to the local distribution facility. The ISP network is often unable to support 100% of the load that customers were sold. If I sell 10 people 10Mbit service each, my network needs to be 100Mbits to all peering points. In most cases, it's less than that. ISPs never thought people would use the bandwidth they were sold, and when people did they were all considered to be pirates (most of them were back then). Today, everyone uses lots of bandwidth legitimately. The ISPs moved to slowly to grow their networks, and now the consumers suffer with lower than advertised speeds, higher service costs, and rented equipment. This was unthinkable years ago.


RE: AHAHAHA
By Motoman on 6/6/2014 4:33:37 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Once your data leaves the ISP there are no guarantees, and that is where the "up to" comes from.


The data doesn't "leave" the ISP until it comes out the end of the modem in your house.

At any rate, you're just arguing around in a circle. WHATEVER the various circumstances are, the only logical manner in which to advertise and sell internet services that doesn't abuse the consumer is to advertise minimum speeds. Because "maximum" speeds *are* pure BS. And nothing you say is going to change that. And if the best that Comcast can guarantee in a given area is a 512Kbps speed as the lowest it would ever get, then that's what they should advertise. Period. Because then if magically there was a competing service available at a given address (which is almost impossible, but just for fun...) that advertised a *minimum* of 1Mbps, you knew, for a fact, that one service was better than the other. Right now if Comcast says their service is "up to 50Mbps" and Cox is "up to 90Mbps" but both of them *actually* provide service at 10Mbps...there is no difference. But consumers would easily be conned into buying the Cox service under the assumption that it's better. When it's not.


RE: AHAHAHA
By amanojaku on 6/6/2014 6:04:54 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
WHATEVER the various circumstances are, the only logical manner in which to advertise and sell internet services that doesn't abuse the consumer is to advertise minimum speeds. Because "maximum" speeds *are* pure BS.
No, no, no. If you advertise a minimum, then that is a guarantee. People will EXPECT that minimum and no less, and they will complain when they don't get it. That's why maximums are advertised. It is the only legal way to promote the capabilities clearly and truthfully.

Again, the UP TO means the throughput through the network from your modem to a peering point. The ISP doesn't control your home network, nor does it control peers. All it can do is advertise how much of its internal bandwidth is potentially allocated to you.

Don't believe me? Back in 1999, I worked for an ISP that offered SDSL. A client with 512/512 calls in to complain that his line is slow. So I run some BERT tests and get nothing. The line is pristine. So I ask him what it is he's trying to do that isn't working. Maybe it's at a peer site and I can call them to troubleshoot their end. He says he's downloading files and they aren't hitting his 512 download. So I have him download the files while I'm watching his and my routers' counters. Nothing.

Better than nothing, actually. The file downloaded in less than 5 seconds. THERE'S THE PROBLEM! He's not downloading anything large enough to saturate the link. So I have him go to starwars.com (one of the first sites to have HQ trailers) and download a video. He claimed he was only getting 192 with his downloads (true), but the Star Wars trailer pushed past 384. Problem was, that file downloaded too fast, too. But it illustrated a point. He doggedly would not accept the fact that the speed starts slow then increases the longer the transmission goes (remember TCP's window scaling starts off small, then doubles until the segment is fragmented). He believed that at a minimum he should have gotten 512, no matter what. Impossible, there's no way we could guarantee that to a remote network.

You are correct, however, in expecting ISPs to reserve as much internal bandwidth as you purchased. It should not be 10Mbit to the local facility, and 1Mbit through the network.


RE: AHAHAHA
By Motoman on 6/6/2014 6:31:46 PM , Rating: 2
I don't doubt anything you're saying, other than your apparent defense of what is clearly a wildly anti-consumer practice...the advertising and selling of internet services at some kind of technically-possible-but-never-going-to-happen "maximum" speed.

And if someone advertises a minimum speed, and their consumers don't get it...then they *should* complain and they *should* have a legal case to file. Because a minimum would have to be guaranteed.

The fundamental problem is that the "up to" speeds are utterly meaningless. They have no value at all from a consumer standpoint - the consumer has no legal leg to stand on when they never get anywhere close to those speeds. Comcast could legally sell an internet service that provides speeds "up to fourteen million terabytes a millisecond" - which in reality runs at 100k. Because 100k is between zero and fourteen million terabytes a second.

Right now, consumers have no way to make an intelligent comparison of products...even from the same company. Maybe Comcast says you can pay $30 a month for a "20Mbps" service, or $40 a month for a "50Mbps" service, or $60 a month for a "90Mpbs" service. As a consumer, you think you're weighing pros and cons of paying a higher fee for faster service. But in reality, there's not any reason to think that all those services might all run at the same crappy speed...a fraction of what's advertised. And if they all ran at 10Mbps...or 1Mbps...the consumer is just f%cked, because they have no recourse against Comcast because of the "up to" BS.

