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back to article Netflix speed index shows further decline in Verizon quality

Verizon insists it "treats all traffic equally" but new data from Netflix indicates that the network provider's customers have seen a degradation in service quality in the past months. The streaming video company released its monthly ISP speed index for January on Monday, and the results show another significant decline in …

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Anonymous Coward

Overly aggressive throttling?

Just a thought. Not necessarily a bad thing (it can ensure everyone gets a good enough service), unless the ISP goes OTT with it. Oh, and no ISP treats all traffic equally!

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Re: Overly aggressive throttling?

Well... ISPs aren't soup kitchens. I pay the ISP so they will continuously upgrade their network.

An ISP throttling is like a restaurant telling me, "We're sorry, but we are out of food, you'll only get half portions... however you still must pay the full price.".

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Overly aggressive throttling?

Erm yes, but it needn't be a bad thing. If, for example, 12mbps is the sweet spot between 1080p YouTube streaming and fast enough buffering, then why not throttle at 12mbps per connection? It'll help everything else to run smoothly. Problem is, some ISPs take the piss; it looks like Verizon is one such ISP.

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Holmes

Re: Overly aggressive throttling?

The difference between a piece of food and the cabling infrastructure is that one is a capital good (needs some time to get bigger) while the other is not (you can have another piece of it at will)

Network ain't gonna resize itself just when you pay.

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Re: Overly aggressive throttling?

I don't think Verizon is throttling and it certainly isn't on my connection. They just have poor speeds overall and I've noticed it getting worse of late. No I don't stream much, only the occasional short video attached to a story or news piece. Beyond the slowness it also has terrible jitter making VOIP calls nearly impossible. Verizon's problem is they don't want to upgrade any of the older lines that are still working even if it's only just barely while they take a lackadaisical approach to their FIOS rollout. Eventually they will get FIOS out but until then they are only patching the old system.

In my area, AT&T won't service DSL because the infrastructure is so bad and they aren't going to run line either but I do note they do fine business a few miles away in the newer developments. That leaves Time Warner Cable, my former ISP. Their lines are so heavily laden locally that it approaches or even drops below 150 kbps when the kids in the neighborhood get home and even during the best of times it was never much over 1 Mbps.

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Or to look at it the other way

You pay your ISP to make the internet come to you. If you want Netflix to come to you, then it's your ISP's job to get your Netflix stream to you (i.e. get their peering, or better still caching, working)

I think the problem is a matter of ignorance by the vast majority of consumers.

How fast is the number in bold at the top, and how much does it cost me - and that's about as far as it goes.

To fix this we need a couple of things. Mandatory service levels and some better benchmarking - Netflix naming and shaming is a start, but I'd suspect Verizon aren't seeing a pile of notice-to-quit letters piling up.

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Re: Or to look at it the other way

@goldcd

Verizon is not likely to see a pile of notice-to-quit letters when there is no alternative. Most of us in the U.S. have no alternative provider, or at best one other provider.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Overly aggressive throttling?

So, you are saying that its OK to NOT give the customer what they pay for? Wow!

If I pay for something, I expect to get it, whether its internet service, a server with specific specs, electricity, gas.....I paid for it, its up to me how much I use of it.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Overly aggressive throttling?

No, I'm saying nothing of the kind. If you use Netflix, and if your provider throttles Netflix down to the 8-10mbps required for full HD streaming, and you're getting reliable full HD Netflix, then what exactly is your provider not giving you?

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Megaphone

Re: Overly aggressive throttling?

I have to say that when I had Comcast as my ISP, I was constantly having trouble streaming YouTube videos. It was a constant race to see if the playing point would catch up with the buffer and frequently it did.

When I switched to AT&T, YouTube played flawlessly and streaming problems stopped.

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@Christian Berger Re: Overly aggressive throttling?

That reminds me of a fat comedian who talked about going to an 'all you could eat' Chinese Buffet where the owner started putting tons of MSG in the food. (Enough to kill an Elephant...)

To your point... what you pay is based on their estimates as to what the average user will do online.

So when you have a fringe group going beyond... that screws up the model so they start to limit.

I don't like it, but I do understand it.

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Re: Overly aggressive throttling?

Also the difference is that cable companies, unlike restaurants, make around 1500-2000% pure PROFIT on every delivered bit (yes, that's PERCENT) while bandwidth is getting CHEAPER (unlike food prices which are rising) yet their services are GETTING MORE EXPENSIVE EVERY YEAR so the last thing anyone wants to hear is their whining about not having enough money or bandwidth available...

...no, it's just part of the usual scumbag play to please Wall St, interested only in short-term returns so CEOs can get fatter bonuses. Scumbags abound.

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Linux

Re: Overly aggressive throttling?

Except when they advertize how much bandwidth they provide. Such bullshit ... it's all about control and making money ... it's the American way!!

