back to article AT&T and Netflix get into very public spat over net neutrality

Friday is the deadline for public comment on US comms watchdog the FCC's forthcoming net neutrality regulations. And, as the deadline approaches, two of the major protagonists have got into a (sometimes bitchy) online spat. On Thursday Netflix CEO Reed Hastings published a pugnacious blog post saying that the FCC needs to …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Roger Stenning
    Meh

    "Someone must pay a cost".

    Hmm. I could have sworn that some folks already do pay a cost.

    Oh yeah! They're called "customers".

    Maybe you should think about providing them a little better service for the money they give you, instead of squeezing them for everything they've got without improving anything?

    Just saying.

    1. LarsG

      Re: "Someone must pay a cost".

      We all do, not only the fact that we pay for the service, but we have to put up with terms and conditions that we have no control or say over, we also have to put up with price rises without real consent (it's in the one sided terms and conditions) and to top it all, we never get the speeds or service we are promised.

      It wouldn't be so bad, the fact that we pay, we don't mind paying, as customers that's what we are happy to do, but the least the ISPs could do is come good on the promises of speed and when we pay for unlimited it should be a proper definition of unlimited without any caveats.

    2. JimC Silver badge

      Re: "Someone must pay a cost".

      As there is never any such thing as a free lunch, why should I, who has no interest whatsoever in streaming video, be subsidising those who do want it?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "Someone must pay a cost".

        As there is never any such thing as a free lunch, why should I, who has no interest whatsoever in streaming video, be subsidising those who do want it?

        Why should Netflix, who has no reason to deliver streaming video to you, be subsidising your internet connection?

        1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

          Re: "Someone must pay a cost".

          "Why should Netflix, who has no reason to deliver streaming video to you, be subsidising your internet connection?"

          They aren't. They're paying for the extensions to the pipework to support their own business model. This is entirely optional. Had they opted to pay nothing extra, they'd get the service that everyone else gets (and is apparently satisfied with, at least to the point that they aren't switching providers).

          If Netflix (or you) don't believe the ISPs financial figures, there's nothing to stop you building your own distribution network and making it available under a "fairer" pricing scheme.

        2. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. 99p

        Re: "Someone must pay a cost".

        Yeah, ISPs should introduce variable tariffs based upon data usage or something. Oh, wait.

        1. Bullseyed

          Re: "Someone must pay a cost".

          "Yeah, ISPs should introduce variable tariffs based upon data usage or something. Oh, wait."

          Someone who doesn't stream video has no need for a 25/25 internet connection. Therefore. anyone paying for that level is already voting yes for video streaming. There are nice little 1/1, 5/1/ 10/5 connection options for anyone who doesn't want to stream video.

      3. Jason Terando

        Re: "Someone must pay a cost".

        Not sure how things work where you are, but where I live the cable provider provides tiered services. Want to grab your email, surf the web and do the occasional secure shell? Pay for the lowest tier. Want to stream video and do a lot of online gaming? Pay for the highest tier.

        1. BongoJoe

          Re: "Someone must pay a cost".

          This is exactly what I do here in the UK.

          I have just signed up to Nefflix and Amazon Prime. This means that my monthly download has increased and I have willing paid extra for the extra usage. Before my previous tariff worked out about 2GB a day on average now, for about twice the price I get unlimited. And it's not throttled or managed in anyway.

          I now save on TV licence fee, which I no longer need, as the TV is an outdated concept (the news I can get from the internet, the weather from looking out the window, the few good British shows come onto the streams shortly and I now get the good US dramas which I could never get on BBC/ITV). So, I get what I pay for and it works out cheaper too.

          And they throw in my phone connection too.

          So, yes. It's like my car. The more I use it the more I have to pay in terms of fuel. I have no problems with this whatsoever.

      4. jonathanb Silver badge

        Re: "Someone must pay a cost".

        Get a cheaper / slower internet service if you have no interest in streaming. I chose the most expensive package from my ISP because I am interested in streaming and generally downloading lots of things.

      5. CmdrX3

        Re: "Someone must pay a cost".

        ...and why should someone who may have no interest in Facebook, Candy Crush or whatever you may happen to do on your internet connection subsidise your usage... oh yeah it's called a subscription fee, they subscribe to the service to use it for the things that they need in exactly the same way as you do. Much in the same way as my taxes might happen to help pay for the road outside your house or the street lighting in your town, it's of no use to me, so why should I pay for it for your benefit. Someone may be using your ISP even less than you... why should they subsidise what to them may be your excess usage. Basically what I'm saying is.... stop being such a selfish whiner.

      6. Tom 13

        Re: "Someone must pay a cost".

        Then lobby the ISPs to provide pricing plans so that you pay for your usage and I pay for mine. Because as long as the big players in the US are marketing one size fits all plans, somebody is paying too much for their service.

        According to the terms of service on my plan, I should have plenty of bandwidth to support my Netflix subscription without interruptions for "pleas wait - downloading" in the middle of a program.

      7. wayward4now

        Re: "Someone must pay a cost".