This is why the "up to" method of advertising and selling internet service is such a crock of sh1t. It means nothing, and it provides no recourse to the consumer, who is going to take it in the a$s no matter what happens.

If we expect any kind of equability in the equation for consumers, there has to be a TANGIBLE quality of the service that can be measured and guaranteed. And realistically, I think the only such number you can do that with is a minimum. Because even an average is something the ISP is going to have a hard time trying to adhere to.


RE: AHAHAHA
By Piiman on 6/7/2014 8:00:02 AM , Rating: 2
You can't advertise min speeds. What happens if you request some download form a server that spits it out a 56k? The ISP can't magically make it go faster so according to you they should advertise their network as 56k broadband?


RE: AHAHAHA
By Motoman on 6/7/2014 7:50:54 PM , Rating: 2
They can provide proof the issue isn't theirs. Not hard. And it's the only way the consumer can make an informed purchasing decision, as well as the only way the consumer gets any recourse for being scammed by the ISP.

Unless you can magically propose something else that doesn't allow the ISPs to abuse the consumer?


RE: AHAHAHA
By someguy123 on 6/7/2014 5:47:34 PM , Rating: 2
Are you just intentionally missing the point? Providers can't guarantee minimum speeds because speed is also determined by what you're accessing.

If you go to a website dedicated to HD movie trailer downloads you're probably going to saturate your line and meet your quoted speeds and download at 20mbps. If you go to youtube your download speeds are going to get throttled by youtube's streaming algorithm and you'll go from 20 to 3 depending on the percentage of video already downloaded (you start seeking). If you download off someone's basement DSL server with 1mbps up you're not going to magically hit a 20mbps minimum. There is no way for an ISP to guarantee a minimum. All a minimum guarantee will cause is constant customer complaints about how they can't get 50mbps speeds when trying to stream porn.


RE: AHAHAHA
By Motoman on 6/7/2014 7:49:31 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Are you just intentionally missing the point?


The "up to" speeds are utterly worthless, and I believe you know that.

A consumer can not make an informed decision on who to get broadband from, or what package to get from a given provider, because the "up to" speed is meaningless.

The consumer has no actual way to know what the product is that they're going to buy. And after they buy it, they have no recourse against the provider when the product falls massively short of expectations.

According to you, it'd be fine for Comcast to advertise and sell that "up to 14 trillion terabyes per second" service and actually provide 10Mbps. No problem there, right? And how is the consumer to know that the 20Mbps service offered by Cox instead is actually going to be twice as fast for them in reality as the Comcast offering, which is "up to" fifty bajillion times "faster?"

It would be easy enough for the ISP to pass a consumer's download speed complaint on to the source, if that's where the fault actually lies. And sure, there will probably be finger-pointing involved.

But the *only* way that consumers have *any* way to compare products, and have recourse against fraudulent products, is to have a tangible guarantee of some kind as to the quality of that service.

I don't see how you find that so hard to understand. I suppose you'd have no problem if automakers advertised their cars the same way..."the 2015 Honda Dumbeldore gets up to 500MPG!"


RE: AHAHAHA
By someguy123 on 6/8/2014 5:18:56 AM , Rating: 2
And, again, you're intentionally missing the point, which is that nobody can provide minimum speed ratings and all a minimum speed rating will cause is constant complaints about how certain websites are not giving saturated speeds.

Nobody is going to advertise a 0bps minimum speed. Nobody is defending low performance with high "up to" speed ads. stop straw manning. It's not fine for any company to advertise obscene speeds and not deliver. There are quite a few low density areas where service is terrible, but even those customers can and SHOULD file claims against any ISP not delivering their advertised speeds with a saturated download source. I personally have never had an ISP that consistently missed its advertised speed and I've been through guys like prodigy and road runner to speak easy and netzero. The closest thing I can think of is comcast's "powerboost", which is misleading but still advertised as a few seconds of speed. 100% of the time I lost performance was due to line signal issues, modem failure, or maintenance.

The advertised speeds of most providers in the US are so low that I find it hilarious that you compare them to hypothetical trillion terabyte services. Most providers are still advertising single digit mbps and even verizon fiber advertises only 15mbps on their regular plan and 75mbps for its fastest consumer plan. Talk about outrageous gigabit speeds!


RE: AHAHAHA
By Cheesew1z69 on 6/8/2014 8:54:31 AM , Rating: 2
Powerboost is gone. They removed it AFAIK.