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Stop

Re: Overly aggressive throttling?

> Network ain't gonna resize itself just when you pay.

Then perhaps it is best to not sell based on the maximum possible speed you might get in the middle of the night for 90 seconds and rather sell based on the range of speeds you can expect?

The problem these companies have (and I have no experience with Verizon but I doubt they are any better or worse than most) is that through the sales cycle they are quite happy for you to believe you will get 24Mb/s on your ADSL2 connection when they can't even saturate a link which is only running at 33% of that speed during peak times.

If you want to offer a 10Mb service, then you need to provision to deliver 10Mb. If you only provision for 4Mb on account that historical trends show that you can get away with it, then you better be good at JIT provisioning.

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"Network ain't gonna resize itself just when you pay."

The Network doesn't resize itself at all when the money that should have gone towards infrastructure improvements is pocketed instead.

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Thumb Up

Re: "Network ain't gonna resize itself just when you pay."

Yes, the yanks have the same kind of market setup for Internets as we in the UK have for power/water supply. It's crap (unless you are a shareholder of said oligopolies).

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Overly aggressive throttling?

"Levente Szileszky - Also the difference is that cable companies, unlike restaurants, make around 1500-2000% pure PROFIT on every delivered bit (yes, that's PERCENT) "

{ Citation needed }

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Coat

@Adam 1 Re: Overly aggressive throttling?

"...then you better be good at JIT provisioning."

Oh dear sweet Jesus make him stop! I haven't laughed so hard when I read they. They (the ISP, and I'm mostly talking about Comcrap here as that's what I have) can barely connect the end points. I would hate to think if they actually tried to start managing them...

There is a change coming. The ISPs and the Government won't be able to stop it.

[I'll get my coat with the Dark Net / Mesh network box in the pocket]

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Re: lackadaisical approach to their FIOS rollout.

Nope. It's affecting FIOS too. I pay the more than two Franklins a month for our triple play and 2 dvrs. So tonight I'll be talking to the roomie about sending them a letter. Account is in her name, I just send the checks.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Overly aggressive throttling?

All I can say is that I use Comcast and that there is a huge difference in Netflix performance when I turn on my VPN client. All the stutter stops, long waits, etc. all go away. Ya think they are throttling?

And to answer the person who thinks throttling down to 12Mbps is okay...I pay for a 50Mbps connection, I want what I pay for.

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Re: 1500-2000% pure PROFIT

Um, NO.

Verizon delivered a total return of 18.6 percent to our shareholders in 2013, while attracting more customers than our competitors and improving our financial performance.

http://bgr.com/2014/01/21/verizon-earnings-q4-2013/

There is no math in which 18.6% = 1500-2000%.

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Facepalm

Re: Overly aggressive throttling?

These things aren't going to resize themselves? What, if anything, do you mean with that? Ok let's start off with the 'needs time' thingy. Absolutely wrong. You seem to think that pure monopolistic capitalism is good for ALL! [hint: not] Here in the US, choice, as far as ISP's goes means either the devil you know or that other devil you knew, but ran away, screaming, from because you thought you had a 'choice'. And THAT is assuming there even was that 'choice' in the first place. Now. Let's go with the full "a capital good (needs some time to get bigger)" Hum, gee...sorta like the telephone company needed to charge long-distance fees way, way far past the time that this made any sense (er, have you ever even noticed long distance charges on your smart phone? Thought not). Or making you rent the phone in your house [note to the young 'uns: yes. Not only did they do that, but even after it became painfully clear that this was wrong, they continued to do that anyways, mostly to old people, essentially screwing them out of hundreds if not thousands of dollars just simply because no one had told them that, hey, you can go buy your own phone now] What I am trying to say here is, is that a 'capital good' {I put that in quotation marks because while I am not an economist, I play one on the Intertubes, just like you} like an ISP probably needs competition in order to be any good. On the other hand, it is perfectly obvious that without it, well, then the US will probably remain behind, oh, say, Romania in terms of Internet service. We invented it and we SUCK at it, mostly because people with deep pockets want those pockets to be far, far deeper. I think Google got into the game for this very reason. Simply to say hey LOOK! It Can be done and it is not that much of a problem! So. How does the existing structure respond? Go look at legislation in Kansas banning anything that even looks like what Google is doing in KC from ever happening again. Eh, BTW, don't know if it passed but even if not, that's enough to give pause. And I am not a Google rah/rah boy by any means. It is just that sometimes they do well and it should be acknowledged. ATT gave us the amazing Bell Labs which accidentally discovered background radiation while doing pure research. On the other hand, they sat on the discovery of magnetic tape (in the 1930's) because they feared it could impact their bottom line.

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Re: Or to look at it the other way

Had to jump in here with this

http://www.howtogeek.com/181879/ask-htg-why-is-my-download-speed-slower-than-the-internet-i-pay-for/

A thing that even geeks might not have got.

