Google Fiber: You Know How Comcast Is Making Netflix Pay Extra? We Don't Do That Kind Of Crap

from the good-for-them dept

The folks behind Google Fiber have fired a not-so-subtle shot at Comcast and Verizon for their recent efforts to make companies like Netflix pay extra. As we’ve noted, the big last mile access broadband access providers have realized that they can effectively get companies to pay twice by clogging certain points in the network. Even more nefarious, they’re able to do this without violating a narrow view of “net neutrality” because net neutrality is focused on the last mile, rather than interconnection and peering. It’s a really scammy process, which is part of those big broadband providers’ attempts to extract monopoly rents out of their control over the last mile.

Google Fiber has stayed out of this debate for a while, but just fired a clear shot in the fight, with a blog post that never mentions Comcast, but more or less screams: You know that bullshit that Comcast and Verizon are pulling? We don’t do that. Instead, they note two important things: (1) contrary to the claims of Comcast, online video traffic is in no way overwhelming the network, and (2) it’s easy to help upgrade the setup for Netflix and others for free:

We have also worked with services like Netflix so that they can ‘colocate’ their equipment in our Fiber facilities. What does that mean for you? Usually, when you go to Netflix and click on the video that you want to watch, your request needs to travel to and from the closest Netflix data center, which might be a roundtrip of hundreds or thousands of miles. Instead, Netflix has placed their own servers within our facilities (in the same place where we keep our own video-on-demand content). Because the servers are closer to where you live, your content will get to you faster and should be a higher quality.

We give companies like Netflix and Akamai free access to space and power in our facilities and they provide their own content servers. We don’t make money from peering or colocation; since people usually only stream one video at a time, video traffic doesn’t bog down or change the way we manage our network in any meaningful way — so why not help enable it?

But we also don’t charge because it’s really a win-win-win situation. It’s good for content providers because they can deliver really high-quality streaming video to their customers. For example, because Netflix colocated their servers along our network, their customers can access full 1080p HD and, for those who own a 4K TV, Netflix in Ultra HD 4K. It’s good for us because it saves us money (it’s easier to transport video traffic from a local server than it is to transport it thousands of miles). But most importantly, we do this because it gives Fiber users the fastest, most direct route to their content. That way, you can access your favorite shows faster. All-in-all, these arrangements help you experience the best access to content on the Internet — which is the whole point of getting Fiber to begin with!

So, what’s Comcast and Verizon’s excuse?

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Companies: comcast, google, netflix, verizon

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Comments on “Google Fiber: You Know How Comcast Is Making Netflix Pay Extra? We Don't Do That Kind Of Crap”

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132 Comments
Joe says:

Re: This line seems rather fitting:

Well duh, traffic drives subscriptions. If every single site on the WWW didn’t work (or even just the video ones), I’d drop my ISP as fast as you can say GTFO. If it’s a duopoly and both are doing it, expect some lawsuits and fights over franchise agreements. There’s a reason that VPN companies have been doing quite well, lately!

David says:

Re: Re: Yeah but...

They can fleece Netflix for their own choice of using the backbone unnecessarily. They’ll probably put up secret proxies anyway, with the NSA providing the necessary DRM removement and reattachment for the bulk of the stream in return for getting customer data and snooping taps.

So many people to screw over, so few hours in the day…

Chronno S. Trigger (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Yeah but...

Note the qualifiers “They can”, “They’ll probably”, but you don’t provide any logic as to why they would. Just because they can do something doesn’t mean that there’s any reason why they would do that thing.

This article, on the other hand, does provide logic as to why they won’t. It just makes better business sense to not.

Google Fan says:

Re: Re: Yeah but...

@berenerd
you have to be a dumb as a box of rocks if you think Comcast and Verizon are better then google.. two companies that are more concerned about robbing people by not only over charging people for their crappy service but charging business’ twice for using their service so now the price of getting the contents we want and need have gone up.. look at Netflix, they’ve alrdy gone thru a price hike because of extra money out of pocket given to Comcast… What do you think would happen if Google neva came along.. All business’ attached to the next will either serve buy increasing their prices or die because they cant afford to pay big internet service providers.. Im glad to see Google is evening out the playing grown and I see in the future allot of heavy hitters in the internet business either changing their ways or die to the side… WAY TO GO GOOGLE!!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Yeah but...

Exactly, ISP’s claim that it’s cheaper to have less competition because they have a natural monopoly and so they benefit from being able to better cover their high fixed costs. But here we have a competitor that’s much smaller in the market able to offer a much better service for a cheaper price.

and, as pointed out, other countries (regardless of variances in population densities relative to U.S. states) have managed to offer much better services for cheaper prices.

The U.S. is only falling behind because our politicians are bought and paid for to give these ISP’s an unregulated monopoly. This is economics 101, unregulated monopolists raise prices and offer worse service and they don’t innovate and what we’re seeing here is consistent with what we know about economic theory. Higher prices, worse service, no innovation.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Yeah but...

Plus ISP’s are in the ISP business so they are already setup to provide ISP services and they (should) have people that are more familiar with how to setup, deploy, upgrade, and maintain such services. They’ve been doing it much longer and have a lot more experience and probably already have arrangements of how they get the necessary supplies (either in house or arrangements with suppliers), they already have an experienced labor force and have an easier means of acquiring new relevant workers when necessary, they have experienced lawyers to deal with the legal aspects of the business, etc… Google is new to the industry. IOW, incumbent ISP’s have the first mover advantage and yet they choose to abuse their monopoly power to offer everyone a worse service for a more expensive price.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Yeah but...