        I don't use netflix, so why subsidize some lardo who inhales the bandwidth I'd be using for my browsing? From what I've read one stinking PRIVATE company snarfs 1/3 of the total available bandwidth of the Internet. Damn straight, make them pay.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "Someone must pay a cost".

      I believe AT&T meant that you only pay for sending

      So now Internet will be free as long as you browse website, the payment will be a bit more complicated for emails and other traffic info, but since we don't pay for outgoing traffic when a friend call us, we might use the same concept. Still who should pay when requesting content? should the customer pay to receive content from NetFlix, or should NetFlix pay to distribute it?

      After all they already pay their access to a provider that guarantee them with some amount of traffic to all other providers? So why Comcast request additional payment? Do they really want to follow AT&T and consider that the party that generate traffic should pay?

      AT&T may be suggesting that Internet should be, for consumers, free as in free beer. But, does it make sense for all the websites out there?

  2. Andrew Jones 2
    Facepalm

    Yes, I have just seen this on several other sites, thankfully though the comments are mostly rational.

    What Mr AT&T seems to have somehow overlooked in his little diatribe is that - Netflix do pay bandwidth costs - just like every other service on the internet - in order to get their data piped across the public internet - they pay someone, probably multiple someones.

    This argument is basically AT&T saying - yes - we charge our customers a fee to access the internet, but if they access TOO MUCH internet then it should be up to all the services that they are using (though they are only targeting Netflix at the moment, but that would quickly change) to pay us some money - or - put another way - AT&T are saying - yes we charge our customers a fee to access the internet and then we get down on our knees and pray to the gods that none of our customers actually do visit anything anywhere on the internet.

    1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

      "What Mr AT&T seems to have somehow overlooked in his little diatribe is that - Netflix do pay bandwidth costs - just like every other service on the internet - in order to get their data piped across the public internet - they pay someone, probably multiple someones."

      I doubt he's overlooked it, and as the FCC's consulting on this at the moment, expect more opinions from the involved parties. Level 3's been complaining as well-

      http://blog.level3.com/global-connectivity/chicken-game-played-child-isps-internet/

      "To honor the promises they make consumers, these ISPs must then connect their networks to the other networks that can supply any Internet content the ISPs cannot provide themselves (which is most of it). It also means that as overall Internet content gets bigger (think of HD movies versus e-mails), all providers must “augment” their networks – making them bigger to accommodate the exponential growth due to the Internet’s success."

      The problem is still a split set of contractual obligations and payments. Netflix pays Level 3 to deliver content, so presumably if that content can't be delivered, Level 3 should be expected to pay some of the costs to make sure it can. Consumers then have contracts with Netflix to deliver content, and pay Netflix; and consumers also have contracts with their ISPs to deliver 'up to xxMbps' of Internet with some SLA attached.

      Content providers like Netflix, and transit providers like Level 3 & Cogent then assume that because the user is paying their ISP, all costs for delivering content should be borne by the user. Access provider networks like AT&T are suggesting the content providers should contribute more towards the costs of delivering their content. If the FCC disagrees, the access ISPs are going to have to recover increased costs from their customers, or switch more towards usage charging models to avoid penalising light users. The content providers aren't taking their positions for the good of the 'net though, they're doing it to avoiding having to pay.

    2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      What is actually says in the article (here and elsewhere) is that Netflix are paying extra for a quality of service guarantee. That's something extra, that nearly everyone else doesn't get, so it costs extra, that nearly everyone else doesn't pay.

      It's the difference between quantity of service and quality of service.

  3. chuckufarley

    Wait a minute...

    ...Aren't the ISPs' subscribers already paying for it? Isn't the only thing holding it back the fact that the ISPs would rather pay overly inflated bonuses to C level employees than upgrade before the coming shit storm shits all over the internet?

    1. DougS Silver badge

      Re: Wait a minute...

      Why collect only from the party at one end when you can collect from both? Isn't that the point of being a middleman?

      Those not from the US need to remember we're the one place in the world where the person calling and the person being called both pay for a cellular telephone call (at least for those who are still on per minute plans) Ditto for text messages. The telcos are used to screwing us, and can't understand why we don't shut up and bend over.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cable/Fixed line telcos are all trying it on

    They're just trying to get as much out of everyone as possible. Which is a absolute disgrace when today's digital highways are for an increasing amount of people, more important and physical roads.

    Governments should nationalise all telcos and treat it as a national project for the good of the nation.

    Either that, or increase and encourage more competition. These telcos are getting away with it because most consumers only have a very limited amount of "choice", often, there isn't even a choice.

    The telecoms in most places are clearly enjoying a monopoly, and their peering negotiations are often like negotiating with protection rackets. Someone needs to put an end to this.

    1. AlanS

      Re: Cable/Fixed line telcos are all trying it on

      Nationalise all telcos? Look up Britain's General Post Office/Post Office Telecommunications/British Telecom for an example. When I was at uni in the early '80s, we weren't allowed to run a network link between two adjacent buildings: it had to be run to a junction box half a mile away and then back again, by BT engineers, and took months. Good of the nation?

      1. Adrian 4 Silver badge

        Re: Cable/Fixed line telcos are all trying it on

        It was bad.