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Re: @Christian Berger Overly aggressive throttling?

> fringe group

Netflix customers are a fringe group? Last I heard it was around 1/3 of internet traffic, thats more than porn!

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Re: @Christian Berger Overly aggressive throttling?

"Netflix customers are a fringe group? Last I heard it was around 1/3 of internet traffic, thats more than porn!"

Shhh! You're ruining the capitalist messaging of these people being "abusers of the network."

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Re: Eventually they will get FIOS ...

Eventually they will get FIOS out but until then they are only patching the old system.

Expanding FiOS, I don't think so, and here is a source for that statement:

http://news.cnet.com/8301-30686_3-20001377-266.html

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Boffin

Re: Overly aggressive throttling?

ANY throttling is bad. They're selling you a link that advertises X speed. They should give you X, or at least something near X most of the time. Yet it seems that in many parts of the US, they're getting less than 50%, sometimes 30% most of the time. The FCC should be given the regulatory power to clamp down on these practices, enforce Net Neutrality, outlaw CGNAT and put a mandatory contention limit. That is, no oversubscribing above a certain ratio. ISPs have the money to upgrade their lines and most of the time, it is only a matter of upgrading endpoint equipment. They don't do it because it's more profitable to milk their subscribers without actually doing anything.

See also: IPv6 rollouts. ISPs are happier pimping off uberexpensive IPv4 addys.

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Re: 1500-2000% pure PROFIT

You are clearly unable to even read - I am talking about DELIVERED BITS, how did that become total profit rate of VZ?

Seriously, I think some people should really just remain silent, it would save them a lot of public embarrassment.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: 1500-2000% pure PROFIT

"Re: 1500-2000% pure PROFIT

You are clearly unable to even read - I am talking about DELIVERED BITS, how did that become total profit rate of VZ?

Seriously, I think some people should"

Nobody knows where you're getting that percentage figure from. Care to explain why you think it's real? Or would that be beneath you? Happy to pretend I'm personally too stupid to understand your previous (non-existent) explanation.

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Shocked I am

Truly shocked that such accusations are levelled against that fine American company.

I feel confident that Verizon are doing their utmost to maximise sharehol customer satisfaction.

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Re: Shocked I am

I feel confident that Verizon are doing their utmost to maximise ruin sharehol customer satisfaction.

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Anonymous Coward

Confirms my experience with Comcast choking Netflix (I never get >1Mb/sec any more).

I get a completely different experience with Amazon instant video (usually 8-10Mb/sec) so maybe Amazon are paying Comcast's extortion charges for "equal" treatment of their data..........

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Re: Confirms my experience with Comcast choking Netflix (I never get >1Mb/sec any more).

But some data are more equal than others.

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From a UK point of view all them speeds are rather slow.

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The problem isn't the raw performance if the wire, it's the delivered performance and throttling.

Verizon and Comcast talk about the Netflix and the like as being "heavy users" of their network. I would like to point out that's not really the case. *I'm* a heavy user of the network. I happen to be getting data from Netflix. I'm already paying for internet service. And paying quite a lot, compared to other countries and what I'm paying to Netflix.

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> From a UK point of view all them speeds are rather slow.

I'm not sure what transfer speed I get, but Netflix is perfectly OK in HD for me. How do you guys see what transfer rate you're getting with netflix?

(Youtube is another matter. It is effectively impossible to watch youtube in HD for me.)

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@Vociferous

"How do you guys see what transfer rate you're getting with netflix?"

there are several ways to do it, but if you lack specific equipment you could always connect your media player/PC/TV or whatever to a switch and use Wireshark on a PC to capture the traffic. Once you have identified the Netflix connections in the trace capture you can work out lots of things, including your bandwidth usage for that particular stream.

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The Verizon spokesperson makes this sound as if a specific user has a one-time problem.

The Baby Bells have a century of experience in making life difficult for any business perceived as a competitor, while denying or explaining away the problems when talking to regulators. Part of that script is describing every example as an isolated incident.

But Netflix has all of the data for all their subscribers, which spans multiple service providers... presumably it's not just statistically valid, it's quantitatively valid.

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I love the Verizon defense:

"No, your honor, we're not throttling, we really are this shit."

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Anonymous Coward

Certainly

I'm sure this has NOTHING to do with the fact that (at least here in the States), Verizon has partnered with RedBox for the new RedBox-Instant streaming service thingy. No, that wouldn't have any bearing on rival stream service NetFlix's speed across Verizon's network.

OTOH, RedBox-Instant wants $4 or $5 to stream a standard def movie. I don't consider that to be a bargain when you can rent one of their DVDs for $1.20 and not have to put up with stuttering and buffering...