So, a company can’t have a real opinion or point to make until they’re reached exactly which percentage of market penetration?

I need to keep notes so I know when the argument switches from “they’re not big enough so they don’t count” to “people are stealing from us” and “we need the government to protect our business model” as it has during the endless arguments over alternative business models elsewhere.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Yeah but...

Not really. Other isps throughout the world do the same because it’s more profitable.

I get free usenet, free file backup etc… user services, because it’s cheaper for the isp. That’s just the “user service” end.

My isp has netflix on it’s network and youtube videos too. What google says is relevant.

mcinsand (profile) says:

some BS from AT&T on Google Fiber

A rabidly loyal AT&T employee tried to tell me that DSL is highway and Google Fiber is a backwoods dirt road. This is his analogy, and the only reason that I am not using quotes is some uncertainty over whether he put ‘high speed’ before ‘highway,’ and he may have said ‘country’ instead of ‘backwoods.’ Nevertheless, he was declaring that copper DSL is superior to Google Fiber because, DSL has a dedicated line to each customer where Google Fiber has one pipeline with customer taps along the way.

Dear Google Fiber, please come to NC ASAP!!!

Bengie says:

Re: some BS from AT&T on Google Fiber

DSL is “dedicated” between the customer and the node, but once you hit the DSLAM, you’re just getting a time share.

An overloaded DSLAM is just as bad as an overloaded cable node.

Google fiber is actually true dedicated bandwidth to the trunk. Each customer gets a 1.25gb/1.25gb slice of bandwidth out of a 40gb pie, with a max of 32 customers. 40gb split 32 ways is 1.25, imagine that.

The only thing Google Fiber shares is the fiber and that’s only past the Fiber Hut. Between the Fiber Hut and the customer, it’s dedicated. The only reason they share fiber at the hut is to reduce clutter.

Not only that, but customer’s do not share time slices, they actually get a separate lambda of light on the fiber, so they do not share bandwidth AT ALL. So it’s not a single 40gb optic with 32 customer, it’s 32 optics with 32 customer and 1 fiber.

Bengie says:

Re: Re: Re: some BS from AT&T on Google Fiber

One of Google’s engineers had a blog post a long while back talking about using WDM-PON because it allows them to use true dedicated bandwidth, while reducing power consumption over a P2P active link. Instead of 32 active Ethernet ports using ~2 watts each, they have 1 WDM port using 8 watts, while still providing dedicated bandwidth.

He also went in to talk about some of the cool features that these programmable photonic devices use, which includes tweaking timings, wave lengths, and spread. This is a big reason why they could not provide 1gb/1gb out of the gate, but was more like 700mb-800mb. They had to tweak the lambas to find the best fit for their fiber and optics.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: some BS from AT&T on Google Fiber

True, but I arrived at “lying” a little more circuitously than that. I’m assuming that the employee was simply repeating what AT&T told him. AT&T certainly knows that the statement is untrue. The employee is acting as the company’s mouthpiece in this regard and therefore the company is lying. The employee himself may or may not be, but there’s still lying happening.

Aaron (profile) says:

Re: some BS from AT&T on Google Fiber

That is strange to me. Mainly because a couple years back I was living in the town next over where I had AT&T DSL (Which was complete shit btw, the router kept kicking off. Uninsulated line wires and redneck ingenuity may have had a part to play, though…) which I had to cancel for a month or so. Now, apparently, between that time AT&T laid some FiOS in that town which was strange to me because it’s only a town of ~4,100 people and county pop of ~41,000. Because I called them back wanting my service back on, same shitty service yada yada. “I’m sorry sir, but we’re only offering AT&T U-Verse as we’ve laid fiber optics for this service and you won’t be able to use the same router as you did previously.” What? WHAT!? Who in their right mind would pay for some BS like that when I was fine with the service I DID have, I was at least able to play XBL and not want to put my controller where my tv screen used to be. Anyways, I told him do it and I lived unhappily ever after with the same fucking service I had the 2 months befire under a different name. Working 12 hour 5 day work weeks tends to not make you give a damn. So either you’re fibbing or AT&T got some ‘splainin to do.

Anonymous Coward says:

Google Fiber would dominate the broadband market in America with this attitude. I’m not saying whether that is good or bad but their approach to business, high speed, and far better understanding of what people actually want would put them light years ahead of any competition if they would only reach more places.

Violynne (profile) says:

So, what’s Comcast and Verizon’s excuse?
Haven’t you been paying attention?

Their response is always, “We can’t upgrade anything but our fees. What are you going to do about it? Go somewhere else? We’ll laugh now.”

Personally, Google is going to make this situation much worse when their fiber rolls out even further. Imagine, you get free (or low cost) and faster connection to the internet, and the only thing slowing you down is the fucking amount of ads it’ll push on the service.

I’d rather pay Comcast for a slower connection than use a service with the abusive and intrusive nature of Google ads.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Do what you want – the beauty of true competition is that you don’t personally have to do anything to get better service in the long run. If competition existing, you will reap the benefits. Microsoft were forced to finally update its dangerous, buggy, primitive IE6 due to competition from Firefox even if you stubbornly kept to what came installed with XP. Lack of competition is what kept Microsoft from offering its customers better software, just as it’s convinced Comcast to add caps instead of capacity.

I do love paranoid ramblings about fantasy scenarios regarding Google ads, though. I don’t suppose you have any actual evidence that free users of Google’s service are experiencing a massive increase in ads, let alone evidence that any of them are experiencing speed problems as a result?