RE: AHAHAHA
By Reclaimer77 on 6/8/2014 11:18:49 AM , Rating: 2
I don't think Motoman knows how the Internet works.

All the ISP can "guarantee" is the last-mile connection: the speed from your modem to their equipment.

If some hub or router three hundred miles away goes down, causing latency and packet loss issues, Motoman is saying that's on your ISP apparently.

If you download a file from a slow server, again, your ISP is at fault I guess.


RE: AHAHAHA
By Motoman on 6/8/2014 11:45:20 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
And, again, you're intentionally missing the point, which is that nobody can provide minimum speed ratings and all a minimum speed rating will cause is constant complaints about how certain websites are not giving saturated speeds.


As I've already pointed out, if the ISP says they're not at fault they can pass the complaint along. How is that me intentionally missing the point...when I've stated that obvious point several times already and *you* keep missing it? It seems that not a single one of you people who are in support of the worthless "up to" speed ratings can grasp this blindingly-obvious point I have made, several times. Which you also should be bright enough to realize on your own...as it's blindingly-obvious.

If Comcast et al says the problem isn't theirs, then fine...the consumer gets pointed in the right direction.

The issue though, which is the point that you (and everyone else arguing in favor of the horrifically anti-consumer "up to" speed ratings) is that the consumer first of all can not, in any way, make an informed purchasing decision based on "up to" speed ratings that mean nothing. The ISP is not required to provide those speeds...or anything even close to those speeds - for any data, even data that originates with them. The ratings are, irrefutably, completely worthless.

Case in point - again: Say you live in an area where you could choose between Comcast and TWC for internet. Which is almost impossible, but let's go with it for the sake of argument. Comcast tells you they can give you "up to 50Mbps" for $40 a month. TWC says they can give you "up to 40Mbps" for $40 a month. As a consumer, with that being the only information you have access to, which one are you going to buy? Comcast, right?

However, in the *real* world, it may full well be that the Comcast service actually runs at 10Mbps...while the TWC service runs at 25Mbps. The TWC service is actually two and a half times better than Comcast...for the same price. But you, the consumer, firstly had no way to know that before purchasing...and now that you have, you have no recourse against Comcast for selling an inferior product that doesn't live up to it's billing.

From a consumer standpoint, the contract you sign with an ISP for service is 100% biased in favor of the ISP - as the consumer, you have no rights. You have no right to any particular quality of service, and you have no right to seek recourse for a bad product.

What part of that do you people not get?

quote:
The advertised speeds of most providers in the US are so low that I find it hilarious that you compare them to hypothetical trillion terabyte services. Most providers are still advertising single digit mbps and even verizon fiber advertises only 15mbps on their regular plan and 75mbps for its fastest consumer plan. Talk about outrageous gigabit speeds!


I see you have no capability to grasp the concept of sarcasm. Anyway, the ridiculous "up to" speed rating that I just made up there firmly makes the point intended - it would be completely legal for an ISP to advertise and sell that internet service. Knowing all along that it probably actually provides service somewhere between a few Mbps and a Gbps. It's not illegal, and consumers would have no recourse. That's the point to be made.

Just one of many fundamental points that you people can't grasp. It's a wonder you can manage to function at all.


RE: AHAHAHA
By retrospooty on 6/8/2014 12:33:22 PM , Rating: 2
"The issue ...... is that the consumer first of all can not, in any way, make an informed purchasing decision based on "up to" speed ratings that mean nothing"

You say that like it's buying a car where there are literally dozens of options in any category. In most places in the US one or two companies get the rights in those areas for the broadband. You get what you get, choice is irrelevant. The only "option" is to use satellite service, but its slow and laggy for the most part.


RE: AHAHAHA
By Motoman on 6/8/2014 2:06:12 PM , Rating: 2
True. However, as I noted in a prior post, you can't even make an informed decision about what package to buy from a single provider.

Comcast may offer you "up to 40Mpbs" at $40 a month, "up to 60Mbps" at $50 a month, and "up to 100Mbps" at $70 a month.

As a consumer, you want to weigh the pros and cons of each package. But unless you are aware, for example, that the *actual* speeks of those packages are 10Mbps, 11Mbps, and 12Mbps...you can't do that.

And either way, you still have no recourse against Comcast for providing a crappy product. Because so long as *some* internet access is provided, their "up to" language is satisfied.

If you buy a 100Mbps service, and sign a contract with Comcast, and it turns out that the real speed is 10Mbps - 10% of the "up to" speed - and you feel you've been had...too bad. You can't do anything about it...you have no recourse. Because the contract only says "up to." And 10Mbps is definitely "up to" 100Mbps.

