Following Verizon's Lawsuit Threat, Netflix to End ISP “Speed Warnings” on June 16
June 9, 2014 1:57 PM
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Netflix says that its “transparency campaign” will end later this month
Well, that didn’t last long. Netflix recently began
throwing up warning messages for its streaming customers
to alert them when their ISP’s network was congested. The first targets of the warning messages were customers running on AT&T and Verizon networks, and this is what those customers saw during periods of heavy congestion:
Interestingly, Verizon customers will still seeing slow network speeds on Netflix despite the fact that the
latter is paying the former for a “paid peering” arrangement
that is supposed to alleviate bandwidth chokeholds.
Following Netflix’s decision to display the warning messages, Verizon threatened legal action, stating in a letter, “In light of this, Verizon demands that Netflix immediately cease and desist from providing any such further 'notices' to users of the Verizon network.”
Netflix responded, stating:
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.
Netflix is now taking a more measured approach, stating that its “transparency campaign” to alert customers about reduced network speeds is “scheduled to end on June 16,” although it could "evaluate rolling it out more broadly" in the future
Whether the “scheduled” end was already predetermined by the company brass or a result of Verizon’s legal threats remains to be seen. However, Netflix isn’t about to let the matter rest completely, as the company goes on to state:
Some broadband providers argue that our actions, and not theirs, are causing a degraded Netflix experience. Netflix does not purposely select congested routes. We pay some of the world’s largest transit networks to deliver Netflix video right to the front door of an ISP. Where the problem occurs is at that door -- the interconnection point -- when the broadband provider hasn’t provided enough capacity to accommodate the traffic their customer requested.
Some large US ISPs are erecting toll booths, providing sufficient capacity for services requested by their subscribers to flow through only when those services pay the toll. In this way, ISPs are double-dipping by getting both their subscribers and Internet content providers to pay for access to each other.
It remains to see how this war or words will play out in the end, but Netflix’s own internal data shows that both AT&T and Verizon are nowhere near the top when it comes to average data speeds for U.S.-based Netflix streaming customers. In fact, Verizon DSL is dead last and even
Verizon’s high-speed FiOS service
could must no more than 10th place out of a total 16 ISP services that were measured for the month of May:
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RE: A different approach is needed.
6/10/2014 10:04:06 AM
Well, PR campaigns can mean a lot and aren't necessarily bravado. The digital age has shown us that intelligent use of PR can influence quite a bit in a conversation.
That said, I don't view their actions as a vain PR campaign as what typically comes to mind either. I certainly don't think the vast majority of on-lookers, tech saavy or not, believe Netflix is doing this as some sort of shallow PR campaign for attention.
On the contrary, ISPs want to portray this picture, but it fails a simple common-sense test.
No, Netflix is being exploited by ISPs because many ISPs offer the very media Netflix stands to supplement. Typically, ISPs should feel somewhat interested in appeasing the customers. However, in America, ISPs need not cater to their consumers.
They already have a lock on the market, and as long as they lobby as hard and as often as they do, and do the governments dirty work for them (or store it for them , depending on the context) there is an underlying quid pro quo that will not cease as it stands.
So, the ISPs do what they have essentially always done; dig in their heels and commit to non-enhancement of infrastructure unless SOMEONE ELSE pays them to do it, all at our expense no matter how you look at it.
I think even less saavy consumers understand Netflix was charged more because it infringes on ISPs other initiatives, even if the reality is a bit more complex than that. That's a real problem for ISPs because its hard to fight perception.
However, IMO, its going to take a lot more than that to cause a real storm here. Netflix has to find like-minded entities and form a real fight for net-neutrality here. They are too small to fight the big ISPs on their own and somehow must leverage the overlapping consumer base to exert the point as well as perhaps legal avenues and, yes, even PR campaigns where appropriate.
Getting the public to understand that they are being manipulated by ISPs is key to momentum shifting, which is critical.
"We can't expect users to use common sense. That would eliminate the need for all sorts of legislation, committees, oversight and lawyers." -- Christopher Jennings
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