        But is the current situation truly better ?

    2. Bullseyed

      Re: Cable/Fixed line telcos are all trying it on

      "Governments should nationalise all telcos and treat it as a national project for the good of the nation."

      Except it is almost guaranteed the QoS would degrade if this happened. They need instead to remove all barriers to entry within the market and encourage new players (like Google) to decimate the current players offerings.

      At the same time, the threat of dictatorial nationalization prohibits the carriers from wanting to put in more fiber. They'd be worried the government would wait for them to build a new network, then seize it all.

  5. Version 1.0 Silver badge

    Let's bill God ...

    "Specifically, he wants networks to provide content at a set price without charging any extras of either the supplier of the consumer."

    So just who does supply the consumer?

    But seriously, typos aside, what you see here is the American AT&T cell phone mindset being applied to their Internet service - AT&T feels like it's entitled to charge customers for providing a service, charge them again when they use the service, and finally charge them again when someone else uses the service to communicate with them.

    NB. In the US most phone contracts charge for minutes used, whether incoming or outgoing unless you purchase the more expensive "unlimited" calling plan.

  6. Ole Juul Silver badge

    Cicconi has special skills

    "Cicconi argues that the increasing amounts of bandwidth being taken up by Netflix means networks need to be upgraded to handle it."

    I totally get it. If I had a restaurant with an all-you-can-eat salad bar, I'd definitely try to collect from the guy who grew the lettuce if I started getting more customers because I'd have get more capacity and perhaps even buy more chairs for my restaurant. That all adds up. The only problem for me is I'd have to learn to live with myself for being such an *ss. Cicconi is obviously more evolved than I am in that regard.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Cicconi has special skills

      Let me guess, Cicconi is of Sicilian descent, with family notably from the Palermo neighbourhood?

      AC obv.

  7. Eradicate all BB entrants

    There are plenty .......

    ....... of major tech companies in the US so why don't they all put some money in a pot and start a joint ISP? It pain me to say this but Amazon, Google, Cisco and Microsoft and the rest have the money, equipment and skills to destroy the incumbent suppliers, so why not take the short term hit and deliver the networks your customers and services need?

    After that ........ mobile networks :D

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: There are plenty .......

      Google already owns and operates a private network.

    2. ManxPower

      Re: There are plenty .......

      It doesn't matter how many ISPs are started, the telcos and cable companies still own the copper and fiber in the ground as well as the right of ways. Physics says wireless does not have the bandwidth needed. Google is willing to lose as much money as required to compete, in any other context this would be called predatory pricing. In telecom this is called "business as usual". Until the telcos and cable companies lose their government granted monopoly on the "last mile" (more correctly called the "local loop") nothing is going to change. I advocate splitting the local loop parts of the telcos and cable companies (and maybe electric) into a single separate company, require that company to sell access on a non-discriminatory basis, and heavily regulate that company. I also advocate removing the majority of regulation in the rest of the telecommunications industry. Once service providers and content providers are separated from the local loop a whole new generation of services will become available

      1. Alex Brett

        Re: There are plenty .......

        Just don't follow the model used by Ofcom in the UK, whereby they accepted BT's proposal to split themselves into three parts (BT retail, BT wholesale, and BT Openreach, with the latter being the 'local loop' part), leading to a sort of corporate schizophrenia and now basically ends up with the different parts blaming each other when something goes wrong, and bouncing the fault backwards and forwards and not actually fixing it (and trying to charge the customer for the privilege with SFI2)...

        1. Tom 13

          Re: Just don't follow the model used by

          Too late. That's sort of what happened with AT&T and the Baby Bells. And why we're in our current mess. Well, that and the laws that capped modem transmit speeds at 56K.

    3. Tom 13

      Re: have the money, equipment and skills to destroy the incumbent suppliers

      Because they don't actually have all of those. Heck, they might not have any of them.

      And even if they did, they'd still be missing the one key thing that the big suppliers pretty much have locked away: the right of way to install the wires to the actual consumer.

      I'll grant that with MS's failing business model, it's the one hail Mary pass they might want to try. Start small in the Redmond area and roll out from there.

    4. Bullseyed

      Re: There are plenty .......

      "of major tech companies in the US so why don't they all put some money in a pot and start a joint ISP?"

      They'd rather wait for the next tech innovation to make wired networks obsolete. Fiber and coax are relatively old tech. There is a large risk in investing in it.

  8. oopsie

    Pass the cost on?

    How long until Netflix pass the extra charge back to the consumer? I can imagine people being particularly overjoyed to find an AT&T surcharge on their bills, but if serving AT&T customers is more expensive...

    1. Randall Shimizu

      Re: Pass the cost on?

      Netflix is the number one downloading application on the web so they should help out in some way. Now Youtube is the number 2 downloading web app. Both Netflix and Google have peering and caching servers. The difference is that Google has many more since they have more dark fiber. So therefore Google's load is much less on the internet providers networks.

      1. Adrian 4 Silver badge

        Re: Pass the cost on?

        Are you suggesting Netflix don't pay for their multigigabyte connection to the net ? I don't think you'll find that's the case. But the ISPs sold bandwidth to their customers : they did expect them to use that to connect somewhere, right ?

