Broadband

by Karl Bode


Filed Under:
fcc, net neutrality, tests, throttling

Companies:
netflix, verizon



Verizon Throttles Netflix Subscribers In 'Test' It Doesn't Inform Customers About

from the just-the-beginning dept

So for years Verizon Wireless refused to compete on price, insisting that the company's network was just so incredible, it didn't have to. Then came increased competition from T-Mobile, which forced the company to not only start competing a little more seriously on price, but to bring back unlimited data plans Verizon had spent years telling customers they didn't need. And while Wall Street cries about this rise in competition hurting earnings at least once a week, it has generally been a good thing for consumers.

But there's two things waiting just over the horizon that could ruin everybody's good time. One is a looming merger between Sprint and T-Mobile, which would significantly reduce competition in the wireless sector, eliminating much of the pressure on mobile providers to compete. The other is the impending death of net neutrality protections at the FCC, which currently keep these carriers from abusing this lack of competition to drive up costs and hamper content competitors.

But another, important part of net neutrality rules is the requirement that carriers are clear about just what kind of connection you're buying. Last week, Verizon apparently got a running start in being less transparent when it decided to begin throttling its wireless customers without telling anybody. Users at Reddit began noticing that when they streamed Netflix content or accessed Netflix's Fast.com speedtest, their connections were magically limited to 10 Mbps. When they used other companies' speedtests or used a VPN to mask their traffic, they received the full speed of their mobile connections.

To be clear, being restricted to 10 Mbps isn't that big of a deal in and of itself. 10 Mbps is more than enough to stream video at 1080p60 and 1440p30, though users say they're running into buffering at 1440p60 or 4K (not that most users care about 4K content on mobile devices anyway). But it was the fact that Verizon couldn't be bothered to tell anybody this was happening that's raising a few eyebrows. And when pressed, Verizon was only willing to give a rather vague answer about how they were simply conducting "tests" that didn't hurt anybody:

"We've been doing network testing over the past few days to optimize the performance of video applications on our network. The testing should be completed shortly. The customer video experience was not affected."

So while Verizon's throttling shouldn't be construed as the end of the world, you'd probably understand why Verizon, one of the most vocal opponents of net neutrality, would raise a few eyebrows by conducting tests like this without telling anybody. Consumer groups like Public Knowledge were quick to point out that one of the benefits of net neutrality rules is the assurance it gives customers that it can trust what carriers are saying:

"The guidelines distinguishing ‘throttling’ from ‘reasonable network management’ developed as part of the FCC’s investigation into T-Mobile’s Binge On service provided precisely this certainty. Unfortunately, Chairman Pai’s decision to rescind the report and to reopen the net neutrality proceeding have created massive uncertainty and suspicion.

“Before, Verizon could simply point to the FCC guidelines to reassure their customers. Today, we must look to Chairman Pai to tell us whether subscribers have anything more to rely on than Verizon’s promises. Rather than undermining consumer confidence and creating needless confusion, Chairman Pai should end his misguided efforts to roll back the FCC’s net neutrality rules any further."

As the net neutrality protections (and the FCC's authority overall) are slowly but surely gutted, this uncertainty is only going to grow. Carriers will begin pushing to see just what kind of behavior Ajit Pai's FCC will let them get away with, and given Pai is repeatedly on record believing neither net neutrality nor a lack of competition are real problems, there's not going to be much, if any, regulatory pressure to behave. Combine that with a major reduction in competition from a looming wave of Trump-approved mergers and acquisitions, and there's certain to be less organic market or regulatory pressure keeping these mono/duopolies in line.


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  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 24 Jul 2017 @ 6:30am

    We've secretly cut back their bandwidth and replaced it with bright white buffering symbols... let's see if they notice.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    PaulT (profile), 24 Jul 2017 @ 6:48am

    "To be clear, being restricted to 10 Mbps isn't that big of a deal in and of itself."