This is why the "up to" ratings are meaningless, and create a hostile environment for consumers.

Imagine again, as noted before, if automakers all offered their cars for sale with "up to" MPG ratings. Not just one, but all. Whether or not, somehow, there was only 1 automaker available in your area, you'd still be in the same position. With no real way to make an informed purchasing decision, and no recourse against the provider when their product doesn't live up to expectations.


RE: AHAHAHA
By amanojaku on 6/8/2014 5:26:39 PM , Rating: 2
I hate to call people names, but you're being stupid. If you want to test your ISP's bandwidth there is a simple method: download as many files as you can from as many sources as you can simultaneously. That eliminates the uncertainty of whether slowness is due to the site you're downloading from.

Most, if not all, network applications give you the current bandwidth used, so simple addition reveals your cap, e.g. 1Mbit of Firefox download + 8Mbit of torrent download = 9Mbit bandwidth. Out of a 10Mbit connection that's damn good. Out of a 50Mbit connection that's obviously bad. If you add more files to your downloads and they aren't breaking 9Mbit you can make one of three assumptions:

1) Your ISP has capped you
2) Your ISP oversubscribed
3) Your ISP is throttling types of traffic

If your bandwidth is not as expected your recourse is to sue, because that falls under "false advertising". And advertising a minimum speed means 100% of the ISPs will be sued for false advertising - no ISP can make that guarantee. I can only assume you're not a networking engineer, nor are you experienced with networking beyond adding IPs to your devices and plugging cables into ports. You remind me of a guy who once claimed half-duplex Ethernet is half as fast as full-duplex Ethernet (it's not, not even close).

Your car analogy is flawed, because ALL cars are sold with "up to" a certain MPG. There isn't an automotive engineer on the planet who will guarantee your car gets a minimum MPG, let alone a manufacturer. There are many factors the engineers can't control, like the weight of passengers and items in the trunk. ISPs have the same limitations - they can't guarantee your experience to a site if they don't control the site.


RE: AHAHAHA
By Motoman on 6/9/2014 10:58:27 AM , Rating: 2
I'm sorry that you're having such a hard time with a very, very basic concept.

The ISP has control of the data that flows between you and them. Not upstream from them, obviously, which I have pointed out many, many times. And as I have pointed out many, many times, if the ISP recieves a complaint from someone about download speed from a website they have no control over, they can simply forward the complaint along. <-- not a difficult concept to grasp. Ergo, you can stop pretending that issue hasn't been addressed many times over.

If the ISP doesn't have any requirement to provide any particular service between themselves and you, then there's no value in the "up to" speeds and the user has no recourse.

The reason I used MPG as an analogy is because there IS a regulatory body in place that enforces fairness in that industry - and you can regularly read about car manufacturers having to admit they fudged their numbers and having to change the ratings on a given car.

That will *never* happen in the ISP industry, as it stands. And you can stop with the networking 101 classes - I've been doing this for decades. Since the time when ethernet and token-ring were both kinds of new ideas. There is no part of this equation that I don't understand, and I've demonstrated that from the start.

The ISP *should* have a legal obligation to make sure that their product, in as much as they have control of it, lives up to the advertising. But they don't. There is nothing that prevents Comcast from offering a 1Tbps service, knowing for a fact taht it would never run faster than 10Mbps. That is categorically *not true* in the auto industry, where an auto manufacturer *can not* just post whatever "up to" MPG rating they want on the window.

Why you're having such a hard time with this is baffling. According to you, if you buy a car that clearly doesn't live up to it's MPG rating, you *shouldn't* be able to seek recourse.

But you can. Because the regulations in that industry are responsible, and make sense.

There are no such regulations in the ISP industry, and there should be. It would be trivial to require a certification that shows what the actual available bandwidth is from the ISP itself to the consumer. That's all it would take. The FCC or someone could be in charge of making sure that advertised speeds are actually delivered...just like the EPA ensures that advertised MPG ratings are actually based in reality.

Your fundamental lack of comprehension of these rudimentary facts is alarming. You need to stop. Now.


RE: AHAHAHA
By amanojaku on 6/9/2014 2:21:14 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
If the ISP doesn't have any requirement to provide any particular service between themselves and you, then there's no value in the "up to" speeds and the user has no recourse.
This is where YOU are having a hard time. There isn't a single person here who has said ISPs are not responsible for providing the bandwidth you have purchased:
quote:
By amanojaku on 6/6/2014 3:47:41 PM

If I sell 10 people 10Mbit service each, my network needs to be 100Mbits to all peering points.
What's being debated here is the advertisement of such service as "minimum". Legally, if you say "minimum of 10Mbit/sec" then you are guaranteeing speed to a service. The average person will not understand that to mean "we offer you 10Mbit/sec, but can't guarantee Netflix can do 10Mbit/sec." The average person will think "all of my connections should transfer at 10Mbit/sec or faster". Which makes sense, since that's what you're saying when you write "minimum of XX".