    2. Tom 13

      Re: Pass the cost on?

      You might be onto a good idea there. Netflix charges their base subscription fee which appears on the bill. Then they tack on the ISP peering fee for each ISP they have to pay (with the corresponding markup for Netflix profit margin) and total it up at the bottom. And wait to see what happens.

  9. plrndl
    Holmes

    He who pays the piper calls the tune

    It's about time telcos/ISPs wised up to the fact that the only reason their customers give them money, is to access content from the likes of Netflix, Google etc. They should charge their customers for the bandwidth they use, rather than making absurd claims for bandwidth they cannot deliver.

    If they're mad enough to force short term charges on the content providers, the latter will simply build their own networks, undercut the incumbents, destroy their business, and buy their assets for pennies on the pound/dollar.

    1. Bullseyed

      Re: He who pays the piper calls the tune

      "If they're mad enough to force short term charges on the content providers, the latter will simply build their own networks, undercut the incumbents, destroy their business, and buy their assets for pennies on the pound/dollar."

      Legally the content providers are not allowed to build their own networks. The free market has been prevented from functioning by oppressive government regulation (called the FCC).

  10. implicateorder

    AT&T's internet service sucks anyway

    Don't know why people bother with AT&T's internet service. Their TV service is pretty cool, compared to antiquated options from the likes of Comcast. But their internet service is so bad it's not even funny. I and used to have their "Highest" speed option (from their U-verse product line). DSL is DSL, no matter how people try to camouflage it.

    The answer to the Net Neutrality problem is to have Internet services be a basic amenity, with minimum basic standards of service provided as an essential. Singapore has been providing their citizens wired Gigabit ethernet connectivity for years now. Why can't the rest of the world's nations follow suit?

    It'll be a great infrastructure project, provide employment in times of need across the board and eventually a revenue source.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: AT&T's internet service sucks anyway

      Singapore has been providing their citizens wired Gigabit ethernet connectivity for years now. Why can't the rest of the world's nations follow suit?

      Probably because the entirety of Singapore comprises a tiny little flyspeck island off the tip of the Malay Peninsula. Geography matters when it comes to wiring up a place. South Korea is relatively small in itself, thus their high-speed rollout didn't cost so much. OTOH, the United States is huge (one of the biggest countries in the world) with tons of rural area. In order for New York to be able to talk to Los Angeles at gigabit speeds, you needs a gigabit link all the way down, across two mountain ranges and more than a few rivers.

      1. implicateorder
        Headmaster

        Re: AT&T's internet service sucks anyway

        It's a matter of imperative. If there is a demand, there will be supply. And the long term benefits of undertakings of such a magnitude will outweigh the costs.

        There are options available via the cellular spectra to provide wireless access in the less accessible areas of the world. The current generation of this technology is called "4G".

    2. wayward4now
      Holmes

      Re: AT&T's internet service sucks anyway

      "Singapore has been providing their citizens wired Gigabit ethernet connectivity for years now. Why can't the rest of the world's nations follow suit?"

      Because Singapore is a teeny tiny dot on a map compared to the North American land mass.

  11. John Savard Silver badge

    Net Neutrality

    Somebody should pay for the cost of bandwidth sufficient to access services like Netflix.

    That somebody would normally be the ordinary Internet surfer.

    The only point of debate here is whether he is already paying that cost, and the companies wanting money from places like Netflix just want to inflate their profits. But let's assume that is not the case.

    What's wrong with offering consumers the choice of a discounted Internet service that can't handle video streaming? Well, not much; dial-up may have been derided, but it was never controversial.

    Cable Internet that only handles video streaming from sources that provide advertising revenue to your ISP... what's wrong with that? Well, the problem is that it looks like a real high-bandwidth Internet service, but it really isn't. It's confusing and deceptive. That's the legitimate argument in favor of (one of the aspects of) net neutrality.

    When it comes to torrenting and the like, though, I'm surprised net neutrality got as far as it did, given the level of concern about piracy.

    There is an argument for net neutrality, but the arguments that stand on solid foundations need to be put forwards explicitly, instead of expecting everyone to just agree that net neutrality is a sacred principle that must never be abrogated.

    1. jackofshadows Silver badge
      WTF?

      Re: Net Neutrality

      I'd have a bit more (just a smidge) empathy for AT&T were their financials not so strong and getting even stronger despite continued economic weakness. If anything, this is exactly the time to invest in physical capital given zero effective interest rates. So, AT&T just when DOES it seem the right time to invest rathee than, say, triple earnings per share?

    2. P. Lee Silver badge

      Re: Net Neutrality

      > the arguments that stand on solid foundations need to be put forwards explicitly

      He who pays the piper calls the tune. ISP's obtaining funding from places other than their current customers will slant policy towards those who pay lots. If Netflix pays... then the smaller video providers can't afford to compete.

      Finally the network is funded and controlled by Big Players with QoS used to throttle all the competition. The users with their discounted fees and paltry contributions become irrelevant to the industry. Everything descends into a maelstrom of advertising and high-fees.