    I very much disagree. If I'm paying for a certain speed that's several times 10 Mbps, then that's the speed I want. It's doubly an issue if I'm having noticeable issues with the content I'm trying to access because of the speed reduction. As a paying customer, I don't care whether you're reducing my speed because of network congestion, testing or because you're trying to screw over your streaming media competition, you're ripping me off.

    Another reason I'm thankful to be living in a country with meaningful competition and effective regulation - I get what I'm actually paying for.

    "The customer video experience was not affected."

    Then why did users notice, I wonder? By "not affected", do you mean "it was provided without interruption at the quality desired by the user", or do you mean "we didn't notice any excessive dropped packets"? Because, if Netflix were dropping quality to take account of the slower speed, it was effected even if you didn't get any direct complaints.

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    • icon
      Ninja (profile), 24 Jul 2017 @ 11:13am

      Re:

      "As a paying customer, I don't care whether you're reducing my speed because of network congestion, testing or because you're trying to screw over your streaming media competition, you're ripping me off."

      We are testing some stuff here so instead of getting your whole BigMac you are getting only the bun because of transportation restrictions. - Said no McDonnalds ever.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Eldakka (profile), 24 Jul 2017 @ 5:35pm

        Re: Re:

        We are testing some stuff here so instead of getting your whole BigMac you are getting only the bun because of transportation restrictions. - Said no McDonnalds ever.

        On rare occasions, like once every couple of years, I do get a burger from Macca's that has either the wrong size bun, like a quarter-pounder patty in a big mac bun, or a couple cheeseburger patties in a quarter-pounder bun. Sometimes they do run out of stuff.

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        • icon
          XcOM987 (profile), 25 Jul 2017 @ 7:48am

          Slight difference though

          Unlike McDonalds, Data doesn't run out though, it's not as though there is only a set amount of data to the ISP, Bandwidth is a different kettle of fish.

          I accept McDonalds may run out of Burger A, but as a sorry they offer 2x Burger B, or extra chips, or drink, or apple pie, I have no issue as it's not like they are doing what the ISP's do and screw over their customers at every moment possible to get as much money out of them as possible.

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    • identicon
      It's Pat, 24 Jul 2017 @ 5:25pm

      Re:

      Verizon Wireless advertises 5-12 MBPS download, so how does slowing a person down to 10 MBPS get you to "ripping off"?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 25 Jul 2017 @ 12:55am

        Re: Re:

        "Verizon Wireless advertises 5-12 MBPS download, so how does slowing a person down to 10 MBPS get you to "ripping off"?"

        I don't know what they advertise, but a lot of people in the Reddit thread were experiencing many times higher speeds going to sites that weren't throttled. If you're explicitly paying for the higher speeds, you're being ripped off if it's throttled to 10.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Jul 2017 @ 6:57pm

      Re:

      ajit pai is this you?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 25 Jul 2017 @ 12:55am

        Re: Re:

        How does supporting net neutrality and criticising ISPs for slowing network speeds in violation of it make me Pai? Explain where you're coming from.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    DannyB (profile), 24 Jul 2017 @ 6:53am

    Can you hear me now?

    Verizon is merely conducting tests to determine just how little bandwidth a customer can have and still, technically, be able to access the internet. Sort of like testing for just how poor of audio quality one can have while asking "can you hear me now?"

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    MyNameHere (profile), 24 Jul 2017 @ 6:59am

    Not Correct....

    Karl, the headline is not correct. It applies equally to all video services, not just Netflix.

    Once you remove the scary "one company is getting attacked" it starts to just sound like regular network management.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 24 Jul 2017 @ 7:05am

      Re: Not Correct....

      "It applies equally to all video services, not just Netflix."

      Does it? Only Netflix and YouTube are mentioned in the article and Reddit thread. Were, say, Mubi, Dailymotion and Facebook videos all affected as well? Or, just the larger players? Provide your evidence, otherwise the fact that the headline only mentions one service instead of 3 or 4 of the many available does not change its accuracy.

