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The Media Businesses Cloud Networking The Almighty Buck The Internet Entertainment

Netflix Blinks, Will Pay Comcast For Network Access 520

We've mentioned several times the tension between giant streaming sources (especially Netflix), and ISPs (especially Comcast, especially given that it may merge with Time-Warner). Now, Marketwatch reports that Netflix has agreed to pay Comcast (amount undisclosed) for continued smooth access to Comcast's network customers, "a landmark agreement that could set a precedent for Netflix's dealings with other broadband providers, people familiar with the situation said." From the article: "In exchange for payment, Netflix will get direct access to Comcast's broadband network, the people said. The multiyear deal comes just 10 days after Comcast agreed to buy Time Warner Cable TWC -0.79% Inc., which if approved would establish Comcast as by far the dominant provider of broadband in the U.S., serving 30 million households" I wonder how soon until ISPs' tiered pricing packages will become indistinguishable from those for cable TV, with grouped together services that vary not just in throughput or quality guarantees, but in what sites you can reach at each service level, or which sports teams are subject to a local blackout order.
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Netflix Blinks, Will Pay Comcast For Network Access

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  • Not long (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mbone ( 558574 ) on Sunday February 23, 2014 @05:14PM (#46318143)

    I wonder how soon until ISP's tiered pricing packages will become indistinguishable from those for cable TV, with grouped together services that vary not just in throughput or quality guarantees, but in what sites you can reach at each service level, or which sports teams are subject to a local blackout order.

    Not long. The cable guys are, in this way, just like the Bellheads. They see their real moneymaker as these blasted tiered services (never mind their historical roots in equipment limitations). Soon you will probably have to buy the Disney package to be able to get the Google package to be able to get slashdot.

    What I think of the judges that thought this was a good idea is not fit for slashdot, much less polite company.

  • by Nyall ( 646782 ) on Sunday February 23, 2014 @05:15PM (#46318149) Homepage

    I'm sure netflix has employees whose home internet is provided by Comcast. What would prevent them, or any other customer, from starting up a class action lawsuit (mandatory arbitration maybe) that Comcast isn't providing advertised bandwidth?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 23, 2014 @05:20PM (#46318195)

    Maybe it is time for Google, Facebook, etc.. start charging Comcast for access to their networks?

    What a shame Netflix took a step back on this and what a shame Netflix didn't get any support by the giants of the internet.

  • by x0ra ( 1249540 ) on Sunday February 23, 2014 @05:39PM (#46318293)
    Regulation leads to regulatory capture, which leads not to communism, but to oligarchy. There has been no real implementation of "communism" anytime, anywhere.
  • by FuzzNugget ( 2840687 ) on Sunday February 23, 2014 @05:45PM (#46318343)

    Because internet, that's why. A person is smart, people are fucking retards (or something like that)

    Somehow, wiring and routing equipment complicate simple principles like preventing monopolies from engaging in extortion.

  • by evilviper ( 135110 ) on Sunday February 23, 2014 @06:32PM (#46318715) Journal

    If Comcast were Exxon They'd be receiving money from Sears when I drove my car to the mall.

    In this case, Sears intentionally blocked off their parking lots, forcing customers to drive over and park on long stretches of Exxon's roads... And Sears' solution to this is to ALLOW Exxon to host a free Sears kiosk in all their gas stations...

    The analogy is straining... but that's about right.

    Why do people accept this?

    Because Netflix's ISP (Cogent) is a douche bag of the highest order, who ALWAYS claims to be the innocent party in peering disputes, while they're almost always massively in-the-wrong, behaving unconscionably, and refusing to either admit to or remedy the problem they're causing.

    Without in-depth details about the exact details of the Netflix disputes between Cogent and Comcast, Verizon, and others, I'm going to assume Cogent are acting like pricks, as usual, and give the other ISPs every benefit of the doubt.

  • by evilviper ( 135110 ) on Sunday February 23, 2014 @06:44PM (#46318821) Journal

    Netflix is having all these problems because they use Cogent, the cut-rate morons of the transit world...

    This has happened hundreds of times, long before they carried Netflix streaming video: [] [] [] [] [] [] [] []

    https://www.datacenterknowledg... []

    etc., etc.