      Remember that the costs passed onto Netflix by the ISP will just get fed back to the users in the form of higher Netflix fees. All that you have achieved is ceding control of the internet to the big players instead of charging users more directly.

      Only the middle-men want this kind of deal. Netflix doesn't want to raise prices to cover the extra fees - possibly becoming uncompetitive. Users don't really want network performance manipulated by backroom deals - e.g. AT&T Mobile pumping in funds to de-prioritise skype so people give up on VoIP. Only AT&T like this model because they have nothing to lose from providing a rubbish service to users and don't care whether it is Netflix or Netflix's competition who pays them.

    3. Tom 13

      Re: Net Neutrality

      The real problem that the cable companies can't get around is the appearance of conflict of interest since they are also service providers. You can't shake the nagging thought that they're penalizing Netflix not because it would cost more to build out their infrastructure, but because it competes with their buffet style television options. And with Verizon having entered the buffet style television market as well, they now count as a cable company in that respect.

      I don't have a problem with ISPs charging more to consumers who use more bandwidth. I don't have a problem with ISPs implementing QoS that prioritizes phone calls > browsing > streaming > downloading > torrents. And I'm willing to negotiate exact order or allow folks to pay to reorder depending on their usage patterns.

      What does make my blood boil is when I know how much I'm paying and I hear an overpaid exec saying he wants to charge me more through a backdoor.

    4. Bullseyed

      Re: Net Neutrality

      "Somebody should pay for the cost of bandwidth sufficient to access services like Netflix."

      I already do. I pay for a 25/25 FiOS connection. Any time my Netflix hangs, freezes, buffers, etc, that is a breach of contract on the part of FiOS and I should be able to sue them for the cost of the contract.

      Let's put that into law and see what happens. I bet suddenly the cable companies would have a whole lot of money available for putting in new fiber.

  12. lythic

    Gotta love monopoles. They have the arrogance that can only come from knowing you have no other options.

    They have no incentive to increase service speeds and throughput because they'll get the same rates regardless. There's no competition who will offer better. Then because their service sucks they get to pretend it's the websites who are too blame for the ISP's crappy service.

    You know who's able to stream Netflix just fine? The rest of the world. The sane every other country who properly regulates their broad band as common carrier, just like we did until the Bush administration.

    Nothing is going to change until we go back to that.

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      "They have no incentive to increase service speeds and throughput because they'll get the same rates regardless."

      That depends on your pricing structure.

      If you only charge for an "unlimited" connection, you have no incentive to actually transfer data or do it in a timely fashion.

      If you only charge "per gigabyte", you have an incentive to fatten up your pipes, but no incentive to iron out the wrinkles in your network that cause streaming services to stall.

      If you charge per gigabyte and also charge for quality of service guarantees, you have every incentive to improve your network.

      I have to admit I'm amazed at the quality of debate here. QoS is such a fundamental and obvious networking issue that IP and Ethernet both reserved bits in their headers decades ago even before they knew how they would be used. Since then we've had RFCs for specifying and agreeing on QoS, we've had similar "reserved bandwidth" built into USB and other standards. Whilst I could imagine that the lay audience wouldn't know this, and I can imagine that the Netflix guy chooses to ignore it because it doesn't suit his business model, I'm amazed that the El Reg readership doesn't understand that QoS (like truly unlimited connections) costs money and is only needed by a subset of customers.

      Am I missing something? Are there big differences in ISP charging schemes between the different countries of the world? Perhaps El Reg needs to write a review of how each country does it, so that commentard confusion can be dispelled in future simply by linking to the article.

      1. Tom 13

        Re: Am I missing something?

        Yep. Brits seem to have a somewhat more rational theoretical basis for charging. You pay for bandwidth and data usage. In the US most big non-cell companies charge for bandwidth and not data. Cell companies charge for both at higher prices and significantly reduced speeds.

        From the sounds of it, Brits get screwed over in the back room deals and with slow installation service even though their theoretical pricing is logical. Merkins just get bent over at every opportunity. I've been feeling bent over the last couple of months and I have better options than most of my countrymen. I have Comcast (infinity) and Verizon (FIOS) competing directly plus the possibility of satellite if I cared to explore it. There are places in the US where its only one of the two (or a Comcast look-alike) provides service and sometimes only DSL at that.

  13. Camilla Smythe Silver badge

    "Marco Civil"

