Showing posts with label internet service providers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label internet service providers. Show all posts

Monday, January 5, 2015

The Misconception About Internet Fast Lanes

In the ongoing discussion about net neutrality, there’s been quite a bit of confusion about so-called fast lanes on the Internet. I’d like to spend a few moments clarifying what these fast lanes are and why they are not a good thing. While some media reports have suggested otherwise, Netflix and other Internet content providers are not using fast lanes to deliver their content to consumers.   

First, what’s a fast lane on the Internet?  Simply put, a fast lane is where one person’s data travelling on an Internet Service Providers (ISPs) last-mile network gets priority delivery over another’s. A helpful way to think about fast lanes is by visualizing cars on a multi-lane highway where one of the lanes can only be used if you pay a toll. The toll lane only becomes attractive because the other lanes are too slow. Only the person controlling the network -- the ISP -- can slow down traffic to make someone else’s go faster.

From a network architecture standpoint, fast lanes aren’t that useful if you’re managing your network effectively. From a marketing perspective, however, they might be quite useful as a way to sell “premium” access to content providers.

This creates two fundamental problems.  Allowing fast lanes gives ISPs a perverse incentive to boost revenues by allowing their networks to congest. It also gives them outsize power to pick winners and losers on the Internet. Those who can’t pay for fast lanes will suffer, entrenching incumbents while undermining the innovative power of the Internet. While the largest ISPs have said they’re not interested in creating fast lanes, one need only look at how they have sought to monetize their network interconnection points to get a glimpse of the future.

It is at these points -- where our traffic enters an ISPs network -- where Netflix and others have been forced to pay Comcast, Verizon, AT&T and Time Warner access fees to reach our mutual customers. Without those payments, ISPs allowed these connection points to congest, resulting in a poor video streaming experience for Netflix users on those networks. While Netflix was able to meet the demand for payments, we continue to believe this practice stands in contrast to an open Internet and all its promise.

After we paid up, our traffic began moving at the same speed as everyone else not facing congestion. This is important, because this is where confusion often arises. Netflix and other content providers are not using fast lanes when they connect with an ISP’s last-mile networks. That is true in cases where we’ve had to make payments as well as when ISPs take advantage of Netflix’s Open Connect Content Delivery Network (CDN). Open Connect brings Netflix content to the location of an ISPs choice, usually at a common Internet exchange or through localized caches. It doesn’t prioritize the data Netflix users have requested. Rather it makes delivery of it more efficient for us and for the ISP.

Right now, there are no paid fast lanes on the Internet. That’s a good thing. A large part of the debate about net neutrality is focused on ensuring it stays that way. If ISPs are allowed to sell fast lanes, competition for various Internet sites and services will become less about the value of what’s offered and more about who can pay the most to deliver it faster. It would be the very opposite environment than the one the Internet created.

Ken

Ken Florance is vice president of content delivery at Netflix.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Netflix ISP Speed Index for August

We have added August data to the Netflix ISP Speed Index, our monthly update on which Internet Service Providers (ISPs) provide the best prime time Netflix streaming experience.

In the U.S., interconnection agreements with AT&T, Time Warner Cable and Verizon resulted in significant increases in Internet speeds for all three providers in August. AT&T U-Verse led the way, with its speed jumping more than one Megabit per second (Mbps) to 2.61 from 1.44 over last month and rising seven spots in the U.S. speed index to No. 7. Verizon FiOS speeds increased to 2.41 Mbps from 1.61, and Time Warner Cable rose to 2.59 this month from 2.16 in July. These dramatic increases pushed the U.S. average speed to 2.57 in August, now ranking 11th among the countries we track -- ahead of Brazil and Chile.

In Brazil, Oi Velox emerged from last place, increasing its speed to 1.55 Mbps in August from 1.22 last month.

In Norway, UNINETT dropped to last place as Eidsiva and Broadnet both increased their speeds to 2.98 Mbps and 2.95 Mbps respectively.