      The real question is the one that's of vital importance to the net neutrality debate - are Verizon's own services affected by the restriction, or just their potential competition? If the latter, this is the exact abuse that was predicted, and it's going to stop being "just a test" whenever they can get away with it.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Ninja (profile), 24 Jul 2017 @ 7:12am

        Re: Re: Not Correct....

        Netflix and Youtube are the only video services on the internet silly. /s

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      • icon
        MyNameHere (profile), 24 Jul 2017 @ 5:15pm

        Re: Re: Not Correct....

        Read this:

        https://www.theverge.com/2017/7/21/16010766/verizon-netflix-throttling-statement-net-neutrality -title-ii

        Even they changed the title of their piece because the realized that it was just plain wrong.

        Netflix just happens to be a huge bandwidth hog with a speed meter in it's software, so people know exactly what it's doing.

        For the record, my Netflix speed is 310. Then again, I live in a civilized place.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          JMT (profile), 24 Jul 2017 @ 5:29pm

          Re: Re: Re: Not Correct....

          "Netflix just happens to be a huge bandwidth hog..."

          You mean Netflix has a lot of customers who want content. Or did you really mean to sound like an ISP shill...

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 24 Jul 2017 @ 6:20pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Not Correct....

            I think that you meant to say that since I pay for my unlimited bandwidth YOU want to look out for ME and throttle me so I don't use too much of my unlimited bucket.

            mmmm I get it, I think?

            I think unlimited means unlimited -- you think that unlimited means how much can it be throttled before I complain.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              MyNameHere (profile), 24 Jul 2017 @ 7:46pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Not Correct....

              Unlimited generally isn't "unlimited to the detriment of other customers". There is a point (just like free speech) that your unlimited access ends where my access gets limited.

              Netflix uses an insane amount of bandwidth and network resources, well beyond what most networks were built for. When everyone comes home from work, sits down at 8PM, and all want to stream 4k at the same time, the network can't handle it. WoS and network traffic shaping is generally the best way to handle the situation.

              Netflix is in the exact same position that P2P was a decade or so ago: A huge percentage of the total traffic, so it's likely to get "shaped" as as not to harm other customers who are just trying to access facebook or read an email from their mom.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                PaulT (profile), 25 Jul 2017 @ 1:10am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Not Correct....

                "Netflix uses an insane amount of bandwidth and network resources, well beyond what most networks were built for."

                So, they need to invest in infrastructure like every other business. Many roads were originally built for horses, that doesn't mean the people in charge of them would get away with complaining because car owners have different expectations. They would be expected to get off their arses and keep raods updated with modern traffic demands. Part of the money people are paying is to enable them to upgrade to deliver the experience the ISP was promising to begin with. "Our network was originally only built for ISDN and 56K modems" is not an excuse.

                "When everyone comes home from work, sits down at 8PM, and all want to stream 4k at the same time, the network can't handle it"

                Well, they should have invested in upgrades before 4K became that ubiquitous, then (which it's still not, so they have time before your fiction has a chance at reality). They should also be building in overcapacity to handle bursting requirements during busy times. They've had plenty of time to plan and upgrade their networks. My ISP provides 300Mb fibre, never had any problems streaming high quality video at any time yet it costs less than many US ISPs charge. Why? Because they built extra capacity when needed.

                "Netflix is in the exact same position that P2P was a decade or so ago"

                A decade, so about the same amount of time that the ISPs have had to invest in their infrastructure to handle the predictable rise in streaming video since it was launched in 2007 - and that was *after* it was made clear that their infrastructure was already lacking? Sorry, they can only get away with delaying and making excuses for so long. They should be performing the work, much of which has already been subsidised by taxpayers, not whining that Netflix is too popular and it's just not fair Mom!

                Sorry, you're full of shit, full of excuses for people who just want to rip off consumers without being held responsible to an expected standard of work. Not going to fly here.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • icon
                  MyNameHere (profile), 25 Jul 2017 @ 2:44am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Not Correct....