    I'll be, or might be, wrong here, Perhaps some Regicide.. I mean RegiReporter can help out, but last time I looked at the 'debate', or lack thereof, it seemed that the ISP's, as middle men, wanted a system in place whereby they would simply be in control of what was delivered to the 'consumer' at 'a cost' for the 'package' to the 'consumer' without any question of the 'provider' on the other side being involved. There's a bit of history I haven't looked at but If I 'have it down' that the ISP's were 'the content providers' and would just love to be in a position to keep others 'off their patch'. Fenced/Ringed gardens etc. Apparently 'Marco Civil' and the concept of 'net neutrality' got repeatedly stuffed up because the ISP's greased up some politicians, go figure. Let me help you here.. 'You, as the peon scum, will like this because it will transfer much more your cash to me and my mates pockets. I mean why should you have to pay more to access Twitter just because some scum is downloading kilowatts of electricity. Let us package it for you. Three tweets a month. Two e-mails, scanned for content to improve your browsing experience, and a free 1 week trial of Norton Anti-Virus.. all for the low inclusive Banda Larga 1 Mega Price, 100bpdy really, 1Kibi cap, of 30 $R/Month. If you want to Tweet more you cannot but you get unlimited Tweets on our version of Tweets for half the price and the same shite connection. Upgrade from wet string to discharged batteries laid end to end, batteries not included but we will rent the ones you supply back to you for a $R11,000 a month maintenance and let them rust . Fooking Bargain. Assine Ja!. Clique Aqui... 'Click'.. Do you want Phorm with that? </burble>

    Bugger. I connect via SKY

  14. Mikel

    Fees for requiring unneeded trips

    "As we all know, there is no free lunch, and there’s also no cost-free delivery of streaming movies. Someone has to pay that cost," Cicconi said. "Mr Hastings’ arrogant proposition is that everyone else should pay but Netflix.

    The remarkable thing here is that Comcast and AT&T are generating the requirement for this traffic. When you and your 500 neighbors all gorge on the new season of "House of Cards" in HD, it only needs to be sent to each network the first time, and cached for everyone else. It doesn't change from your house to your neighbor's house. You could all be watching the same copy, rather than downloading it from Netflix separately. Netflix has these cache boxes, and provides them to the ISPs for free. But AT&T and Comcast refuse to take them, instead insisting that Netflix stream each copy separately from Amazon's datacenters - multiplying by thousands the bandwidth unnecessarily. This is as bad - worse - than streaming video, pictures, audio over the Internet in uncompressed formats, consuming bandwidth unnecessarily. It is the ISP creating this need by insisting on doing this the worst possible technical way.

    So no, nobody needs to pay that cost. It is an unnecessary cost. AT&T and Comcast insist on creating this need for bandwidth to their network that does not have to exist. They do this to drive up the cost of Netflix, drive down the quality because Netflix competes with their cable TV. It is pure unrepentant greed.

    1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

      Re: Fees for requiring unneeded trips

      "You could all be watching the same copy, rather than downloading it from Netflix separately. Netflix has these cache boxes, and provides them to the ISPs for free. But AT&T and Comcast refuse to take them, instead insisting that Netflix stream each copy separately from Amazon's datacenters - multiplying by thousands the bandwidth unnecessarily. This is as bad "

      Yes, but it's Netflix's choice complicated by Amazon's choice of location for it's datacentres. So Netflix has cache boxes. They're not free, they require space, power, cooling and bandwidth. If Netflix wants those services, most ISPs offer them as collocation and transit and charge accordingly. There are also potential neutrality implications. If ISPs offer this free to the market leader, should they also offer the same terms to any other content provider? If ISPs offer CDN services, why wouldn't Netflix use those rather than forcing proprietary systems on operators? And if ISPs do special deals for Netflix, wouldn't that be potentially anti-competitive behaviour and harm the companies like Akami etc who've invested in CDN? If there were a common caching standard and protocols, wouldn't that make life easier for everyone?

      As for Amazon, that's another example of where Netflix may have made a bad decision. AWS and CloudFront for Europe are located just outside Dublin. That may be attractive for tax reasons, but isn't exactly central for Europe and costs more for capacity than more traditional locations like London, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Paris etc. Why would ISPs pay to increase capacity to Ireland to benefit Netflix, and also Amazon when both compete with operators CDN, content and compute services.

      1. Mikel

        Re: Fees for requiring unneeded trips

        By taking the free boxes the ISP also saves millions against their own internal network costs, and makes their customers perception of the quality of their service go up. Against this power and cooling are nothing. Why Netflix and not some other? Netflix is 1/3rd of peak network traffic. Where else are you going to get these returns

  15. C. P. Cosgrove

    No, No, not Nationalisation !

    With reference to the AC above, please - No Nationalisation !

    We used to have a nationalised communications industry in the UK, it was called the GPO (General Post Office) and ran the mail, telephones, telegrams etc.. Those were the days !

    Three months wait for a telephone line, and if you lived far back in the scenery you got to share one with your neighbours. A choice of one style of telephone (it was large, black, had a dial and the handset connected to the 'base station' by a thick brown cable). Oh, and you couldn't 'buy' a phone - you rented it along with your line, but since the design never changed, you never got a newer one.

    It was only with privatisation and the introduction of competition into the industry that consumers got better service and choice. Please, do NOT bring back those glorious -happily long gone - days.

    Chris Cosgrove

    1. Adrian 4 Silver badge

      Re: No, No, not Nationalisation !

      Do you support the privatisation of roads, too ?

      We don't have many toll roads. I hope we don't get a lot more.

      1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        Re: No, No, not Nationalisation !

        "We don't have many toll roads."

        Well, we don't have many toll operators, but there is this big player called HMG who sell you "season tickets" to use their network.

        In contrast, the phone network has lots of operators, but regulations have (so far) required them to inter-operate to the extent that each customer can just choose one as their point of access and thereafter reach anywhere on the network.