Your MPG analogy was flawed because it didn't support your argument. Everyone who drives a car knows that MPG is a maximum, i.e. "up to". The average consumer does not believe their 35/55 MPG car will ever get 60 MPG, because MPG is not advertised as a minimum. Most people are aware that they will get less due to driving conditions, but that 35/55 is possible if the conditions are the same as the tests.

Networking speeds are the same thing. You can get up to a certain amount provided the conditions are correct. The network would be the car, which performs at a predictable rate. Netflix, file downloads, etc... are the driving conditions. The way ISPs word it the car is what is reported. The way you want to word it the driving conditions are covered, as well. Car manufacturers can't control the weather; ISP can't control external services. Your proposed wording will get ISPs in trouble. Go talk to a lawyer if you don't believe me.

Since ISPs are monopolies in this country, it might make sense to have a regulatory body. I think a better solution is to get rid of the monopolies so that companies have to compete.


RE: AHAHAHA
By Motoman on 6/9/2014 3:37:15 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
There isn't a single person here who has said ISPs are not responsible for providing the bandwidth you have purchased:


On the contrary, that's what *you* and everyone else who's arguing in favor of the "up to" ratings is saying. Because there's no requirement for ISPs to actually adhere to those speeds at all...or even get close to them. By trying to insist that the "up to" method is OK, you're implicitly saying the ISPs are not responsible for providing that bandwidth.

quote:
The average person will not understand that to mean "we offer you 10Mbit/sec, but can't guarantee Netflix can do 10Mbit/sec."


Then the average person can make a complaint once to Comcast, be informed that Comcast has no control over the speed of external websites, and that would be that. They can then take their complaint to Netflix or whoever.

quote:
Your MPG analogy was flawed because it didn't support your argument.


It perfectly supports my argument. There's no possible way in which it doesn't. Here's why:

1. Automakers can't just make sh1t up and post it on the window. The MPG ratings they put there are actually subject to regulatory control for some semblance of accuracy.
2. When consumers complain that their real-world MPG are sufficiently different than the manufacturer's MPG ratings, the EPA et al can *force* the automaker to change the MPG rating to make it reflective of reality.

Ergo, the auto buying consumer can actually use the MPG rating as information to inform their buying decision, and when it turns out that the posted MPG rating is BS, they have regulatory/legal recourse against the manufacturer. Neither of which are true in the ISP industry. And both of which are things needed in the ISP industry.

Yes, we need to stop it with the artificial monopolies already. And yes, we need the FCC (or someone else) to actually regulate the industry. And one of the first things they should do when they start to regulate the industry is to address the above. And also *true* net neutrality, the latter probably being *slightly* less important than the former - but both being far-and-away the 2 largest anti-consumer issues that need to be fixed.


RE: AHAHAHA
By invidious on 6/6/2014 3:26:38 PM , Rating: 5
You're being too idealistic. The reality is that many peoeple (especially those who are not tech savy) would sooner drop the service than confront the company to complain to seek a solution.

Netflix doesn't have the profit margins to compete with every ISP in a economic battleground, they probably can't afford to compete with even a single ISP. Your respect isn't going to keep them in business. The ISPs know they are at an economic advantage and will continue to act bullish until Netflix rallies customers or lawmakers to their side.

Obviously netflix would have preferred not to make the deal but their battle for net neutrality is an long ongoing campaign and they need to stay in business.


RE: AHAHAHA
By Motoman on 6/6/2014 3:29:24 PM , Rating: 2
Absolutely. Once that happened the first time, everyone lost. There is no possible upside - every action thereafter would be negative.

It is absolutely crucial to the usefulness and integrity of the internet that ALL ISPs be utterly required by law to not interfere with the delivery of anything going through their "pipes." Period.

Don't like that law? OK. Don't be an ISP.

We need that law...*real* net neutrality. And we need it 15 years ago.


RE: AHAHAHA
By karimtemple on 6/6/2014 4:10:39 PM , Rating: 2
The precedent was already set lol, which is why Netflix paid what they paid. Once they realized the government wasn't going to do its job, they chose to act.

This situation isn't that cut-and-dry, anyway. People keep framing this as a Net Neutrality issue, but it isn't really. It's more like trying to do butt stuff and then complaining that the hole is too tight.