                  Alas, Paul, if all you are paying for is a horse track, don't complain that your 2 inches from the ground Ferrari won't go down it at full speed. The expectation that a user's internet connection can somehow magically just up and change and be 10 times the speed it is an odd concept.

                  Netflix has created a demand, that is for sure. But they are not to dictate when and where ISPs will spend money to invest in their networks. Netflix has over promised and is leaving the ISPs to eat shit when they under deliver.

                  "A decade, so about the same amount of time that the ISPs have had to invest in their infrastructure to handle the predictable rise in streaming video since it was launched in 2007"

                  You still have selective memory. Actually, streaming video was a novelty, and often limited to VERY small windows with insanely low resolution (320x240, if I remember correctly, with about a refresh of 5 frames a second). What Netflix is offering is up to 4K video - and streaming that is about 20 meg a second constant for the 2 hours of the movie.

                  We have already discussed content ratios and the way networks are built. Netflix wants your ISP to entirely change their network to support promises made by Netflix.

                  Sort of like me telling you that you can't use the letter E anymore, because my business model doesn't include you using E anymore.

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                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 25 Jul 2017 @ 2:58am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Not Correct....

                    Netflix has created a demand, that is for sure. But they are not to dictate when and where ISPs will spend money to invest in their networks.

                    Netflix will help ISPs deal with the capacity problem on the backbone side by suppling them with caching servers that fit in with their content deliver network. This deals with the bandwidth problem if and where it exists.

                    Also, the details in the article give away the fact that it is not a congestion problem that they are trying to deal with, as routing via a VPN regained full bandwidth for Netflix streams.

                    All this capacity manipulation makes sense when you consider that Verizon is a media company with its own content which it wants to force its customers to use.

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  • icon
                    PaulT (profile), 25 Jul 2017 @ 3:06am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Not Correct....

                    "The expectation that a user's internet connection can somehow magically just up and change and be 10 times the speed it is an odd concept."

                    Really? I pay roughly the same for 300Mb internet now as I did for 10Mb 5 years ago, and that wasn't a huge difference to what I used to pay for 56K dialup once you include the line rental. What you class as "magical", I'm seeing as "natural progression of technology".

                    Oh, it's you. Reality is an odd concept to you, it seems.

                    "Netflix has created a demand, that is for sure. But they are not to dictate when and where ISPs will spend money to invest in their networks"

                    No, the customers who pay the ISPs for their service are doing that.

                    "Actually, streaming video was a novelty, and often limited to VERY small windows with insanely low resolution (320x240, if I remember correctly, with about a refresh of 5 frames a second)"

                    When Netflix streaming launched? Citation, please. I wasn't able to try it out at the time since I'm not in the US, but my belief is that people with high bandwidth connections were getting roughly DVD quality.

                    Either way, this does not excuse the ISPs not investing in their infrastructure to service a predictable increase in demand.

                    "What Netflix is offering is up to 4K video"

                    Yes. Also Microsoft are offering downloads of 4K assets for their games when the new XBox launches. Also, a huge number of other things are using a lot more bandwidth than they would have done a decade ago.

                    Again, why are you so intent on defending ISPs sitting on their arses and refusing to service their customers by investing in their infrastructure? Should other companies not innovate and give people what they want because the service providers don't want to do any work?

                    "Netflix wants your ISP to entirely change their network to support promises made by Netflix."

                    No, they ask that the infrastructure promised to ISP customers for the service they wish to access is able to deliver that service. A service that their customers are paying for already. It's not particularly complicated.

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 25 Jul 2017 @ 1:21am

          Re: Re: Re: Not Correct....

          "Even they changed the title of their piece because the realized that it was just plain wrong"

          So, what did it say originally? You have to be more specific if your attempt to make a smug point is to work. What is your point?

          "Netflix just happens to be a huge bandwidth hog with a speed meter in it's software"

          As are many other services that Verizon are expected to provide. Why do you have a problem with a service provider being expected to provide a service to their customers' requirements?

          "For the record, my Netflix speed is 310. Then again, I live in a civilized place."