Aaron (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

“- the beauty of true competition is that you don’t personally have to do anything to get better service in the long run. If competition existing, you will reap the benefits”

Which is exactly what happened in February I believe when TMobile (?) started rolling out some competitive data plans. In turn, at&t increased my mothers 1 gig mobile share plan to 2g for an additional $5 then another 2g for FREE in March, or April for a total of 4g for $5. Twice the dataz, where beforehand going from 1g tier to 2g tier was a $10-20 difference. Easy to guess why they didn’t do it before. No? Because they COULD, they just didn’t WANT to. So, because of competition my mothers data limit was increased to 4x the original for $5. Which when you think about it is funny because carriers tout mobile bandwidth as the nectar of the gods in low supply that shouldn’t be given away willy nilly without milking all that money from that argument. But yes, when competition is there, so are the benefits. Which is why when her contract ends (she didn’t know any better? man) she’ll be switching to ST for the same amount of data and %50 better reception for almost a 1/3 of the price. Competition is the tits.

Go Goggle says:

Re: Re: Re:

you are absolutely right.. it takes competition to get things right. think about it for a moment.. these big time internet providers where bout to rape people pockets because they didn’t have no one but themselves to compete with, Google Fiber comes along and levels the playing ground to keep these big ova sized internet providers from robbing the ones that keep them in business… These internet company knew that in the future they would rape people’s pocket because every day this country gets more and more reliant on the use of internet so why not get even richer while it happens so they realized that now would b the perfect time to line their pockets even more until Google came along and changed the game… I say kudo’s to Google Fibers for doing what they are doing. Helping to keep these over baring internet providers in check.. look what Comcast did, they went from uncapped to capped, why you say, because they want people to pass their limit because its more money in their pockets… I say kudo’s to Google Fiber, keep doing what you are doing..

wallyb132 (profile) says:

Re: @Violynne Re:

After reading your statement, I think its entirely possible that you may be retarded, have you seen a doctor lately? If you haven’t, I do suggest, for your own well being as well as those around you, that you do so without delay. your statements indicate that you may be an immediate danger to yourself or others.

You do realize that google fiber is a fee for service operation, right? its not ad supported. Therefore you’re to see any more ads on google fiber than you are on comcast. You’ll actually probably see less, because comcast has spent many millions of dollars on equipment to inject their own ads in to the webpages you view, on top of those already placed on the page by the site owner / content provider.

Google doesn’t do these sorts of things. Not only would that be a complete slime ball maneuver on googles part, it may well hold legal implications as well, considering the nature of their business and the role they play in bringing information to you to begin with. it would almost be like double dipping on ad revenue.

Michael Stoltze (profile) says:

Re: Re: @Violynne Re:

I agree with most of what you just said, and am tired of this straw man argument that Google will insert ads…irregardless of whether Google and Comcast insert ads, programs like AdBlock will pivot or a new company will form to block them….problem solved…worst case scenario of this whole ordeal is more competition in a sadly monoplolistic market.

wallyb132 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: @Violynne Re:

It baffles me how some people have such a difficult time understanding the internet advertizing game.

Its quite simple, if you want see web ads use IE, if you dont, use firefox with adblock plus, there is a reason why its the number one most popular firefox addon, by orders of magnitude.

I discovered adblock plus many years ago and never looked back.

I remember several years ago, there was some nut job bible thumper with a keyboard named Danny Carlson making this big todo about adblock plus stealing his revenue, as he put it, take food off of his children’s dinner plates (my first thought was holy shit, he reproduced!). He was so proud of himself, he thought he had solved the problems of the world when he wrote some retarded little script that was supposed to detect adblock plus and redirect you to a website that tried to brainwash you about why advertizing is good and blocking it is a mortal sin, and adblock plus was the root of all that is evil.

I went to his website to see what all the todo was about and nothing happened, I guess he wasn’t smart enough to code around noscript as well, I was so disappointed…

Josh in CharlotteNC (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Google doesn’t “push” ads. If you choose to use a Google service like Gmail or Youtube, or if you visit a website that uses their ad service, sure you’ll see ads. But to call that abusive or pushing shows how little you understand how things work. Google benefits from more people using the Internet in general, so it doesn’t need to make money from their fiber.

On the other hand, it is Comcast who is hijacking or redirecting unknown DNS queries to their own page with ads that benefited Comcast.
http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2009/08/comcasts-dns-redirect-service-goes-nationwide/

David says:

Re: Re: Re:

Google doesn’t “push” ads. If you choose to use a Google service like Gmail or Youtube, or if you visit a website that uses their ad service, sure you’ll see ads.

You can be pretty sure that if you are using Google Fiber, those ads will be stored and injected by local proxies, not costing Google any tangible amount of backbone bandwidth. Probably pre-localized.

Google can offer local proxy integration services like that to Netflix exactly because they use this kind of setup for their own websites/services.

Joe says:

Re: Re: Re:

You can easily disable that ‘feature’ by clicking on some link in the browser. You could also just use DNSCheck or the like (see grc.com) and put the fastest 5 on your PC as DNS servers. The more evil thing is when DNS ports get redirected to an ISP’s servers no matter the destination (or even the packet type!).

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

I don’t use Google’s stuff either, but I think you’re mistaken on two counts.

First, there’s no real indication that Google is thinking of pushing ads through Nest (although it wouldn’t shock me if they do eventually consider this) That business came from a letter to Congress that including a lot of wildly hypothetical items to make the point that what constitutes “mobile advertising” is not clear-cut.

