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Cable Companies: We're Afraid Netflix Will Demand Payment From ISPs 200

Posted by timothy
from the who-pays-whom-for-what dept.
Dega704 (1454673) writes While the network neutrality debate has focused primarily on whether ISPs should be able to charge companies like Netflix for faster access to consumers, cable companies are now arguing that it's really Netflix who holds the market power to charge them. This argument popped up in comments submitted to the FCC by Time Warner Cable and industry groups that represent cable companies. (National Journal writer Brendan Sasso pointed this out.) The National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA), which represents many companies including Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cablevision, Cox, and Charter wrote to the FCC:

"Even if broadband providers had an incentive to degrade their customers' online experience in some circumstances, they have no practical ability to act on such an incentive. Today's Internet ecosystem is dominated by a number of "hyper-giants" with growing power over key aspects of the Internet experience—including Google in search, Netflix and Google (YouTube) in online video, Amazon and eBay in e-commerce, and Facebook in social media. If a broadband provider were to approach one of these hyper-giants and threaten to block or degrade access to its site if it refused to pay a significant fee, such a strategy almost certainly would be self-defeating, in light of the immediately hostile reaction of consumers to such conduct. Indeed, it is more likely that these large edge providers would seek to extract payment from ISPs for delivery of video over last-mile networks."
Related: an article at Gizmodo explains that it takes surprisingly little hardware to replicate (at least most of) Netflix's current online catalog in a local data center.
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Cable Companies: We're Afraid Netflix Will Demand Payment From ISPs

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  • by ArhcAngel (247594) on Friday July 25, 2014 @10:24PM (#47536365)
    Reminds me of the stories of panhandlers begging at intersections who get picked up by their chauffeurs at the end of the day to go back to their mansions.
    • by nadaou (535365) on Saturday July 26, 2014 @12:06AM (#47536745) Homepage

      Reminds me of the stories of panhandlers begging at intersections
      who get picked up by their chauffeurs at the end of the day to go back
      to their mansions.

      You mean complete imaginary bullshit made up by and propagated by greedy
      sociopaths eager to rationalize their abandonment of their fellow man?

      Yeah, something reminiscent in it.

      • by tlambert (566799) on Saturday July 26, 2014 @12:41AM (#47536823)

        Reminds me of the stories of panhandlers begging at intersections
        who get picked up by their chauffeurs at the end of the day to go back
        to their mansions.

        You mean complete imaginary bullshit made up by and propagated by greedy
        sociopaths eager to rationalize their abandonment of their fellow man?

        Especially these:

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v... [youtube.com]
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v... [youtube.com]
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v... [youtube.com] ...and lest you think this is a U.S. only thing...

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v... [youtube.com]
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v... [youtube.com]
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v... [youtube.com]

      • by evilviper (135110) on Saturday July 26, 2014 @12:50AM (#47536859) Journal

        You mean complete imaginary bullshit made up by and propagated by greedy sociopaths eager to rationalize their abandonment of their fellow man?

        "Greedy sociopaths" like EVERY charitable organization on earth, which tells you NOT to EVER give money to panhandlers?

        A huge number of those begging for money, are quite comfortable and not hungry homeless people. Direct them to the nearest shelter, instead of giving them a dollar.

        • by oobayly (1056050)

          As a teenager in Dublin, I once needed change for a bus, so went into a shop and bought a sandwich. After walking past a beggar with a sign saying "need money for food", I thought "I don't really want this sandwich", so I gave it to him. That was one withering look he gave me.

          • by rossz (67331)

            Here in San Francisco, beggers will complain if you give them non-vegan food. That's if they don't complain about getting food since a good number of them are looking for drug money.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by BitZtream (692029)

        Yea, right ... because the studies that have shown panhandlers can make well over $100/hour are bunk. 60 minutes had an episode at one point that did a hidden camera investigation that showed a man working a Florida rest area bringing in about $120/hour for 6 hours a day every day he worked, and then he went and got in his very nice luxury automobile and drove home to his house.

        Stop being such an ignorant tool.

  • Market share is as important a part of the algorithym as bandwidth.

    Don't discount the misplaced priorities of the masses.