          So, you're saying that places serviced by Verizon in this manner are not civilised? Why, then are you constantly trying to attack netflix for daring the provide the same service as they do everywhere else?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Jul 2017 @ 7:12am

      Re: Not Correct....

      >it starts to just sound like regular network management.

      Actually, with streaming services, throttling will only impact network performance if it forces the source to reduce the quality of its stream. Otherwise the same amount of data is downloaded in about the same amount of time. Indeed without the throttling the client can better maintain buffering of content to ride out short term congestion on the networks.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Jul 2017 @ 9:00am

      Re: Not Correct....

      Network management, the new and totally awesome terminology to describe fraudulent practices.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Jul 2017 @ 7:10am

    >And while Wall Street cries about this rise in competition hurting earnings at least once a week

    Fuck Wall Street.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Jul 2017 @ 8:24am

      Re:

      that's funny...

      I swore I saw your "candidate" last week coming out of Wall Streets back door wiping something from the corner of their mouth.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 24 Jul 2017 @ 9:03am

        Re: Re:

        I thought wallstreet types liked capitalism and all the free market flagellations ... and here I find out that is just not so because - OMG - Competition is bad!

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 24 Jul 2017 @ 9:29am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "I thought wallstreet types liked capitalism and all the free market flagellations"

          Yes on the former but no on the latter. Like a politician they just say things to advance their agenda. Capitalists have no intention of serving in a free market. When they call for DeRegulation, they actually mean "removing consumer protections".

          The only way to have a free-market is when the citizens are commanding one. We want regulation instead.

          It's all about being lazy.

          Citizens do not want to participate in a fee-market because it is too much work. They want someone to make "good enough" available for them so they can just buy it can get back to their simpleton lives.

          Politicians do not want to participate in a free-market because they are lazy that is too much to legislate over. Plus how can you regulate something that the citizens could shutdown by avoiding purchasing it? That is too hard to manage and plan for as well, better off to just create a monopoly and just manage that monopoly... see much easier!

          Businesses do not want to participate in a free-market because they are lazy. They don't want to have to keep updating and improving their products to keep up with some new upstart looking to make a name for themselves so it is better to just tell the politician... hey I give you money, you get power, and you make it hard for new business to threaten me.

          See... regulation is a win-win-win senario and everyone bitching about the ISP's & FCC's actions right now are just losers. You asked for it, now enjoy!

          So the question, how can you give citizens a "real" choice in the economy? Well, you can't, because you can't give someone something they don't want.

          For those that want a "practical" free market... well lets just say they are outnumbered by the lazy idiots. So we will always have an aristocracy of some kind, some ruler-ship telling you what you can have, and some business/producer/middleman telling you that you owe them for that.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Ninja (profile), 24 Jul 2017 @ 10:41am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "The only way to have a free-market is when the citizens are commanding one. We want regulation instead.

            It's all about being lazy."


            No, just no. Regulations are needed to prevent abuse. The most obvious would be food and drug regulation. And you don't even need to mention expiration date.

            That put aside, free, unregulated market would inevitably lead to concentration, monopoly. Go play Monopoly with your friends and tell me about a game where at least 2 players shared wealth and divided the market. I'll be waiting. While at it read about the origin of the game.

            You need to better educate yourself.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              MyNameHere (profile), 24 Jul 2017 @ 7:51pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              But do you not thing that it would be more fair also to say ISPs shouldn't be forced to do massive network upgrades only to support Netflix and other major bandwidth users?

              It's sort of on par with telling stores that they have to add 50% more floor space because some lazy person wants to drive their car through the aisles instead of walking.

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              • icon
                PaulT (profile), 25 Jul 2017 @ 1:13am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                "But do you not thing that it would be more fair also to say ISPs shouldn't be forced to do massive network upgrades only to support Netflix and other major bandwidth users?"

                Do you also whine that the postal service has to increase capacity to handle Amazon deliveries? That cities have to expand their transport networks because all those damn people come to work for the larger companies?