        Then there's the rail network, where we have lots of operators and you can go take a running jump if you want to just use the train that's going your way.

        Then there's the benefits system, which allegedly has only one operator but operates as though every last entitlement is separately administered by splinter groups from the Judean Popular People's Front.

        There's lots of ways of organising a large network. The UK currently has examples of most of them. There doesn't (to me) seem to be any correlation between "good" and the ownership model. It's all in the regulatory framework.

    2. strum Silver badge

      Re: No, No, not Nationalisation !

      >It was only with privatisation and the introduction of competition into the industry that consumers got better service and choice.

      It was only with the introduction of digital exchanges (60% complete before privatisation and completed out of nationalised profits) that consumers got better service and choice.

  16. Jason Terando
    Devil

    It's not about bandwidth, it's about content

    At least in the states, cable and telco Internet providers have a vested interest in making streaming services, other than the ones they provide, noncompetitive. AT&T U-Verse, Time Warner, Comcast and Cox all want to you to buy streaming video content from them. Of course, the cable companies somehow have enough infrastructure to provide last-mile delivery of their content, but somehow Netflix, et al are problematic.

    I pay my monthly toll for Internet access, and I purchase the highest level provided by my cable provider. I expect data to be delivered at the advertised capacity, whether I am gaming, streaming video, or watching my wife pummel Facebook with the gazillion posts of what she's doing throughout the day.

    There is such a clear conflict of interest here, especially given the fact that most cable companies are local monopolies in wired last mile broadband (sometimes there's a telco play making it a duopoly) I don't see how you get buy with zero net neutrality rules.

  17. joed
    WTF?

    peering paradox

    So Comcast and - I bet - AT&T bring peering issue when bullying content providers into paying for delivery yet the paid service (no freebies here) they provide to their customers is by nature asymmetric. Sure you may get 15Mbs download speed (burst on a good day) but try to upload anything. Yet these leeches use the limitation of their own service to extort additional fees. And taking over TWC will surely make things even better for consumers as Comcast will secure stranglehold on the last mile and be able to dictate conditions they like (someone else has to pay up for uneven traffic even if this was their own fault). P2P will become the only option for anything from outside of their network (and they'll make up terms and condition of service that prohibited that).

    What a great example of free market in this capitalistic paradise of USA.

    1. Bullseyed

      Re: peering paradox

      "What a great example of free market in this capitalistic paradise of USA."

      Uh... what? There is no free market in the cable/ISP industry in the USA. That's the problem.

  18. cracked

    Choice

    Choice is an expensive commodity.

    And, unlike most other commodities, it seems to get more expensive the more of it there is.

    When I was little, choice meant just 3 or 4 channels - And I once heard my father say that, when he was little, choice came with no choice of channel at all!

    Then, choice started to arrive with loads of channels. So many that you needed a brick, with tiny buttons, to change between them all.

    But today, choice is even bigger than the number of buttons you can fit on a brick. Today, choice is so big that they have invented another communication system, just to fit it all in.

    But there is a problem, now that there is so much choice available.

    People only want to pay for the choices they make. The other choices, they aren't their choices, someone else should pay for those.

    That was not the case when I was little. Back then, everyone paid the same, for the few choices we had.

    So me? I am lucky, really – Though that's not what I thought at the time.

    I watched House Of Cards when choice came with just 3 or 4 channels - And it cost me nothing (though I admit, my father did not see it quite like that).

  19. James 100

    Attack on transit providers?

    From the Netflix deal we saw recently - essentially, Netflix cut Level3 out of the equation and started paying Comcast directly for the bit of transit that went to Comcast. As long as Comcast aren't charging more than Level3 were, Netflix aren't out of pocket, Comcast come out ahead - and it's Level3 getting screwed in multiple ways (both losing the cheap bulk local traffic to Comcast they could dump at nearby peering points, and losing the revenue it brought).

    AT&T are just greedy, wanting to get paid more for delivering the service they already sell - just as if Royal Mail suddenly announced they wanted to charge me for bringing mail to my door, because it's hard work. (In fact, AT&T already get to charge both ends in many cases, since peering isn't free except between the biggest operators - and even among those, there are occasional fights...)

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: Attack on transit providers?

      "just as if Royal Mail suddenly announced they wanted to charge me for bringing mail to my door, because it's hard work"

      Royal Mail already *do* charge more to bring mail to your door in a timely fashion. They also charge more for verifiable guarantees of delivery. In either case, it's up to the sender to decide whether it is worth the extra.

      1. Tom 13

        Re: Attack on transit providers?

        He used the wrong part of the analogy. Here's the corrected one:

        It's like Royal mail charged the sender for full fee (home consumer for the internet) and then wanted the receiver (streaming media vendor) to pay to get it delivered in a timely manner.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yeah, we know we agreed to provide you with electricity per month for a price, but a lot of you greedy customers are using fridge-freezers that just guzzle power 24/7! It only seems fair that Hoover and Hotpoint start paying us a contribution to expand our generation and distribution network to compensate us...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      you mean the frozen food plant next door that needed 3 new power substations installed? they should just not have to worry about the cost of supporting their power needs at all? really... tell me more how power just springs magically from no where at appears on demand, no matter how much you use...

      oh, they refuse to pay, so because their consumers think it's important, we should just deal with the extra load, and we can take the blame for this summers brownout, because we haven't had the time or the money to build a few new power plants ten years ahead of schedule...

      and then your going to bitch i raised your prices, so you could subsidize it, claiming we already make too much money, when I'm still paying off the last round of upgrades...