    Prhaps they don't affect change at the ballot box, but the thongs that really matter to them can drive them into a frenzy.

    • by unitron (5733)

      Market share is as important a part of the algorithym as bandwidth.

      Don't discount the misplaced priorities of the masses.

      Prhaps they don't affect change at the ballot box, but the thongs that really matter to them can drive them into a frenzy.

      Especially if those thongs ride up and chafe.

  • by forand (530402) on Friday July 25, 2014 @10:31PM (#47536403) Homepage
    This might be reasonable if it was coming from a group who hadn't spent huge sums of money fighting to stop legislation that would have made it illegal for either netflix or comcast to charge for the specific route. That being said if Comcast, Time Warner, etc. make Netflix pay to be inside their networks now and in the future Netflix turns around and says "if you don't pay us to stay we will remove our servers from your networks and your customers will have to get Netflix through standard routing" then I have no sympathy for them but they may be right in worrying.
  • Boohoo? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Companies that are virtual monopolies (south park pointed this out) exist in local areas. I can drop netflix and get hulu, or whatever, no matter where i am. But if verizon is the only place that has dsl in my town, or a cable co dominates the market in a city and the dsl is a joke by comparison, i'm fucked. period. netlix can ask for money, perhaps. But comcast for example can simply unflap its nipple-cover and rub that shit raw, because there is no actual competition for real reals. any competitor can off

  • so it's only ok... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by epyT-R (613989) on Friday July 25, 2014 @10:49PM (#47536457)

    So it's only ok when you do it, then? What a hypocritical joke. I have a better idea: just focus on providing the most reliable bandwidth on the network for your customers as possible and let them provide the content.

  • by Karmashock (2415832) on Friday July 25, 2014 @10:57PM (#47536491)

    you've had all the advantages to do it for years... any of the major cable companies has a huge advantage if they wanted to release a video on demand service.

    but you're so determined to suck off the TV model that you've crippled yourself.

    And now you're paying the price.

    • by JDeane (1402533)

      BLASPHEMY!!! lol

      But if that happened Comcast customers could be watching Time Warner content!!! How would they maintain the iron grip of a monopoly and give the illusion of competition in the marketplace!!! Oh the secret back room agreement we have to keep prices high you say??? Hmmm good point!!!

      They had no incentive to bother with the expense of doing any sort of upgrades to anything, now that people are switching to Netflix in record numbers and they are losing some income (They are still profiting from

  • Such lies ... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by gstoddart (321705) on Friday July 25, 2014 @10:59PM (#47536497) Homepage

    If a broadband provider were to approach one of these hyper-giants and threaten to block or degrade access to its site if it refused to pay a significant fee, such a strategy almost certainly would be self-defeating, in light of the immediately hostile reaction of consumers to such conduct

    Translation: We'd do this to a small company in a heartbeat, and we're really disappointed we didn't kill net neutrality before there were enough big players to fight us on this. Unfortunately we have to make ourselves out as the victims, again.

    These guys will do anything to keep their monopolies, and want to be sure they can do anything they want to milk customers.

    As usual, this is lobbyists and lawyers and PR people making their clients out to be the poor downtrodden victim here.

    And, of course, the FCC being totally sympathetic to the plight of these poor, downtrodden monopolies, I'll be surprised if they don't give it to them.

  • by JDeane (1402533) on Friday July 25, 2014 @11:02PM (#47536511) Journal

    I guess if Netflix was doing something better than me at a cheaper price I would be worried about my customers demanding it too.

    In a sense this is already happening, Netflix is charging me per month and it was so good that I stopped paying for cable. No commercials and for the small amount of time I actually spend watching TV in a given day it is totally worth it. So now Netflix gets my money and the Cable company does not. (Well they still provide network access.)

  • To extort money from someone, you need to threaten them with something. Netflix has no leverage because their customers will most often have no choice in ISPs.
    • by freeze128 (544774)
      This reminds me of the Movie "Ransom" where a child is kidnapped, and held for ransom. The child's father turns the tables by offering a bounty on the kidnapper. Instead of giving money to one untrustworthy individual, you offer it to the public.
  • by Hamsterdan (815291) on Friday July 25, 2014 @11:09PM (#47536549)

    Cable companies have been gouging customers for decades (high prices, low speeds, low quotas, even worse in Canada), they're trying to extort streaming services. They're afraid of competition and are doing everything they can to stop them instead of competing.