                Do you ever start to make sense in the real world?

                "It's sort of on par with telling stores that they have to add 50% more floor space because some lazy person wants to drive their car through the aisles instead of walking."

                No, it's on par with telling them that they have to add 50% to their parking garage because people can never find a space and there's no other stores in the area they can use instead.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 24 Jul 2017 @ 11:00am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            You made one point I was going to make: regulation also involves restrictions on establishing a monopoly. Maybe I'm wrong but the only sanctioned monopolies involve patents and copyright. For patents there's a time limitation and even then patent holders can get around that by making slight "improvements" or changes to a product. Copyright seems now to grant a permanent monopoly.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 24 Jul 2017 @ 1:03pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "The only way to have a free-market is when the citizens are commanding one"

            You mean the black market?

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Jul 2017 @ 7:46am

    Is Techdirt ever going to grasp what inTRAnet verus inTERnet means in practical terms?

    I have my very own inTRAnet. It's 100M bit/s, limited by router, and all I need. Yes, it's essentially free now that I've paid the infamous "sunk (or fixed) costs" and have all hardware and (gasp) cables.

    BUT:

    1) My inTRAnet is typically saturated at around 11M Bytes/s between my own computers (sometimes duplex). Any network can be saturated, especially at choke point like gateway to outside, where many streams concentrate.

    2) Netflix comes from OUTSIDE a local inTRAnet. I have to pay a cable co to get out, and the cable co also has to PAY something for THAT kind of bandwidth. Netflix is NOT nearly free as data on a local server.

    3) Any system has a fixed upper bandwidth limit, and likely all are by now running near it with too many too well entertained, especially by "free" pirated content. Increase of such traffic guarantees hitting actual limits SOON, certainly so at peak viewing hours.

    4) No, they're not going to put in all new fiber / wireless as Google found too expensive.

    The above amount to why "net neutrality" is a bad idea. It'd be more practical to have content stored locally... However, I can't unscramble the current furor: "net neutrality" isn't even defined, though everyone wants it. My own position is that good regulation is good and bad regulation is bad.

    But blithe demands for unlimited use of limited resources is just Techdirt's persistent inability to grasp that ARE physical limits. Those aren't going away no matter how much minions laud the now nearly defunct Google Fiber -- or start promising it'll soon provide free wireless everywhere.

    SO this bit of testing is likely to learn what'll happen when the network is saturated. Why should Verizon have announced it? No one but a few hyper-weenies noticed. And how many tests have those weenies missed? Perhaps dozens. I guess Techdirt would prefer Verizon ignore looming problem, be totally unprepared.

    Overall, this is just another of Techdirt's routine attacks on Verizon for no actual cause.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Jul 2017 @ 8:00am

      Re: Is Techdirt ever going to grasp what inTRAnet verus inTERnet means in practical terms?

      Most prostitutes get paid for doing what they do. You do it for free. So embrace the title Filthy Pirate Whore.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 24 Jul 2017 @ 8:05am

      Re: Is Techdirt ever going to grasp what inTRAnet verus inTERnet means in practical terms?

      "Yes, it's essentially free now that I've paid the infamous "sunk (or fixed) costs""

      So, you admit you're using a logical fallacy, to the point of naming the one you're using? Interesting tactic.

      "My inTRAnet is typically saturated at around 11M Bytes/s between my own computers"

      You're using 802.11b wireless? You should perhaps consider an upgrade. In fact, that's the issue - Verizon and the like would rather keep pure profit gained from damaging their competition than invest in infrastructure that they have already received subsidies to provide.

      "likely all are by now running near it with too many too well "

      So, Verizon have bad network management on their dated infrastructure too?

      "especially by "free" pirated content"

      Why do you bring that up, since the entire test was related to legal paid services? P2P downloads would not have been affected, and there's scant evidence that pirated streams would have been. The only stated known effect was on Netflix, which is 100% legal. Your desperate need to attack this site can't address reality yet again, it seems.