The problem with that complaint is, if you fast-forward to its logical conclusion, the root problem is that our infrastructure isn't built out enough. That complaint is only half-valid, considering the fact that we're all the ones at fault.

As a nation, we don't buy the wire from the service providers because Americans hate stuff they think is communist. And we don't more strongly regulate the wire because Americans hate stuff they think is socialist. So, it's their wire, it's their show.

Unless we're ready to get with the program and decide that the Internet is a vital service, these complaints are largely moot. The conglomerates and the government are the only two real options for building out a fiber infrastructure. And we keep choosing the conglomerates.


RE: AHAHAHA
By inperfectdarkness on 6/8/2014 4:31:01 AM , Rating: 2
Yep. I think I just may be a Netflix subscriber for life. :)

Telecoms, like the RIAA, just cannot get with the 21st century.


RE: AHAHAHA
By marvdmartian on 6/11/2014 10:16:33 AM , Rating: 2
Added bonus, if they can generate some irate phone calls, from the customers to the ISP's, and then (for instance) Verizon claims it's the fault of Netflix, but Netflix can PROVE it's not (and the customer can see that they're experiencing the slowdown, while their neighbor with Comcast isn't), it will help Netflix' case immensely.

Really sucks, when your complaints about how you're being talked down to can actually be substantiated with facts, doesn't it, Verizon??


Download Speeds
By Aloonatic on 6/6/2014 2:59:12 PM , Rating: 2
I was just wondering, what kind of download speeds people here get and what sort of network you have at home.

D: 14 Mbps
U: 0.9 Mbps

This is normally plenty for me to watch HD streams from the BBC and I never really have any problems but it's just me and the wife.

Now my in-laws who live near by are with the same provider and get very similar speeds are always complaining but they have a couple of kids at home who play games and watch youtube, and my father in law has a nasty e-bay addiction. Coupled to them all having a smartphone and then there are the tablets too.

So who are ISPs meant to be aiming for? I do feel a little sorry for them some times (but not that much) as there are so many devices using the internet now.

And just how many problems are caused by poor Wi-Fi within the home?




RE: Download Speeds
By retrospooty on 6/6/2014 3:09:53 PM , Rating: 2
It varies. Most in the US get from 25 to 50 Mbps download if not higher... The issue inst individual download though, its the networks backbone. So in this case, individuals may get great download speed, but the Verizon network in general is congested and slow... That means either Netflix traffic is clogging it,or just that Verizon is throttling it.


RE: Download Speeds
By Aloonatic on 6/6/2014 3:32:59 PM , Rating: 2
What do you think the impact of torrents left open for sustained periods have on the networks too?


RE: Download Speeds
By Reclaimer77 on 6/6/2014 3:35:46 PM , Rating: 2
Not necessarily throttling. Could simply be a large metro area using shared connections having typical peak-hours congestion and slow downs.

These ISP's have gotten away with not upgrading their backbones and last-mile hubs for a LONG time. That might be rearing it's head here with the advent of everyone watching 1080p Netflix.


RE: Download Speeds
By drlumen on 6/6/2014 6:22:40 PM , Rating: 2
I have Verizon FIOS and can say they are definitely throttling Netflix. I don't have a Netflix streaming account but even going to the Netflix site to add DVD's is slow. It wasn't a gradual slowdown either it was practically overnight.

Netflix would have to multiply their subscriptions many times over to account for the slowdown. FYI my speed tests from Dallas to San Francisco shows 30/10 mbps @ 52ms ping. Almost all other sites are fine.

I'm glad Netflix is bringing this issue to a head.


RE: Download Speeds
By Motoman on 6/6/2014 3:49:52 PM , Rating: 2
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/govbeat/wp/201...

Average internet speed in the USA is a little over 18Mbps. And that doesn't account for the tens of millions of Americans for whom no broadband internet is available.


RE: Download Speeds
By retrospooty on 6/6/2014 5:03:59 PM , Rating: 2
Ya, but that is average "internet speed" not "Broadband internet speed" - at least that was my impression of the question. The low end of the spectrum inst really in question.


RE: Download Speeds
By ritualm on 6/7/2014 5:53:18 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I was just wondering, what kind of download speeds people here get and what sort of network you have at home.

D: 14 Mbps
U: 0.9 Mbps

I specifically told my cable ISP 5 months ago that I wanted 10 Mbps upload for less than a hundred bucks, and none of their packages have it (that's before they redid their package pricing). Including retentions. So I said "F...U..." and switched to DSL.