Second, none of that has anything to do with Google fiber. Google is certainly not going to be pushing ads through their fiber service in any way other than how they “push” ads through the internet already.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I think he’s referring to Google’s mention of this sort of thing in their SEC filing. For a representatively bad report of this: http://www.pcworld.com/article/2157423/google-warns-of-ads-on-the-nest-google-glass-and-more.html

Much of the press is reporting this in an extremely misleading way. Google has no plans to put ads in Nest. Even the story I linked to above, despite having a title that indicates otherwise, acknowledges this: “Google said that with Nest, however, it doesn’t plan to add ads.”

In addition, the CEO of Nest has said, trying to clear up the confusion, has confirmed there will be no ads on Nest: http://bgr.com/2014/05/22/google-nest-advertising-plans/

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Yes, that’s about right. It’s becoming something of a pet peeve of mine, so I can’t resist. As someone who thinks that Google does a lot of bad things — to the point where I don’t use them myself — it pains me when people criticize them for things that are just false. It makes everyone who is critical of Google look like a bit of a loon, and makes actual criticism of them less effective with the general public as a result.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

If you have a valid criticism. Keep it valid by not using it in an irrelevant argument. You hate google. We get it. You may even a have valid reason but…

“I’d rather pay Comcast for a slower connection than use a service with the abusive and intrusive nature of Google ads.”

How the fuck is google as an isp forcing ads on it’s customers? You made that shit up.

Your Logic:

Hurr durrr, I’d rather shit in the sink than use Google because of abusive and intrusive ads.

How is google forcing ads on your toilet, so much so that you would rather shit in the sink?

Rally for a shittier internet service OR shit in the sink if you want. Either way… (notice the theme here)…. Either way, you are full of shit.

The sink ——–>

Anonymous Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

I have been wondering about this acquisition since I first heard about it. The best rationalization I can come up with is to learn about behavior.

I’ve got three Internets to bet that some social engineer at Google thinks they have an algorithm that will translate behaviors learned from Nest usage into better understanding for ad delivery. I’m thinking that it is all hogwash, but I am not Google.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I doubt that they’re thinking that directly. I bet they’re thinking two different things (aside from making money from direct sales of the units).

1) This provides yet another data point that can help with targeting. On a rough level, they’d know who likes it warm and who likes it cool. That alone would help refine your consumer profile. By analyzing patterns, you could discern other things too (who spends more on heating, when people tend to be home, etc.)

2) They want to get into the ubiquitous computing game (I refuse to say “internet of things”). Every connected device they sell is also a source of another data point for them to use. Individually of little significance, but the whole reason Big Data is a thing is that you can now derive profit from analyzing huge piles of tiny data points.

Anonymous Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

I like your number two. Foot in the door for smart house services. They set up the communication system, connect all devices through that system, and reap the intelligence on usage.

Think their target is the scanning refrigerator that creates your grocery list, at the very least?

wallyb132 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

So, let me understand this…

You would rather overpay comcast for shitty service that uses underhanded tactics to milk not only you but content providers that you may choose to use, for as much as much money as possible or will otherwise degrade your experience with said content provider over google fiber because google is “THINKING” about pushing ad’s thru a thermostat?

Thats some well reasoned logic…

I’d let google push ads to my toilet paper holder if it meant I could get access to their $70 per month 1GB fiber network that not only doesn’t degrade content from 3rd parties but goes out of its way with many actions of good intent to actually improve the delivery of said 3rd party content.

With reasoning like that, why are we even bothering with network neutrality? Its people like you, people that dont give a shit, or make stupid decisions that enable companies like comcast, over retarded and pointless ideological beliefs, that make it such an uphill battle for people like us, who do care about the important things, like network neutrality and freedom of speech and privacy and everything else thats slowly eroding away what its means to be an American, all that we stand for…

David says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I’d let google push ads to my toilet paper holder if it meant I could get access to their $70 per month 1GB fiber network that not only doesn’t degrade content from 3rd parties but goes out of its way with many actions of good intent to actually improve the delivery of said 3rd party content.

Your toilet paper holder will get to see and report a lot of action with all the fiber you will be getting, and you’ll have lots of delivery of third party content.

Anonymous Coward says:

“It?s good for us because it saves us money (it?s easier to transport video traffic from a local server than it is to transport it thousands of miles). “

He should have “bolded” the “it saves us money” part too, just for clarity. Apart from that it was really well said.

The same reason I get free usenet binary access from a “close by” , “on network” , server. It costs the isp less than if I use torrents to connect to an “off isp network”.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Did I read that right ?

You read that wrong, Netflix wants to place its servers at nodes near the customers as it delivers better service at less cost. Comcast not accepting servers, and charging for access seems to me to be a way of increasing the cost to a competitor to their cable T.V. network, and a means of replacing cable revenue being lost via cord cutters.

Mr. Oizo says:

Re: Re: Did I read that right ?

In that case, netflix wants ‘special treatment’. So yes, what is this fuzz about net neutrality then about ? If one needs to be treated differently from the others ? If they would place their servers near the nodes that would be fine, but if they have to ask permission from the ISP then it is no longer ‘net-neutral’

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Did I read that right ?

Not special treatment. Logical treatment. Netflix would prefer but it doesn’t demand that it’s servers are placed on the comcast network. It makes sense for comcast as an ISP to host netflix content for free to save them transfer costs. Comcast would only pay the transfer cost once, rather than the transfer cost X the amount of people transferring.

Basically…. Comcast want to charge netflix because of the amount of comcast customers using netflix as well as charging their customers.

They want full control of a pay to connect service. (anti-net neutrality)

Want to access the web?… pay
Want to access our customers that are on the web? … pay

Paying to access the web is ok but blocking or slowing part of the web because of “prioritization” is not. If google don’t pay comcast to connect to comcast’s users but bing does pay…. then you may have to use bing as google will be too slow. Any new amazing search engine will not stand a chance.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Did I read that right ?