      "No, they're not going to put in all new fiber / wireless as Google found too expensive."

      ....because providers like Verizon refused to allow them to use existing infrastructure and block cheaper methods of providing it. Strange how you missed the important part out.

      "net neutrality" isn't even defined"

      It's a shame you people keep having to lie.

      "And how many tests have those weenies missed? Perhaps dozens."

      Perhaps zero. Do you base all of your silly attacks on assumptions you pull out of your ass, then declare victory when you think it's proven correct in your own head?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Ninja (profile), 24 Jul 2017 @ 8:19am

      Re: Is Techdirt ever going to grasp what inTRAnet verus inTERnet means in practical terms?

      1) Your inTRAnet needs updating. Any decent setup nowadays is in the gigabit range.

      2)You paid for a X mbit gateway so it's the ISPs job to provide it. If your network can't handle what you bought then though shit. If the ISP can't provide what you bought then it's fraud. Netflix paid their share to reach the ISP network and you paid your share to reserve capacity in the ISP network to reach Netflix.

      3) Not your problem, the ISP should be wither increasing their capacity or not selling speeds they can't sustain.

      4) Yes, they are. Capital expenditures have been steadily growing despite NN rules. And Google has stumbled upon barrier after barrier to lay their network due to legislation brought to you by your friendly incumbent ISPs so they are probably figuring out how to deploy without suffering with such unfair burdens (and remember, Google never received billionaire tax cuts to deploy) hence wireless solutions.

      The above amount to why NN is a GREAT idea. And it is perfectly defined: ISPs must treat packets equally regardless of where they come from which include their own services. It's quite simple and it's kind of amusing how your brain can't fathom it.

      "My own position is that good regulation is good and bad regulation is bad."

      Nope, your own position is that you don't know what you are talking about at best and you are just a paid shill at worst.

      "But blithe demands for unlimited use of limited resources is just Techdirt's persistent inability to grasp that ARE physical limits."

      Actually, it's demands the ISPs apply these "structural" limits to every packet including their own services. And that the measures to address structural limits are not just fireworks that don't address such limits like data caps (if everybody decides to use their data at the same time the network capacity will still be reached).

      "SO this bit of testing is likely to learn what'll happen when the network is saturated. Why should Verizon have announced it? No one but a few hyper-weenies noticed. And how many tests have those weenies missed? Perhaps dozens."

      I guess you'd be ok with McDonnalds selling you a bigmac and just delivering the bread because their transportation system got saturated, no? Because that's what Verizon did, it sold a speed and throttled it *for specific services* (remember NN?) thus delivering only the bun.

      "I guess Techdirt would prefer Verizon ignore looming problem, be totally unprepared."

      Or maybe be honest with everybody and sell speeds it can sustain. Or throttle *every single packet* equally when congestion is detected. And obviously invest in expanding its capacity. I've told you before, my ISP never throttled and never complained of my 1Tb+ monthly consumption. Why Verizon, a much larger ISP, can't cope with it is a mystery.

      Overall, this is just another of your routine attacks on Techdirt for no actual cause.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Ninja (profile), 24 Jul 2017 @ 8:26am

        Re: Re: Is Techdirt ever going to grasp what inTRAnet verus inTERnet means in practical terms?

        Also, explain how ISPs instantly started offering Gigabit speeds where Google deployed if there wasn't surplus capacity ready to use. Coming from you it should produce some twisted alternate reality facts.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 24 Jul 2017 @ 2:12pm

          Re: Re: Re: Is Techdirt ever going to grasp what inTRAnet verus inTERnet means in practical terms?

          I don't think that they have _that much_ spare bandwidth but that they have _some_ to spare and they can gouge some folks for it by saying that they can have it and not deliver the full amount -- and that even if you _could_ complain that you aren't getting your full bandwidth "allotment" their response is; mmm, try it now, how about now... at some point you will get the slice that meets what you are paying for and then they'll say... see, there it is. (Just don't expect it ALL the time.)