My current speeds are 25/10 locally, however it's the speeds going cross-country that really matters, and there I'm getting nearly symmetrical 10 Mbps - all of that for $56 a month and 300GB. The cable ISP charges $40 more for an equivalent package.


RE: Download Speeds
By Cheesew1z69 on 6/7/2014 7:19:43 PM , Rating: 2
I am paying Comcast for TV/50/10 79.99 a month.


RE: Download Speeds
By Mr Perfect on 6/7/2014 7:24:17 PM , Rating: 2
I had purchased Comcast's 50/10 package, but they bumped it to 105/10 for free at the beginning of April. At both speed tiers Amazon Prime would stream HD at 20 to 25 Mbit/s, I'm not sure if Amazon can push more then that or if they're being throttled though.


crazy litigation, verizon is ridiculous
By chromal on 6/6/2014 12:17:21 PM , Rating: 2
It's a damn shame that Verizon would rather litigate than address the issue create by their subscribers' demands for popular Internet resources.

It's a damn shame that regulators can't threaten Verizon with nationalization if they fail to take providing public utility like Internet connectivity competently.




RE: crazy litigation, verizon is ridiculous
By Dr of crap on 6/6/2014 12:48:16 PM , Rating: 3
Hey,
This is America, bud. If they want to sue that's what we do here. We don't take blame for anything, we sue. So they are just doing the red, white, and blue thing.

On a side note - It would be better PR to not litigate, but you cant fix stupid.

GO NETFLIX!!!


By retrospooty on 6/6/2014 1:09:36 PM , Rating: 2
Ya, I would think this could only backfire. What we have is Netflix putting up messages when Verizons network is causing slow traffic. It's not slander if its true and it should be easy to prove. Netflix logs show it. So yes they can sue, but they cant possibly win. The only outcome of this can be bad press for Verizon.


This is great!
By CaedenV on 6/6/2014 1:06:24 PM , Rating: 2
Here's to Netflix! I hope that they keep up the good work! On the one hand I do feel for cable providers who are scrambling to update their networks and infrastructure... but on the other hand they should have started the process years ago, and it is their own fault for mismanaging the network.




RE: This is great!
By Denigrate on 6/6/2014 2:00:58 PM , Rating: 5
I feel nothing for the ISP's. They have pocketed windfall profits from customers for years and lagged far behind the rest of the world in the service that they provide. All but a few ISP's need a swift kick in the rear to get them moving forward rather than trying to maintain the status quo. If the ISPs/cable companies had pioneered streaming services instead of resting on what made them fat and happy, we wouldn't be reading about this.


I wonder....
By dxf2891 on 6/6/2014 1:42:29 PM , Rating: 2
what would happen if a significant number of ISP customers cancelled their internet service for one or two months in protests of throttling. Or had a concerted effort to negotiate with ONE ISP to go to them for service if they could guarantee no throttling for one year. I know it's a pie in the sky dream, but you have to dream it, conceive it and then do it!




RE: I wonder....
By inighthawki on 6/6/2014 1:55:30 PM , Rating: 2
The unfortunate thing is the longer we wait to do something about it, the harder it becomes. The internet is becoming a standard utility that people need to function in society, just like electricity or water. Eventually you get to a point where people would be happy to protest, but simply cant because they rely on the service too much. I think ISPs are already counting on this kind of truth to do what they already do.


RE: I wonder....
By amanojaku on 6/6/2014 2:04:17 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
what would happen if a significant number of ISP customers cancelled their internet service for one or two months in protests of throttling.
10 years ago that would have been possible. Today, no. The Internet has supplanted many old-school methods. It's not impossible to go back (I do most things the old school way) but it would be extremely difficult for many. Businesses would be impacted the most, particularly B&M locations that do credit card processing over the Internet.
quote:
Or had a concerted effort to negotiate with ONE ISP to go to them for service if they could guarantee no throttling for one year.
Impossible. Most locations have three ISPs available to them: cable, phone, and cell. Cell is too slow to compete with the other two. And a duopoly doesn't really compete. From what one TW employee told me, many of the TW execs are former Verizon, and vice versa. They're all friends, and when one raises rates or lowers quality of service the other does it, too.

What we really need is a system like Japan's. The lines are owned by the government and rented by each ISP. When one line goes down they all do, so lines rarely go down. Prices are low because there are so many providers to compete with. And speeds are high because there are so many providers to compete with. Spying shouldn't be an issue since the government does it already.


cancelled netflix
By russki on 6/6/2014 3:42:01 PM , Rating: 2
I have fios 50/25 and netflix performance was awful. I would never get hd, just a pixelated mess or a wide swing in quality over time. I didnt just cancel it for that I did so because there's nothing really new or interesting to watch for me.