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If you are in a place where Wide Open West (WOW) cable can be had, it is the best ISP I have used. Really good customer service. They came out on a Sunday AM to fix my service drop when a squirrel ate the wire.

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squirrel?

Your tree rodents must be pretty tough beasties.

I thought we had US imported grey squirrels here but they just munch on nuts. You must have a newer uber hard breed over there that eat plastic and copper. Please feel free to keep them. Our native reds have been turfed out of most of the UK and the relativly new black ones don't chew metal as far as I know.

Besides what kind of mad critter chews on the thing supporting it up in the air ...

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Anonymous Coward

I have experience with WOW and was not impressed. Now with their RG that is required, it is even worse.

1) Their RG cannot even handle ARP correctly. I see ARP requests on the WAN side and not only from the RG itself, but other RG's on the same node.

2) They support of VPN is horrible as well. If you manage to get a site-to-site VPN up, it better be over UDP as if it is ESP or GRE it will work and then just stop working.

3) They do not offer a DMZ Plus or bridge mode on their RG either.

4) Their DMZ mode, doesn't forward all traffic to your firewall/router.

They still don't know when they will fix the VPN issue, or the bridge mode issue or even understand the ARP issue. Contacting their supplier (Arris) is no good either. They basically only want to hear from cable companies. It wouldn't be hard to poison the ARP table on the cable companies node and cause a DoS. You could even poison the LAN side of other RG's as well.

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Anonymous Coward

Um ...

"Their DMZ mode, doesn't forward all traffic to your firewall/router."

Maybe I'm not getting what you're trying to do, but forwarding all traffic to a different router is not setting up a DMZ

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Re:newer uber hard breed over there that eat plastic and copper.

I heard it was a DARPA project to develop a crack infiltration team. Unfortunately a few of them escaped the compound and now they are breeding in the wild. They put it down as a 50% successful project.

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You know how far the US has fallen...

...when the post-socialist block in Eastern Europe has internet speeds a magnitude or two faster.

It's really sad and pathetic how the oligopoly of a few too big companies has effectively choked development in the US.

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Re: You know how far the US has fallen...

I think it's not just the oligopoly issue. It also has to do with the greed (graft?) of municipalities signing exclusive contracts with ISP's to enrich the city coffers and possibly line the politicians pockets. (Yes, I'm weaseling a bit...). This goes back to the early days of cable TV and even telephone companies, power companies, etc. So, you pay the monopoly rates (whatever the company wants to charge), deal with their lousy service and keep your mouth shut as they are the only game in town.

Where I'm located we have two choices... CenturyLink for DSL (formerly Qwest) and Charter for cable. CenturyLink/Qwest has been promising that everyone will have fiber in 2 years for the last 10 years and their DSL speeds suck but they have very good local service (not outsourced). Charter has decent speeds, but are pricier, and have lousy outsourced service.

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Re: You know how far the US has fallen...

Agree mark

Where I am (one of the big cities in the US) I have the choice of Comcast (which I have) where I pay $70 a month for 20Mbs, or ATT where I was paying $65 a month for heavily metered 1.2Mbs... yup great choices...

Comcast while fast I find WAY less reliable, and any calls to their technical support are about as helpful as talking to my brick wall as their workers are about as intelligent as a dung beetle(I do feel sorry for insulting the dung beetles), or one of our insanely corrupt politicians.

For the past 3 months I've been having connection issues, but hey since I'm stuck in a contract they can treat me like crap as I have to pay.

There were a few other companies which were great to deal with, but they all went under or were bought out by the 2, and closed up.

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Re: You know how far the US has fallen...

@ Kevin 6

Hmm. The US is in a worse state than I thought.

I'm in the UK, and I pay £37.50 ($61.50) for an unlimited 120Mbps (downstream, obviously) connection. If I bust through their fair use transfer cap during peak times (1600-2300) that speed is reduced for 2 hours by 16% (to 100Mbps effectively) as the fair use measure. Hardly a hardship for me.

It's not possible to deliver services like this to rural areas (either in the UK or the US) but if you're in one of the big cities (I'm not - I'm in a town of 100,000 people), it seems like you should be able to get this kind of service for that kind of price.

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Re: this kind of service for that kind of price.

Except the phone companies have been socialistic since their inception in the US. The profits in the big cities subsidize the rollouts in the rural areas even though the rural areas still feel like they're getting raked over the coals.

I'll admit some of it makes absolutely no sense to me. Where my parents live (rural/suburban) Verizon has rolled out FIOS for internet and phone, but not tv. They promised the tv availability was coming in two years back around 2005. They have Dish and would really like to switch to FIOS for tv as they get frequent thunderstorms that block Dish reception. I told them to take the Comcast deal if they want to replace Dish and suggested he switch the internet at the same time. That way when FIOS does finally roll out their cable subscription he can come back as a "new" customer and get a better deal.

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