    The problem is ISPs are also TV providers in most cases, something that should never have been allowed. Of course they'll try to protect their TV business. Here in Canada (Montreal), Both Bell and Videotron sell internet and TV services, why do you think they have such ridiculous quotas? 60GB is not that much, especially when watching Netflix.

    ISPs should welcome those servers since it will cut down on traffic, not charge Netflix.

  • No, they were bullying us!

    It makes no sense to people who know the situation, but maybe for a split second they can confuse someone who doesn't know the situation.
  • If you believe this, then you're falling for the exact same two-faced argument the cable providers said to the FCC back during the first net neutrality debate. I.e. they told the FCC net neutrality will absolutely DESTROY infrastructure investment, and did an about-face and told Wall Street that it wouldn't put a dent in investment.

    "Fool me once...shame on...shame on you. Fool me, can't get fooled again!"
  • Isn't that what consumers pay Netflix for (and justly so!)? And where the hell would that work? If the ISP didn't pay the bill, then the service would fail and the consumer wouldn't pay their part of the bill either. These guys are fucking insane. A chimp eating carrots out of his own asshole makes more sense.

    Reality: cable companies are afraid of Netflix because they fear the day they lose the competition with them.

  • Is it a requirement that cable company employees (probably above the level of grunt) must be utterly despicable {socio|psycho}paths, or is that the industry just doesn't attract anyone the rest of us wouldn't be better off without?

    • No, it's a special culling process. They start at the bottom, firing any personnel who actually show up at your house on time, and then they use the number of angry customer letters per month as the metric for low level promotion. At the higher levels, it's more about demoralization.
  • Whether it's the ISPs or the big content providers: The bottom line is that eliminating net neutrality would cement the power structure and disallow smaller competitors to rise. It would essentially undermine the concept of free trade and equal footing for everyone to compete in a free market.

    In the end, what would happen without net neutrality is that big content providers would have to pay ISPs. Either in form of protection money ("shame if anything happened to your fast pipe...") or in form of a bribe ("

  • is not Blu-ray quality and thats what we want.

  • "If a broadband provider were to {snip} block or degrade access to its site if it refused to pay a significant fee, such a strategy almost certainly would be self-defeating, in light of the immediately hostile reaction of consumers to such conduct."

    You mean the hostile reaction you are getting right now as you do exactly that? Like how every one of your customers that has any other option dumps you in a heartbeat?

    Yes, if anyone should be paying anyone, it is Verizon/Comcast that should be paying Netflix, as

    • by Rockoon (1252108)

      Yes, if anyone should be paying anyone, it is Verizon/Comcast that should be paying Netflix, as Netflix is providing the content that Veriz/cast sell to their subscribers.

      So then Verizon turns to their customers and says "oh you want the Netflix package? Thats $20 more per month than our basic service"

      Werent you guys just arguing that ISP's shouldn't be allowed to do that? But now you are arguing that they should be forced to do it?

  • They're a direct-to-customer subscription service.

    Demanding payment from the carriers would be cutting off their own balls in search of a hand job!

    Cable companies just don't get this "Internet" thing, do they? They can only view things through the myopia of their cable business model?

  • by Cute Fuzzy Bunny (2234232) on Saturday July 26, 2014 @11:01AM (#47538365)

    Worth it to note that the chairman of the NCTA is the former chairman of the FCC, and the former chairman of the NCTA is the new chairman of the FCC.

    Does that seem wholly farked up to anyone else other than me?

  • "Related: an article at Gizmodo explains that it takes surprisingly little hardware to replicate (at least most of) Netflix's current online catalog in a local data center. "

    It's not surprising. It all boils down to the compression algorithm used. By maintaining a library of nearly exclusively B list movies Netflix is able to seed their algorithm with just a few titles like "Plan 9 from Outer Space", "Catwoman", and "Gigli". The rest of the movie files contain quite a bit of material that has a high degr

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