They don’t have to, but for the huge amount of traffic it generates, it makes far more sense for ISPs to have equipment in their own network as close to the destination source as possible, rather than incurring higher costs travelling further distances across competing and even foreign networks. This not only reduces operating costs for all parties, but ensures the end consumer experiences the lowest amount of latency possible.

plus, it’s not Google’s suggestion, it’s Netflix’s project (search for OpenConnect). Netflix have been quite proactive at offering this to all ISPs, and those who have taken them up seem to have been experiencing significant reductions in their loads (of course, many of the majors have refused to cooperate)

Is that a bad solution? if so, what’s the alternative, bearing in mind that any external solution will immediately be less efficient.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Did I read that right ?

I think it shows that service improvements are technically feasible to do at an affordable price (Netflix can do it and they can afford to buy and implement the equipment necessary to improve service to customers) yet monopolistic ISP’s, who have a much stronger revenue stream and are more experienced with how their service works, chose not to automatically do what Netflix does within their own borders to improve service. Why should they make some relatively cheap investments that would improve customer service when they have a monopoly and customers have little competition?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Did I read that right ?

no. Genuine ISP’s want to place netflix servers on their network. It’s far cheaper for the isp then.

Most isps would and do save money by hosting youtube/netflix/usenet etc… servers for free. My ISP hosts all three of those.

Google are just saying what smart isps do to save them money. It’s what they do too. It blows the stupid “anti-net neutrality” argument of “pay to prioritize because cost” out of the water.

snarkosaurus (profile) says:

This isn't exactly netrual

I applaud Google’s move. However…

Netflix will have faster access to Google fiber customers because they have chosen to colocate their servers at Google’s data centers. This is just another way to prioritize traffic for people who are willing to spend money– the difference is that they’re spending money on servers rather than bribing a cable provider.

It’s a much better solution than greasing the palms of the cable companies to be sure. However, it will still have the net effect of favoring established companies who can afford to do colocate servers over startups who probably can’t afford this setup.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: This isn't exactly netrual

Except that it’s not traffic prioritization in the way you imply. It’s simply moving the source of the datastream closer to the destination, which means the data travels through fewer nodes and suffers less fragmentation (and, incidentally, reduces the load on the internet as a whole). It’s not giving that traffic any greater priority than other traffic.

I’ve been hearing this confusion coming up more and more from the anti-neutrality crowd lately — claiming that “fast lanes already exist” in the form of colocation, even though colocation has nothing to do with “fast lanes” or the lack of them.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: This isn't exactly netrual

Not necessarily. My isp’s “youtube servers” were slower than youtube for a long time during heavy use. The issue appears to be resolved but with every speed increase and the more people watching 1080p videos, the amount of servers has to increase.

It doesn’t “prioritize traffic” in any way. It’s just a way to lessen data transfers “off network”. It could be faster or slower and doesn’t prioritize speed of one site over another at all.

However, it will still have the net effect of favoring established companies who can afford to do colocate servers over startups who probably can’t afford this setup.

Not the point as there is no cost for the startup to this existing setup.

If lot’s of people using (x)ISP also use Netflix. (x)ISP can save lots of money by hosting Netflix servers on their network. It doesn’t affect startups at all. If the startup is used by lots of people at (x)ISP then the ISP will want to host the startup’s servers for free as it saves them money in transit costs.

Let’s say…. (using imaginary numbers to illustrate the point)

1) You pay $1 for 1GB of data transfer across international networks (like an ISP)

2) You have 5 pc’s at home (Like ISP’s network)

3) You download a video to one PC (like ISP hosting a youtube server)

4) You use your own, “FREE” network to share the video with the other PC’s (Your own youtube)

You probably have done it before. Download to a usb drive and share among multiple computers. It saves bandwidth and is usually faster. But it’s not prioritizing traffic in any way.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: This isn't exactly netrual

However, it will still have the net effect of favoring established companies who can afford to do colocate servers over startups who probably can’t afford this setup.

There’s no way around that. Whatever the solution is, getting faster speeds involves spending more money. Bigger servers, bigger pipes, colocation, whatever it is. The only companies this will have a severe impact on are the ones that have so much traffic they’re having problems keeping up, but don’t make enough money to afford buying the equipment needed for colocation. And that sounds like a business that’s going to fail anyway.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: This isn't exactly netrual

Any company that is getting a lot of traffic has to invest in more servers, the only question to be answered is where to place them, in a central to the company location, or at a co-location facility nearer to the demand. The latter usually works out cheaper for both the company and the ISP.

JMT says:

Re: This isn't exactly netrual

“However, it will still have the net effect of favoring established companies who can afford to do colocate servers over startups who probably can’t afford this setup.”

Shock! Horror! A large company can afford to spend more money on hardware to benefit their customers than a start-up can! We cannot allow this to continue!

(Sorry, I saw your username and ran with it…)

Anonymous Coward says:

Now, regarding the costs, the cost of interconnecting everyone just has to do with buying a bunch of routers and those things have gotten reasonably cheap.

As far as laying out the infrastructure, the electric companies lay out their infrastructure for much cheaper and so do water companies and gas companies and, if anything, their infrastructure is much more expensive to lay out and maintain (ie: water leaks must be addressed quickly or they can flood streets and water pipes are bigger and more expensive than wires because they must be robust and require strict safety and other standards so they don’t flood streets, gas pipes can also be a hazard and so gas leaks need strict standards as well. In the case of the sewer system sewage can seep into the streets creating an unsanitary environment that needs to be quickly addressed or it can lead to the spread of disease yet the government seems to be doing a decent job handling that for the most part though maybe not always). So their job is arguably much harder in terms of just laying out the infrastructure.

