Net Neutrality: Comcast Blocking Netflix


From that article:

Several Ars staffers have experience in maintaining peering and transit connections both in the US and Europe, and each agreed that the situation here is unusual. That's because most "transit" deals, the ones where money was exchanged, historically focused on data that was simply traversing one network on its way someplace else. Why should one network operator bear the costs of building and maintaining a network just so that some other network operator could route all of his traffic over it for free? Peering, or direct network interconnection, generally took place when each network sent similar amounts of traffic to the other and it wasn't worth the expense or hassle of trying to account for every bit.

But the CDN traffic from Level 3 isn't in "transit" anywhere; it's going to the Comcast customers who want to watch Netflix movies. Level 3 is, in one sense, doing Comcast a favor by making a key Internet service better; it's not simply taking advantage of Comcast's network to get its own traffic somewhere else. That's what Werbach means when he talks about a "terminating access monopoly"; Comcast has a lock on its customers and can try to extract rents from anyone trying to send them data, even if it's data they requested.

I spoke with Public Knowledge legal director Harold Feld, who makes the same points about peering and transit. “To the best of my knowledge,” he says, “this is the first time ever a last-mile network has demanded compensation from another ISP for delivering traffic requested by a subscriber on the ‘terminating’ ISP's network.”

Peering disputes have been around for years, and have sometimes resulted in slow Internet connections as one provider yanks its direct connection to another network, but Feld says that past disputes have "involved hand off of traffic through the middle-mile to transport it from one last-mile network to another.”

In particular, the cases where Level 3 shut out other networks for peering imbalances:

Level 3's choice to cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war is "simply duplicitous," Comcast says. "When another network provider tried to pass traffic onto Level 3 this way, Level 3 said this is not the way settlement-free peering works in the Internet world. When traffic is way out of balance, Level 3 said, it will assist on a commercially negotiated solution."

This is in reference to Level 3's own dispute over peering with Cogent, in which Level 3 eventually discontinued peering with Cogent's network after reviewing the relationship and concluding that too much traffic was coming from Cogent.

"Cogent was sending far more traffic to the Level 3 network than Level 3 was sending to Cogent's network," said Level 3 at the time. "It is important to keep in mind that traffic received by Level 3 in a peering relationship must be moved across Level 3's network at considerable expense. Simply put, this means that, without paying, Cogent was using far more of Level 3's network, far more of the time, than the reverse. Following our review, we decided that it was unfair for us to be subsidizing Cogent's business.”

But note that this was traffic in transit, not traffic that was requested by Level 3 subscribers.


It's a good idea, in theory, but Google "Burlington Telecom" to find out what happens when municipalities get into the telecom business with no f'n idea of what they ware doing....


A valuable distinction; thanks


I think we're more in need of a media Glass-Steagall act, divorcing infrastructure from content and turning the former into a boring utility. Common sense exceptions could be radio, I guess.



Who laughs last? Netflix, that's who. In a semi-fuck-you to providers who might try to restrict their access in the future, Netflix is now releasing a monthly report on just how they all measure up when accessing Netflix.

To the network geek who ran with this idea at Netflix, I salute you sir.

Canadian ISP's listed through the full ink above.


That's great. Now they need to get that message out.




That chart sucks! I can't differentiate between the like 8 dozen colors! I think my ISP is in the top, but I'm not sure!


Not much of a fuck you to Comcast, since that puts them as second-best out of sixteen.


True, Damien and I wondered that as well, but it lends more to the honesty of the reporting, while also a preventative measure to those who might be thinking of adding more peering surcharges.


I’m surprised that Canadian ISP’s are pretty much across the board better.


It's not overly surprising though. We're continuing to fall behind in broadband speed within the U.S. Plus, that is averaging in customers spread in some pretty low speed rural areas within the US, that just happen to use the major ISP's.

EDIT: Actually in checking the charts by country on broadband speeds, this is surprising. Canada ranks slightly behind us, overall.


What do you think happens in Canada? The demographics here aren’t going to be that different and rural households are probably more likely to use major ISPs here as there is substantially less choice.


Yep, I verified agreement with you after posting the above. I'm not sure what's up with those numbers for Canada.


Sadly Rogers et al. will probably try to use this info to further ream the shit out of us as they can now claim we are getting a better service than Americans.


What’s up is that both Canada and the US are fucking huge! All the countries you’re likely to compare yourselves to as regards broadband quality/penetration (Western Europe, Japan, S Korea, Singapore) share the qualities of being densely populated and quite tiny by comparison. Building the same level of infrastructure is going to cost you quite a lot more.


Yep, this is the same when viewing info on energy consumption per capita- it's mostly a matter of the geographical size of our countries.

I think Netflix has better performance here in Canada simply because Netflix Canada is not as good so it's making less of a dent in viewership. When it gets better, I'm sure we'll see the throttling(or whatever it's called).

Great chart, love the position Netflix is in. If it's a net neutrality issue, they're the poster war child.


That chart is awesome. I have charter and it looks like I come out on top!!


We have a few threads for Net Neutrality, but I chose this one because FUCK YOU COMCAST.

The Federal Communications Commission will propose new rules that allow Internet service providers to offer a faster lane through which to send video and other content to consumers, as long as a content company is willing to pay for it, according to people briefed on the proposals.

The proposed rules are a complete turnaround for the F.C.C. on the subject of so-called net neutrality, the principle that Internet users should have equal ability to see any content they choose, and that no content providers should be discriminated against in providing their offerings to consumers.