Print 13 comment(s) - last by Lifted.. on Jun 20 at 11:44 PM

Could Verizon be intentionally slowing Netflix streaming?

If you're having Netflix problems, Verizon may be the culprit. 

Giga Om recently reported that issues between Verizon and bandwidth provider Cogent Communications has resulted in slowed Netflix content delivery. Some problems reported by customers include buffering and pixelated images. 

Verizon and Cogent have had issues with peering, where two bandwidth providers exchange traffic for free. Verizon -- the last mile network -- and Cogent currently send and receive traffic to each other via peering at 10 locations.

The problem is that this traffic is ran through ports, which transfer data back and forth at about 10 gigabit per second. When these ports reach around 50 percent of their capacity, Internet providers employ more ports. However, Verizon is letting its ports that exchange traffic with Cogent fill up and degrade, with some at 100 percent of their capacity. 

Verizon told Cogent that this is occurring because of traffic from a "large video provider." Verizon never actually mentioned Netflix's name, but Dave Schaffer (CEO of Cogent) said that Netflix is a "big partner" for his company. 

Netflix traffic accounts for almost one out of every 3 bits (32.3 percent) sent downstream to users in North America.

It's interesting to note that Verizon owns 50 percent of Redbox, which is a video-over-the-Internet service that competes with Netflix. Some have accused Verizon of purposely slowing Netflix streaming in order to gain Redbox viewers. 

Just yesterday, reports started circulating that Verizon may try to be Canada's fourth major wireless carrier. Canada currently has three major carriers, including Rogers Communications, Telus Corp and BCE Inc's Bell. But it has been looking for a fourth to increase consumer choice and keep prices competitive. 

Source: Giga Om

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Is this illegal?
By voodoobunny on 6/19/2013 11:15:28 AM , Rating: 4
Forgive me for stating the obvious, but...

If Verizon is deliberately slowing down Netflix traffic, and they own a competing service, isn't that totally illegal? Couldn't they be opening themselves up to enormous legal issues by doing this?

Not to mention this could be incredibly bad PR for them, and a huge opportunity for all the other providers: "Switch to Cox/Comcast/Anyone Else. We won't slow down your Netflix streaming."

RE: Is this illegal?
By BRB29 on 6/19/2013 11:17:00 AM , Rating: 1
It is if you can prove it. The only person that can prove it is Verizon. They're not going to self-incriminate.

RE: Is this illegal?
By karimtemple on 6/19/2013 11:28:03 AM , Rating: 2
This is only true if the plaintiff's lawyers aren't good enough.

RE: Is this illegal?
By Solandri on 6/19/2013 2:36:30 PM , Rating: 3
If net neutrality were law, yes it'd be illegal.

As it's not currently law, Verizon can do whatever they want. If the customers don't like it, they can switch ISPs. (The fact that most municipalities in the U.S. are limited to one cable and one phone ISP is the primary reason I think net neutrality should be law. If both your cable and phone ISP do this, there's no way for you to protest their stupid policies by taking your dollars elsewhere.)

RE: Is this illegal?
By Lifted on 6/20/2013 11:44:20 PM , Rating: 2
This has nothing to do with net neutrality.

Verizon has an agreement to exchange data with Cogent. There is no law stating that Verizon must do this for free. Let Cogent go purchase a dozen 10Gb ports from Level 3.

Oh, but that will cost them money? Too bad. Not Verizon's problem. Verizon can terminate the peering with Cogent if they felt like it, but that would end up costing them more too. So they just refuse to commit any more bandwidth to Cogent and let Cogent go find it elsewhere.

"I'd be pissed too, but you didn't have to go all Minority Report on his ass!" -- Jon Stewart on police raiding Gizmodo editor Jason Chen's home

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