Re: It's all about balance of payments
huh? since when am I an executive/corporate shill? Your Netflix BW is massively subsidized by all the other idiots who pay thru the nose for their Comcast service but don't actually use it. Uni-cast video is the stupidest idea possible.
If a substantive percentage of Comcast customers could switch in a heartbeat to another last-mile operator because Comcast was a greedy SOB and was deliberately not upgrading the peering points (or paying the likes of Level3 the amount demanded) to handle the severely lop-sided traffic flows, then yes, Comcast would magically discover they could afford to do so. Admittedly they have maximum incentive to screw over their own customers and especially where it concerns services that compete with their own. I fully support regulatory prohibition between last-mile and content ownership.
Problem with upgrading the peering points for the 4 hours/day that they get slammed to kingdom come, is that it makes no economic sense in the aggregate when it sits effectively 'idle' the other 20 hours a day. No rational CIO would go along with such a proposal on their own corporate circuits (unless the economic activity during the time period covered the costs) so why on earth do people expect Comcast to do it? eg. your steady-state is 100Mb/s burstable to 1Gb and you are on 95% billing. If you exceed the imputed 'cap' you get hit with fees as you should. Does that necessarily mean you can justify an upgrade to 5Gb:20Gb/s because for a couple hours your get a lot of traffic?
So let's work with the 1cent/GB figure even though you don't cite any evidence in support thereof. Is that what it costs Comcast to deliver from one end of it's network to the other? It is capex, physical plant, power, and people? Or is it gross expenses divided by the number of GB moved in the same time period across all network points?
So at 2.2GB/hr that means I should be able to get 410 hrs of content/mo which obviously nobody uses. I'd be very surprised if average was more than 30-40GB/mo. For $9/mo Netflix has to pay their people, pay the filthy-greedy content owners, pay all their transit providers, pay to co-lo at strategic network hops, pay for a zillion hard drives and servers, pay legacy CDN services (all gone?), and pay for object storage, etc. all of whom have to make a profit in their own right.
So while maybe the average Netflix user costs Comcast 30-50 cents a month (from a simplistic viewpoint), and let's suppose that Netflix pays their network provider the same amount, what does it cost Comcast to run a 100Gb/s WDM interconnect and backhaul those same ~20,800 streams of 4.8Mbit/sec (2.2GB/hr) to the customer during prime time? I expect it'll be a whole lot more than 1cent/GB. Is it 10x?
The US market is anything but. The subsidies are rife and the margins likely obscene. But someone has to pay the piper be it Netflix or the Comcast customer using Netflix. Comcast is under no obligation to eat the costs of "acceptable unicast-HD streaming performance" out of the goodness of their hearts. Did your residential contract come with QoS terms and maximum allowable bandwidth limits during peak times? Hell, did they even provide minimally guaranteed bandwidth figures? Or just "best effort" clauses? That doesn't mean Netflix shouldn't be spending their money with Comcast to get their distribution servers placed appropriately so that the customer experience is not unnecessarily dependent on the quality of interconnection points.
Netflix is a zero. They need to charge a hell of a lot more to stay in business once they are forced to pay last-mile and other intermediaries what providing their service truly costs. And when they do, their user-base will evaporate like a morning mist. Or they could stop being dumb and drop streaming entirely since nobody lacks the storage needed to spool it to disk ala a DVR, and so what if you can't watch something "right damn now"? Should have planned ahead. It might be interesting if they wrote their client to use Bit-Torrent style cooperation.