  • by Attila Dimedici ( 1036002 ) on Sunday February 23, 2014 @06:47PM (#46318845)
    That is not true. There have been several implementations of communism. They have all been relatively small scale. As far as I am aware, the only ones which were at all successful were religious communities (See Hutterites). The thing to notice about all of the implementations of communism is that they were purely voluntary (that is, those who did not wish to take part in communism were free to leave the group).
  • by rundgong ( 1575963 ) on Sunday February 23, 2014 @07:10PM (#46318995)
    The no cost peering agreements between the major ISPs is based on the premise that traffic flows both ways in approximately equal amounts.
    Netflix is something like 30% of internet traffic and it's mostly one way. They are so big they produce more traffic than many entire ISPs.

    They may be so big that no ISP can peer with Netflix's ISP without disturbing this balance.
    Is it possible that the solution is that Netflix basically are forced to have multiple ISPs and connect directly to many networks?

    I can see that this could lead to problems as has been mentioned elsewhere in this and many other threads, but maybe there have to be exceptions to the general rule.
  • by Grishnakh ( 216268 ) on Sunday February 23, 2014 @08:07PM (#46319389)

    Oh please; the only reason corporations exist is because the government allows them to exist by legal charter, and because they pay their employees money, which again is created and distributed by the government. With no government, paper money has no value, and corporations have nothing to pay employees. The root of it all is money, and that's a creation of the government. If the government went away, everything would fall apart because of that simple fact; people would have to move to some other form of currency, and corporations would mostly cease to exist unless they control something that can be used as currency (and even here, how would they maintain control of it, without any kind of laws or police to make sure employees don't just seize it for themselves, or murder the executives?).

    We're not headed toward "corporate anarchy", we're headed toward (if we aren't already there) corporatist fascism, where the government works for the interests of the corporations rather than the people. Basically, it's something like medieval feudalism, except instead of dukes and lords, we have corporate CEOs, and each corporation is a fiefdom, and all the employees are serfs who have very few rights. The government isn't going anywhere (and in fact, is growing in power) because it's necessary for the existence of the corporations: it creates the money they need to operate, and it maintains the military and police forces needed to protect the corporations from anyone who would threaten them.

  • Re:Brilliant Move (Score:4, Interesting)

    by matthewv789 ( 1803086 ) on Sunday February 23, 2014 @11:09PM (#46320275)

    No, not at all, and I'm fairly sure Comcast has not been.

    Previously, Netflix had to go through a middleman to get to Comcast (Cogent, as well as Level 3 and others). They already had to pay those middlemen, and the connections they were getting to Comcast were increasingly congested, probably due to transit providers not wanting to pay for peering even if they were sending a lot more traffic in one direction than the other, and thus the other end not wanting to invest in additional infrastructure to handle that increased one-way traffic. This is typical, has been the standard practice for the life of the Internet, and has nothing to do with "Comcast vs Netflix" or "net neutrality" etc. Peering agreements are supposed to assume roughly equal traffic in both directions from both parties, otherwise the one causing the imbalance in traffic is expected to pay.

    Now, Netflix are paying Comcast directly to cut out the middleman and get better, less-congested, direct connections. This means they don't have to pay the other transit providers for the traffic they'll now be sending directly to Comcast, AND it seems their payments to Comcast will be less than what they were paying Cogent et al for the same bandwidth.

    So for Netflix, this is win-win: they can cut their bandwidth bill AND get better performance and less congestion streaming movies to Comcast customers. What's the problem?

    Net neutrality is a real concern, but this particular case is not an example of it.

  • by gregor-e ( 136142 ) on Sunday February 23, 2014 @11:45PM (#46320501) Homepage
    I pay Comcast for 17 mbps of downstream internet. There is nothing in my contract that constrains where I request this data from. The fact that so many of Comcast's customers all choose to fill their paid-for internet pipes with bits from Netflix means that Comcast has agreed to provide adequate infrastructure to satisfy the bandwidth requirements its customers have paid for. If Comcast is unable to provide the bandwidth they have sold to their customers, they are guilty of selling something they don't actually possess. I believe there is a word for this.

UNIX is many things to many people, but it's never been everything to anybody.