Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Verizon Using Net Neutrality Victory to Wage War Against Netflix

David Raphael (via Dave Winer):

I’ve since tested this almost every day for the last couple of weeks. During the day – the bandwidth is normal to AWS. However, after 4pm or so – things get slow.

In my personal opinion, this is Verizon waging war against Netflix. Unfortunately, a lot of infrastructure is hosted on AWS. That means a lot of services are going to be impacted by this.

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I'm a residential FIOS subscriber, and this has been going on for a while. It's nothing new to the very recent Net Neutrality ruling.

And it has nothing to do with AWS.

When I stream from Netflix, no matter what time of day, the PQ is always bad for the first minute or two, at which point it reaches 'good enough' PQ. This repeats if one pauses, or seeks.

But when I stream from Amazon, PQ is always 'good enough' from the get-go.

My understanding is that this has to do with "peering", which is how Verizon was getting around the spirit of Net Neutrality prior to the very recent ruling. My understanding is that Amazon pays Verizon for peering spots, while Netflix doesn't. So it takes a bit for a Netflix stream to wait for an 'available' peering spot and stream at an adequate bandwidth level. (I assume Apple pays Verizon for peering in a similar way that Amazon does, and thus doesn't suffer from the Netflix problems, though I don't do content business with Apple, so I don't know for sure.)

As a residential FIOS subscriber, I think this sucks. It struck me as an abuse of the spirit of the prior Net Neutrality ruling, and an abuse of their customers. Obviously, things can get worse with the new ruling, but I don't think what David is describing is 'news'.

Some evidence to support my contention that this predates the recent anti-Net Neutrality ruling.

Peering was the way ISP's were able to defeat Net Neutrality prior to the ruling. (And it wasn't just Verizon.)

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