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Thu, 17 Jul 2014

The latest round of the Netflix-Verizon tiff that I recently blogged about has now appeared in a post by Verizon and a response from Level 3. First, Verizon purports to describe the problem and its solution:

Even though there is no congestion on our network, we're not satisfied if our customers are not. We fully understand that many of our customers want a great streaming experience with Netflix, and we want that too. Therefore, we are working aggressively with Netflix to establish new, direct connections from Netflix to Verizon's network.

Which sounds good, but now look at Level 3's response explaining what would actually be needed to fix the problem:

[W]e could fix this congestion in about five minutes simply by connecting up more 10Gbps ports on those routers. Simple. Something we've been asking Verizon to do for many, many months, and something other providers regularly do in similar circumstances. But Verizon has refused. So Verizon, not Level 3 or Netflix, causes the congestion. Why is that? Maybe they can’t afford a new port card because they've run out - even though these cards are very cheap, just a few thousand dollars for each 10 Gbps card which could support 5,000 streams or more. If that's the case, we’ll buy one for them. Maybe they can't afford the small piece of cable between our two ports. If that's the case, we'll provide it. Heck, we'll even install it.

In other words, Verizon wants Netflix to make a huge investment in a "direct connection" between the two networks, when all that's really needed is a few port cards and cables, the cost of which wouldn't even amount to rounding error in Verizon's accounting (and as you can see, they wouldn't even have to spend that since Level 3 has offered to cover all the costs).

But that seems daft: Verizon customers are having a serious problem that has a simple fix, yet Verizon refuses to allow that fix. What could Verizon possibly be thinking? Here's Level 3's answer to that:

This congestion only takes place between Verizon and network providers chosen by Netflix. The providers that Netflix does not use do not experience the same problem. Why is that? Could it be that Verizon does not want its customers to actually use the higher-speed services it sells to them? Could it be that Verizon wants to extract a pound of flesh from its competitors, using the monopoly it has over the only connection to its end-users to raise its competitors' costs?

If you're wondering how Netflix and Verizon are competitors, see here.

It's worth noting that Verizon's talk about "direct connection" leaves me wondering exactly what the Netflix-Verizon deal I referred to in my previous post was supposed to accomplish, since the whole point of that deal was supposed to be giving Netflix a direct connection to Verizon's network, similar to the deal it made with Comcast. But if that were really the case, Level 3, which is a transit provider, would not even come into the picture. It's possible that, as Ars Technica notes, Verizon is simply taking time to implement the direct connections that their deal with Netflix makes possible, and until that implementation is complete, at least a part of Netflix traffic to Verizon customers goes via Level 3. But Verizon's post, quoted above, certainly seems to imply that "direct connection" is an alternative to what Netflix is doing now, not something Netflix has already paid Verizon for but Verizon has not finished implementing yet. Either way, this confusion certainly doesn't help Verizon's credibility.

I'll leave you with this statement in Verizon's post, which is particularly ironic in view of all the above:

Verizon is focused on providing its customers with the best Internet experience possible.

As long as you don't try to experience Verizon's competitors, apparently.

Posted at 23:12   |   Category: opinions   |   Tags: computers, politics   |   Permalink
Thu, 05 Jun 2014

In an entirely predictable development, at least if you've been keeping up with my previous posts on net neutrality, Netflix is now having a tiff with Verizon over slow delivery of Netflix content to customers.

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Posted at 23:26   |   Category: opinions   |   Tags: computers, politics   |   Permalink
Mon, 05 May 2014

If you've read my previous post and are still wondering, even after the Postscript, whether I was really being fair, you may be interested in this from Level 3, another major Internet transit provider like Cogent, which I mentioned in my last post. It should come as no surprise that they are also having problems with major broadband providers.

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Posted at 21:43   |   Category: opinions   |   Tags: computers, politics   |   Permalink
Tue, 29 Apr 2014

In the wake of the Federal Court ruling in January that struck down key portions of the FCC's Net Neutrality regulations, it looks like the agency is now considering allowing ISPs to have a "fast lane" for preferred traffic, which means traffic that content providers are willing to pay the ISP extra for carrying. Needless to say, the content providers, such as Netflix, are not in favor of this. And also needless to say, ISPs like Comcast are hastening to assure us that these aren't the droids we're looking for. (Notice that the Netflix article is full of technical details, while the Comcast post is just corporate doublespeak--not to mention that the boilerplate disclaimers are more than twice the length of the actual post.)

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Posted at 23:14   |   Category: opinions   |   Tags: computers, politics   |   Permalink
Mon, 28 Apr 2014

Some time back I made a proposal for campaign finance reform. Now I find that Senator Bernie Sanders has proposed a constitutional amendment that is identical to my proposal. I don't know if Sanders reads this blog, but however he got the idea, I'm for it.

Posted at 17:18   |   Category: opinions   |   Tags: politics   |   Permalink
Wed, 26 Mar 2014

The Daily Telegraph reports that, based on the latest draft of the IPCC AR5,

The United Nations will officially warn that growing crops to make "green" biofuel harms the environment and drives up food prices

(hat tip: Watts Up With That ). At first glance, this looks promising, an actual outbreak of sanity for the IPCC, something like admitting that climate model forecasts are inaccurate. But just as with that previous item, you shouldn't get your hopes up too much; as you can see even from the brief quote above, the obvious reason for not using food crops to make biofuels (the one that's in the title of this post) is not the primary reason the IPCC gives for their about-face on this issue.

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Posted at 22:32   |   Category: rants   |   Tags: politics, science   |   Permalink
Thu, 20 Mar 2014

Some time back I noted that what was then a common sentiment (I found it in an op-ed in the New York Times, which is proof of it being a common sentiment if anything is) about the Constitution seemed backwards to me. The claim was that we were getting into trouble about the "fiscal cliff" because we were too obsessed with following the Constitution; but as I showed in that post, the real problem was that we weren't following it enough.

Now I've come across a lecture given by Michael Karman at Johns Hopkins University on Constitution Day, 2010, entitled "A Skeptical View of Constitution Worship", which goes even further than the NYT op-ed did. My basic response is the same: the problem is not that we "worship" the Constitution, it's that we ignore it.

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Posted at 23:58   |   Category: rants   |   Tags: politics   |   Permalink
Thu, 16 Jan 2014

It's been obvious for quite some time, at least to anyone not marinated in the ideology of climate change alarmism, that the models being used to produce the IPCC's forecasts of doom do not match reality. But now it's become so glaring that even the IPCC itself has admitted it in the Summary for Policymakers (SPM) from Working Group I for its Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) (hat tip: Watts Up With That ).

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Posted at 23:55   |   Category: rants   |   Tags: politics, science   |   Permalink
Wed, 27 Nov 2013

A few weeks ago the Federal Reserve announced that it would continue "quantitative easing" at its current level. The reason, as explained in the press release just linked to (though in rather oblique language, as is the usual practice with such things), was basically that, while the economy appears to be recovering, the Fed isn't sure that it's recovering strongly enough. Which leads to the obvious next question: how much longer will this have to go on?

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Posted at 23:31   |   Category: rants   |   Tags: economics, politics   |   Permalink
Fri, 25 Oct 2013

A while back, I advised climate change alarmists to get off the soapbox. Now it appears that I have to extend that advice to scientists more generally.

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Posted at 21:38   |   Category: opinions   |   Tags: politics, science   |   Permalink
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