The electric, gas, and water companies charge much less yet they still have to lay out and maintain equivalently expensive, if not much more expensive, infrastructure. Yet my cable/Internet bill is more than my gas, water, and power bills combined. and lets not forget all the high fixed costs of running a water plant to clean tap water and make it meet high enough standards so that it can be safe to distribute. ISP’s have it easy and I don’t want to hear their complaints.

Again, the one factor that seems to be common among higher prices vs lower prices is the degree of competition offered. In countries/areas with more competition (or a government that regulates the market or runs the service) customers see better service for a cheaper price. In areas with less competition those regional monopolies charge more for worse service and they do nothing but complain about everything. The solution? Yes, this won’t be popular among monopolists but the solution is to either abolish those monopolies or have the government set prices to something reasonable and regulate profits to something much much lower. and if the current monopolists don’t like it they can find another job. No one wants to hear their baseless complaining. and if politicians want to negotiate back door deals with these monopolists they should find themselves in jail.

http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20140507/16114227154/over-100-internet-companies-call-fcc-to-protect-open-internet.shtml#c227

Josh in CharlotteNC (profile) says:

Re: Google

Google was one of the first companies to buy paid peering years ago

[citation needed]

Paid peering was a thing long before Google even existed.

When the internet first started catching on, there were only 5 or 6 “Tier 1” networks – AT&T, Sprint, MCI, etc. A Tier 1 network was not defined by its size, but simply that it was a network that could reach every other network out there. That’s really important on the Internet, as either you, your ISP, or the ISP’s ISP (that they buy transit through) needs to be able to reach all other networks or else there’s places that you can’t get to on the Internet (no roads lead there from where you are).

Those Tier 1 networks were happy to have free peering between them, because it helped both sides more efficiently route traffic, and they generally sent about as much as they received from each other. Everyone that wasn’t a Tier 1 network had to buy transit from them (or buy transit from someone else who also bought transit from a Tier 1).

Where does Google fit into that? Well, Google was a content company (as far as the architecture of the internet is defined), so they just had to buy service from an ISP (strictly speaking, multiple ISPs), and that ISP would handle the transit/peering. Eventually Google started buying up their own infrastructure, and became their own ISP, so they would buy transit and peering agreements from other ISPs. And Google wasn’t the first that had both content and their own infrastructure, either.

wallyb132 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Google

“Google was one of the first companies to buy paid peering years ago”

This statement is grammatically invalid.

Paid peering is an oxymoron, like military intelligence. You can have either paid interconnections or peering, but not both, as one cancels out the other. Once payment becomes involved in the agreement, its no longer a peering agreement, its a fee for service network interconnection.

Peering agreements are a royalty free exchange of traffic between 2 networks. they are good will agreements intended to benefit both networks equally and ensure the flow of data across both networks and beyond…

Anonymous Coward says:

If Google REALLY wanted to jack up their efforts...

Google would start offering access to most if not all content coming from their servers to end users through an encrypted tunnel such that ISP’s cannot know what content is what based on requests coming to and from Google. Given how much end users rely on Google services, ISP could not possibly consider blocking access to Google datacenters and they can’t filter based on content if they can’t tell what is what. Once they do that, Google can then offer colocation services for cheap if not free to companies such as Netflix that would also be routed through the tunnel. End game for the ISPs.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: If Google REALLY wanted to jack up their efforts...

Given how much end users rely on Google services, ISP could not possibly consider blocking access to Google datacenters and they can’t filter based on content if they can’t tell what is what. Once they do that, Google can then offer colocation services for cheap if not free to companies such as Netflix that would also be routed through the tunnel.

I don’t understand your plan. If you’re talking about customers of Google’s fiber internet access, then Google is the ISP, so of course the ISP is not blocking Google. If you’re talking about customers served by some other ISP, then colocating with Google wouldn’t do any good. The point of colocation (in this context) is to get onto the same network as the end user.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: If Google REALLY wanted to jack up their efforts...

It wouldn’t be the SAME exactly as colocating or direct connection to Comcast, however because Google has it’s data centers (a LOT of them) distributed between major network nodes, you can bet connections from all ISPs to servers located in Google’s datacenters is plenty fast and given how many services that Google offers are integral to what so many users do daily on the Internet, it is in ISP’s best interest to keep it that way as any attempt by ISP’s to degrade their users connecting to Google’s network would ultimately be very bad for the ISPs themselves. What would happen though if Google started offering to colocate servers at their datacenters for companies like Netflix to improve their performance due to this positioning? Of course the ISPs would likely counter by trying to throttle just that traffic in the same way they did before with BitTorrent. But then imagine if Google provided a means to route all traffic between the servers on their network and the end users through an encrypted tunnel similar to a VPN such that the ISP could not tell anything about the traffic between the end user and Google other than the fact that it was between the user and some place on Google’s network? Then they could not throttle it without throttling the the traffic that would be to their detriment as well.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: If Google REALLY wanted to jack up their efforts...

It wouldn’t be the SAME exactly as colocating or direct connection to Comcast, however because Google has it’s data centers (a LOT of them) distributed between major network nodes, you can bet connections from all ISPs to servers located in Google’s datacenters is plenty fast

Ah, I see. It might not be fast enough for Netflix, but for most services it could be good enough.

it is in ISP’s best interest to keep it that way as any attempt by ISP’s to degrade their users connecting to Google’s network would ultimately be very bad for the ISPs themselves.