RE: cancelled netflix
By bupkus on 6/7/2014 9:30:45 AM , Rating: 2
What did you cancel? Netflix, internet, or your 50/25 service? What is "fios"?
Pixelated wasn't a real issue, but content was?

Is there some point your post was supposed to make?


RE: cancelled netflix
By amanojaku on 6/7/2014 3:46:20 PM , Rating: 2
Russki canceled his/her Netflix account.

FiOS is a registered trademark of Verizon Communications, a telecom and broadband company. FiOS means "Fibre Optic Service", for home and business use. Whenever you see XX/YY it means download speed/upload speed - asymmetric, vs. symmetric where both up and down are the same, as in T or E-carrier or SDSL. In this case 50Mbit down and 25Mbit up.

Both pixelation and lack of streaming content were a concern, but content was the main reason for abandoning Netflix. I share a similar concern. Many of the movies I want to watch just aren't available for streaming, although this has to do with the licensing costs being jacked up 10x a couple of years ago. Netflix had to choose between raising the rates or cutting the content.

Russki's post is unrelated to the article's topic of ISP throttling. Although, the deal Netflix made with Comcast and Verizon means money that may have gone to content is no longer available.


Net Neutrality
By OnyxNite on 6/6/2014 5:15:56 PM , Rating: 2
It was my understanding that the new Net Neutrality rules expressly prohibited an ISP from throttling traffic below what the customer paid for. So if you paid for a 50Mb connection then that's what you get. This does exclude congestion however so you could certainly get a slower connection at peak times but the ISP can't intentionally limit you, especially not by calling out specific services (such as Netflix).

The "fast lanes" that the new rules allow are created by the rules not preventing companies from buying FASTER access then you paid for. So if you have that 50Mb connection but Netflix 4k stream really wants a 60Mb one then Netflix can pay your ISP to allow you to exceed the 50Mb you paid for thereby creating a "fast lane" and thus in effect making any streaming company that doesn't pay for a similar boost in effect on the "slow lane".




RE: Net Neutrality
By amanojaku on 6/6/2014 6:05:17 PM , Rating: 2
Net Neutrality? There's no such thing.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Net_Neutrality#Propos...


Amen
By CalaverasGrande on 6/6/2014 8:12:46 PM , Rating: 2
I've gone around and around on this. Hulu and Netflix blame the ISP. But that only covers why the video stream has to downshift to 720 or 480.
Not necessarily why Hulu will cease playback because it can't serve ads. (I've got them whitelisted and there is no AB+ on my particular computer for watching video).
It also doesn't explain why they have such difficulty streaming less popular shows like Red Dwarf or Rockford Files. But effortlessly stream more popular shows like (Welsh)Doctor Who and Star Trek. And you know, when I am getting stuttery playback on a TV show or movie, the commercials are smooth as silk.




RE: Amen
By inighthawki on 6/6/2014 9:00:39 PM , Rating: 2
I don't think Netflix or Hulu have ever gona as far as to say "all problems are from the ISPs"

Thos epopular shows may likely also be on higher end servers that have higher total bandwidth and can service more users. Also ads may be smoother because ads only make up a tiny amount of bandwidth compared to the show, so there is less of a bottleneck on their ad servers at any one time.


By villageidiotintern on 6/6/2014 12:47:57 PM , Rating: 2
We have inadvertently discovered what businesses The Mob has migrated to in a post-Mafia America.

Note to Secret Service: This is sarcasm.




Oh boy
By Fanatical Meat on 6/6/2014 9:05:21 PM , Rating: 2
Please, please, please Verizon sue Netflix. I really want to hear their explanation why Netflix worked fine before net neutrality was gutted and now it works slow. Please prove why it is happening on your pipes even though you are diligently expanding your network.




Verizon deserves this
By overlandpark on 6/9/2014 2:50:04 AM , Rating: 2
They slow down their network, a message says their network is slow, so they sue? laughable.




Netflix is fail
By Shadowmaster625 on 6/9/2014 3:28:18 PM , Rating: 2
The problem with netflix is that the buffering just downright sucks balls. It can and will simply stop once it runs out of buffer. It may or may not even bother to pick back up where it left off. Yes, it can and will just sit there stuck at a certain % until you refresh the page. It's always been like this, and that's always been a very bad thing. Their horrible coding has been covered up by many people's multi-dozen gigabit connections. But you should not need a 20 mbps pipe to watch a 480p video. Which gets me to the other serious flaw of netfux: its horrible compression. I have 700MB movies that look just as good if not outright better than netflix's piggish 2+ GB files.




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