      1. Bullseyed

        "you mean the frozen food plant next door that needed 3 new power substations installed? they should just not have to worry about the cost of supporting their power needs at all?"

        They pay the business rate. If the power company foolishly set the business rate at a level so low that they cannot afford to expand the power systems, then they deserve to go out of business and be replaced by a competitor, who does know how to properly run their own business.

        1. Tom 13

          @Bullseyed

          Bad example out of the gate. Electrical companies in the US are regulated monopolies, so there are all kinds of distortions in that market. Not sure if it is only non-commercial or if that includes businesses as well. In the few areas where they've "deregulated" it, they've bungled the deregulation so badly the monopoly distortions look preferable.

          In principle I agree with you, it's just there are so many forces at play in that market, it's like arguing about what sunglasses are best for our red supergiant sun.

  21. Vociferous

    I don't like natural monopolies.

    They're guaranteed to result in price gouging and substandard service quality.

    So, therefore, the building and upkeep of net infrastructure should be done by the state. Same for electricity and roads.

    There. I said it. Nationalize the cable companies.

    1. Tom 13

      Re: I don't like natural monopolies.

      There are no natural monopolies. Monopolies are ONLY the creation of the state. All things run by the state eventually move to stagnation and death. It's sort of preview of the heat death of the universe.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    :face palm:

    why is everyone making a technical issue into a shadowy conspiracy to 'screw everyone'?

    when 1/3 of my transit links are consumed by traffic from ONE location, it's time to change my relationship with that location. transit bandwidth is the most expensive to purchase.

    and frankly, if your using that much of someone's stuff, it doesn't make sense to pay a third party for access to it.

    nor is it efficient , or cost effective for anyone.

    Netflix is bitching because they want the 'free peering' part of being a carrier, with out the 'manage traffic' part of being a carrier. If you want to consume a large chunk of someone's network, it's good net-manners to figure out the best way, technologically to make that happen, and then work out the money. thus it has always been with companies that understand and want the internet to thrive and grow.

    netflix's clearly willing-full misunderstanding of 'why things work on the internet' seems to be caused by the fact that growing to the size they have, in the way they have simply doesn't scale, either technologically, nor from a business model perspective.

    try shipping a few truckloads of concrete via post down a downtown city street, and tell me the city isn't going to come looking for you after your trucks spill concrete everywhere, put holes in the road from overloaded trucks, and generally make life difficult for everyone, including the person ordering the concrete!

    those who think netflix is just trying to get what's owed them need to understand that going with budget providers at their cheapest rates, because it allows those middle men to bully edge heavy ISPs because of traffic mix, is bad for the network. it's bad for consumers, and bad for peering relationships. the network naturally routes around bullshit. the fact netflix has been presented with a solution that is the same solution everyone else uses, and they don't like it, is what's going on here.

    it's not an attack on freedom, QoS, or anything else. it's just netflix complaining they have to move out of their parents basement, if they want to keep growing their mail order business.

    1. Bullseyed

      Re: :face palm:

      "why is everyone making a technical issue into a shadowy conspiracy to 'screw everyone'?"

      Because the cable carriers are throttling everyone's service to allow their inferior competing product to appear superior.

  23. RTNavy

    Confused

    I don't get it, Netflix pays for their advertised bandwidth and technology connections from their data centers (via Amazon et al) and consumers pay for their advertised bandwidth (to Comcast-Verizon-Time Warner et al) at the end of the pipe.

    So if the ISP's don't have big enough pipes, doesn't that mean they have oversold their own capacity to both ends?

    1. Bullseyed

      Re: Confused

      "I don't get it, Netflix pays for their advertised bandwidth and technology connections from their data centers (via Amazon et al) and consumers pay for their advertised bandwidth (to Comcast-Verizon-Time Warner et al) at the end of the pipe.

      So if the ISP's don't have big enough pipes, doesn't that mean they have oversold their own capacity to both ends?"

      Yep. And now they want to invent "fees" to charge people to counter their utter incompetence when it comes to properly setting prices for their products. They are so incredibly stupid that they have a monopoly (or duopoly) and can't manage to set prices at an appropriate level to make a profit and afford operating costs (supposedly).

      Such companies would go out of business and be replaced overnight if the free market were allowed to operate.

  24. Bullseyed

    ""I saw Reed Hasting’s blog yesterday from Netflix asserting in rather dramatic fashion (with diagrams) that ISPs should build facilities (he said provide, but those facilities have to be built) to accept all of Netflix’s content – indeed all of the content on the Internet – without charge," he said."

    I didn't know AT&T offered free internet service. How can I sign up?

This topic is closed for new posts.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019