I’m not sure about that. They really have no competition to worry about, so there’s not much they could do that would get their customers to leave. They literally do things they know ahead of time their customers will hate and suffer little to no consequences for it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 If Google REALLY wanted to jack up their efforts...

Here is the thing. So much of what so many people do on the Internet is tied so heavily to Google’s services that I suspect that a great many of them would simply decide they don’t need to pay for a connection if Google’s services suddenly degraded to the point of unusability. Even though there are a great many people who mistakenly think that Google IS the Internet, there is a reason that they think so and for many of those people that perception comes very close to being their reality.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 If Google REALLY wanted to jack up their efforts...

So much of what so many people do on the Internet is tied so heavily to Google’s services that I suspect that a great many of them would simply decide they don’t need to pay for a connection if Google’s services suddenly degraded to the point of unusability.

I doubt the people who specifically rely on Google services are the same ones who wouldn’t mind completely giving up their internet connection. The second group probably just wants email and maybe a search engine, and there are other providers of those. People who use lots of Google services heavily and all day long would probably find it unthinkable to live without the internet. There are plenty of people cutting the TV cord, but nobody to speak of is getting rid of their internet connections, and the ISPs know it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 If Google REALLY wanted to jack up their efforts...

Of course they would find it unthinkable to go without the Internet. However imagine if Google did do as I suggested, and the ISPs tried to counter it by limiting access to Google’s network. Since they wouldn’t be able to filter specific traffic, they would have to throttle it all and if they did that, the Internet as those people expect it, would simply cease to work. Think of it this way. As much as people couldn’t imagine not having a cell phone theses days, if the service they pay for doesn’t work effectively enough for their needs they will stop paying for it regardless of how much they want to keep their cell phone.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 If Google REALLY wanted to jack up their efforts...

Since they wouldn’t be able to filter specific traffic, they would have to throttle it all

I don’t know if you’re switching back and forth between two things or I’m just getting confused, but I thought the point was that if google did this send-everything-from-our-data-centers-through-an-encrypted-tube thing that would prevent ISPs from throttling to get at Google, because they wouldn’t be able to distinguish what is Google traffic and what isn’t. And now you’re suggesting the ISPs might throttle all traffic over these connections, because… why? To try to get Google to pay for fast lanes like they did with Netflix? So are you arguing that the bundled encrypted channel from Google would work, or that ISPs would throttle it anyway so it wouldn’t work?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:6 If Google REALLY wanted to jack up their efforts...

I am arguing that ISP’s could do it but it would not be in their best interest to do so as it would affect other services from Google that are unrelated since they would not be able to determine what traffic is what. It’s basically the same concept as a VPN except only for sites that get distributed hosting in Google’s datacenters. When you connect through a VPN, the ISP cannot see what type of traffic is going through that VPN or even where specifically it is going beyond the node you are connected through. They could throttle or block the entire VPN if they wanted to but they can’t tell what going through the tunnel is say email, or web traffic, or even a video stream. They can’t shape or block it by type or where specifically it is going to or from which is what they want to be able to do. They figure if they can make Netflix service suck bad enough for their users either their users will switch to their offerings or Netflix will pay for special connections to make it no longer suck. But if they can’t isolate it so that only Netflix sucks, then it affects everything.

Josh in CharlotteNC (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: If Google REALLY wanted to jack up their efforts...

you can bet connections from all ISPs to servers located in Google’s datacenters is plenty fast and given how many services that Google offers are integral to what so many users do daily on the Internet, it is in ISP’s best interest to keep it that way as any attempt by ISP’s to degrade their users connecting to Google’s network would ultimately be very bad for the ISPs themselves.

I don’t think you understand exactly what Comcast and other ISPs are doing, or else you don’t have a good understanding of how the Internet works.

The ISPs, strictly speaking, are not discriminating traffic going to particular services. However, in order for a Comcast customer to get to Google’s datacenter, their traffic needs to pass out of Comcast’s network into Google’s network (or another ISP’s network that connects to Google’s). All traffic that leaves or enters Comcast’s network needs to pass through one of these edges – all traffic, regardless of whether it is Netflix traffic, Google traffic, Bittorrent, you loading a webpage based in Uzbekistan, or your Xbox traffic to a Call of Duty server, passes through that edge from one network to another.

That edge where the traffic leaves or enters Comcast’s network and goes to/from another network is where the congestion is. Here is the issue: Comcast and other ISPs have chosen to stop or slow upgrades at that edge. They are then using that congestion (that they created themselves by not managing their network in a sane manner) as an excuse to charge Netflix and other content companies for additional non-congested access points into their network. The ISPs are already doing something against their own best interest in allowing those points to become congested.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 If Google REALLY wanted to jack up their efforts...

I understand perfectly how it works. Distributing the source between major nodes that are very close to those edge connections dramatically improves performance. This was the point of the deal that Netflix originally made with Level 3 that pissed off Comcast to begin with. The problem is not so much congestion at the edge connections as it is throttling and traffic shaping at those edge connections. If it was congestion ALL of the traffic would slow to a crawl that had to pass through the edge connections. Traffic can be filtered by many different criteria. Typically it can be filtered by port, type or location. Running all traffic to and from Google’s network through an encrypted tunnel to the end user takes away the port and type filtering possibility for the ISPs leaving them only with location which could bite the ISPs in the ass if they tried to filter all of the traffic from Google’s network.

Josh in CharlotteNC (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 If Google REALLY wanted to jack up their efforts...