The Netflix ISP Speed Index is based on data from the more than 50 million Netflix members worldwide who view over 1 billion hours of TV shows and movies streaming from Netflix each month. The listed speeds reflect the average performance during prime time of all Netflix streams on each ISP's network and are an indicator of the performance typically experienced across all users on an ISP network. A faster network generally means a better picture quality, quicker start times and fewer interruptions. 

Note: The average performance is below the peak performance due to many factors including the variety of encodes Netflix uses to deliver the TV shows and movies as well as the variety of devices members use and home network conditions. These factors cancel out when comparing across ISPs.


The latest regional rankings are below.


Anne Marie


Anne Marie Squeo is a member of the Netflix communications team.








Thursday, September 4, 2014

Netflix Supports FCC Chairman's Call for Increased Broadband Competition

Nearly everything we do today requires an Internet connection. Its persistent, increasing presence in our lives makes today's comments by FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler all the more important.  If the future of broadband competition is 'inexorably tied' to America's economic opportunity, how can we settle for a situation where nearly three-quarters of Americans lack a competitive choice for fast Internet service? 

Given today's broad array of Internet uses, 25 Mbps is 'table stakes' for consumers. These fast connections enable consumers to enjoy movies, games, online classes and more. Open Internet connections enable innovators to build the next-generation of Internet companies with the assurance their content or application can reach consumers without interference. Efficient businesses such as these make the U.S. more competitive with other countries that enjoy faster Internet speeds at lower costs. 

As is the case in most industries, improvements such as faster speeds or lower prices generally result from real competition. Without it, there are no market pressures to set appropriate pricing and no alternatives for consumers and businesses alike. As Chairman Wheeler rightly points out, “last-mile power cannot be a lever for gaining an unfair advantage.” 

In his speech and Agenda for Broadband Competition, the Chairman forcefully stated a hard truth - there simply is not enough competition to protect consumers and businesses who rely on the Internet. It takes real leadership for our country to chart a positive agenda for bigger, faster, cheaper broadband and all the innovation it brings. 

-Christopher 

Christopher Libertelli is Netflix's vice president of global public policy

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Netflix Submits FCC Comments on Proposed Net Neutrality Rules

We submitted our comments to the Federal Communications Commission in the Net Neutrality proceeding (which the FCC calls “In the matter of protecting and promoting an open Internet.”) We believe the way the FCC handles this issue will have a huge impact on the Internet innovation that has increased consumer choice in so many ways.   


Here are a few highlights from our filing:

  • Netflix believes that achieving strong net neutrality is critical to maintaining a vibrant, open Internet to promote free expression, diversity of content, and continued innovation. ISPs should not impede, favor, or charge Internet services that consumers choose to use.  To prevent this, the Commission should adopt clear enforceable anti-discrimination and no-blocking rules for the last mile.  The Commission also must require ISPs to provide sufficient interconnection to cover the capacity demanded and paid for by their customers, without charging access tolls to online content providers. (Comments Page 25)


  • The Commission’s proposal does little to protect the open Internet.  In fact, by endorsing the concept of paid prioritization, as well as ambiguous enforcement standards and processes, the Commission’s proposed rules arguably turn the objective of Internet openness on its head—allowing the Internet to look more like a closed platform, such as a cable television service, rather than an open and innovative platform driven by the virtuous circle. (Comments Page 4)


  • Allowing ISPs to monetize congestion will likely create more congestion, threatening the current model that has made the Internet so successful, and likely raising barriers for innovative services.  (Comments Page 6)


  • Title II provides a solid basis to adopt prohibitions on blocking and unreasonable discrimination by ISPs. …The D.C. Circuit in Verizon pointed to the Commission’s failure to reclassify broadband Internet access as a telecommunications service under Title II as the chief impediment to a solid jurisdictional basis for meaningful open Internet rules. (Comments Page 21)


Anne Marie


Anne Marie Squeo is a member of the Netflix communications team.