Typically it can be filtered by port, type or location. Running all traffic to and from Google’s network through an encrypted tunnel to the end user takes away the port and type filtering possibility for the ISPs

Sure, traffic shaping encrypted traffic is difficult, but not impossible. So you can sometimes get different responses from a VPN. However, traffic flow is very different based on type of content. Encrypted static web page traffic looks much different than encrypted client/server file transfer, both look different than an encrypted video or music stream, and they all look different than encrypted peer-to-peer activity. You might not be able to tell exactly what content is inside those packets, but you can learn a heck of a lot about what type of packet it is by looking at the flow.

which could bite the ISPs in the ass if they tried to filter all of the traffic from Google’s network.

And again, they’re already purposefully allowing all traffic not flowing through their no settlement links to become congested.

Comcast wants to kill or toll anything that’s a threat to their cable TV monopoly. Netflix hiding behind Google isn’t going to stop Comcast – they already think Google is their enemy.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: If Google REALLY wanted to jack up their efforts...

“it is in ISP’s best interest to keep it that way as any attempt by ISP’s to degrade their users connecting to Google’s network would ultimately be very bad for the ISPs themselves.”

Maybe, but in a market like we have in the US, where there is very nearly no competition, it might not be such a huge hit for the ISPs. After all, where are their customers going to go?

Joe says:

Re: If Google REALLY wanted to jack up their efforts...

One Canadian ISP’s response to this was to trickle all encrypted traffic at around 1KB/s. Oh, and some ISPs used supposed DPI methods that caused some business apps along the lines of Lotus Notes (back in 2007 for Notes so DPI was kind of newish…) to die. Random packet corruption or dropping or latency will make encrypted connections almost useless. Of course, any ISP that does this should expect to be in pretty hot water, fairly quickly. AFAIK, no one in North America is daring to do this anymore.

JMT says:

Re: Nice PR move...

“Nice PR move…”

Well if you mean a PR move that directly benefits their customers through an internet experience, while indirectly benefiting their competitors’ customers by highlighting the lies being told by the big providers, then yep, damn fine PR move, wish there were all as good.

“But Google are still NSA collaborators.”

Yes, companies forced to provide data by secret courts with secret laws on threat of serious punishment are “collaborators”. Since Google (and others) are now massively increasing their encryption to prevent previously-unknown NSA interceptions, does that make them traitors?

Derek Kerton (profile) says:

Pay Three Times

Mike, you wrote “get companies to pay twice by clogging certain points in the network”

I see it as a desire to get the market to pay THREE times. Netflix pays for their bandwidth and connections so they can connect to their customer, the customer pays the ISP so that they can connect to services like Netflix, and then Netflix pays again to get a reliable connection to their customer.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Pay Three Times

true. The way I see it too, maybe I see it a little more sinister.

We pay for bandwidth. (average joe and Youtube/netflix type customers)

Some greedy fucks want to charge one type of customer to connect to what they see as “their property” aka… regular people. They do regard people as their property, their network not their customers. It’s disgusting really.

My ISP isn’t really like that. eg…I am due a “free” speed upgrade this month(from 20MB to 50MB) so that they remain competitive. They see me as a customer who can tell them to fuck off and use a different service that is nearly as good for a similar price. They work with Youtube/Netflix etc… to make sure I get the best possible streaming experience. I may tell them to “fuck off” if I don’t get that experience.

The way Comcast etc… are acting is disgusting. They literally don’t view customers as “customers using their service”, rather they are Comcast property and if netflix want to connect to their property then they must pay that price.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Google plays with words

“You should read the whole piece.”

Forget it, he’s just the latest iteration of the fool who attacks fantasy scenarios rather than actual reality (hey, seen ootb lately?). The fact that the article quotes Google in bold, and has the actual T&Cs linked via the source article (also linked) doesn’t mean he’s actual going to read it before launching impotent attacks.

Anonymous Coward says:

Google plays with words

no. They host them for free on their network. Saves google money as no extra “off network” transit costs are accrued. And the service is usually faster as it’s all on the isps network.

If you have 5 computers networked at home.
Do you download a video 5 times from the web?
Do you download a video once and use your network to share it to the others?

It’s the same thing. The same reason that mobile phone networks have “free to call others on this network” features. Going off network costs via transit fees, while staying on network has no transit fees.

Google doesn’t make money off netflix for a “better service”. Google saves money by hosting/caching their servers/videos for free.

It works both ways too. (The issue of buffering youtube videos on the isp I use)
My isp has youtube videos “cached” and under heavy load it’s better to bypass the “isp cache” because loading straight from another youtube server is quicker. Lot’s of people were having buffering issues with youtube. Our isp didn’t provide a “better” service in that regard but it is cheaper for them to get more servers than it is to pay the fees of transit(times xUsers times xVideoViews).

wallyb132 (profile) says:

Google plays with words

Did you bother to actually read the post on googl’e blog? you know, the one that was linked in the second paragraph, the one that this whole article was about!

I doubt it, because if you had, you would instantly realize how stupid your comments are, and how retarded they make you look.

Here are some excerpts from that blog post:

“We give companies like Netflix and Akamai free access to space and power in our facilities and they provide their own content servers. We don?t make money from peering or colocation”

and

“But we also don?t charge because it?s really a win-win-win situation”

Not only did you go out of your way to make yourself look retarded by posting completely inaccurate, speculative comments that could have easily been avoided by applying some reading comprehension skills, you double posted the comments to make SURE everybody reading these comments sees them, like it were a badge of honor, or something…

whatever says:

Re: Google plays with words

For the moment, Google isn’t charging them – but is “allowing” them to colocate for free. Of course, Netflix would be paying for the network side connectivity to bring the data in, right?

I doubt it’s free space for life. Google doesn’t do anything out of the kindness of it’s heart.

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