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            PaulT (profile), 25 Jul 2017 @ 12:40am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Is Techdirt ever going to grasp what inTRAnet verus inTERnet means in practical terms?

            "I don't think that they have _that much_ spare bandwidth but that they have _some_ to spare"

            If they don't have at least 20-30% "spare" bandwidth, then their network is too congested and cannot burst for busy periods during normal usage (more might actually be recommended, but I'm not in a position to research industry guidelines properly now).

            In short - they are oversubscribed for their capacity. What they should be doing is increase the capacity, but instead they want to limit consumers' ability to utilise the full network and prevent saturation that way. It's a bad tactic that should be doomed to fail, but since there's not a competitive free market in many areas, they will probably get away with it.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Jul 2017 @ 9:08am

      Re: Is Techdirt ever going to grasp what inTRAnet verus inTERnet means in practical terms?

      Wow - you sound all intelligent and stuff, you probably have a PHD in everything. All that up to date hardware you use is Smokin' Hot Fast isn't it.

      Anyways, petty juvenile remarks are certainly going to solve all your problems, so do keep it up as I'm sure it work out for you .... someday - maybe.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 24 Jul 2017 @ 9:53am

        Re: Re: Is Techdirt ever going to grasp what inTRAnet verus inTERnet means in practical terms?

        "Wow - you sound all intelligent and stuff, you probably have a PHD in everything."

        "Anyways, petty juvenile remarks are certainly going to solve all your problems,"

        Who is being juvenile?
        You had nothing meaningful to add to the conversation. All you did was say... "you are wrong" and tossed a tantrum.

        You are the poster child for someone that lost an argument and then cried like a baby about it.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 24 Jul 2017 @ 1:04pm

          Re: Re: Re: Is Techdirt ever going to grasp what inTRAnet verus inTERnet means in practical terms?

          See, such a mature response.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 25 Jul 2017 @ 12:41am

          Re: Re: Re: Is Techdirt ever going to grasp what inTRAnet verus inTERnet means in practical terms?

          Huh... you appear to have completely ignored the long, comprehensive responses that preceded this one and went straight to attack the one you thought you could reject with some pithy attacks. Almost as if you're not interested in any kind of conversation and won't allow yourself to accept that your initial arguments have been utterly destroyed in the cold light of factual information.

          Fascinating, huh?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Jul 2017 @ 11:09am

      Re: Is Techdirt ever going to grasp what inTRAnet verus inTERnet means in practical terms?

      Google found it too expensive but not because of the fiber installation, equipment, and bandwidth. Because of the rigamarole of all wacky pole regulation and how all the other ISPs would drag their feet as much as possible to slow Google down.

      If you are experiencing network saturation, upgrade the network equipment. One of the sights I buy fiber equipment from, I can get a hold of a 100 Gbps SFP for around $1000. variates depending on the fiber nm. Need more, bond several together. We already know that upgrading is an option because Netflix was willing to pay for the upgrades to ISPs but the ISPs wanted that limitation.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Ninja (profile), 24 Jul 2017 @ 11:18am

        Re: Re: Is Techdirt ever going to grasp what inTRAnet verus inTERnet means in practical terms?

        Rigamarole. I must include this word in my daily vocabulary.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          The Wanderer (profile), 26 Jul 2017 @ 7:24am

          Re: Re: Re: Is Techdirt ever going to grasp what inTRAnet verus inTERnet means in practical terms?

          Just as a note, the original word is actually "rigmarole" - the "rigamarole" spelling appears to be a later spelling-drift modification.

          It is a very good word to have in one's vocabulary, however.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        MyNameHere (profile), 24 Jul 2017 @ 5:07pm

        Re: Re: Is Techdirt ever going to grasp what inTRAnet verus inTERnet means in practical terms?

        Actually, it's more like Google figured out that the costs related to operating as a true ISP (including customer service, something they truly despise) was high enough that they had little or no chance to ever make the process profitable. Physically installing network (yes, including dealing with pole related issues) and actually getting the fiber into people's home is just rather expensive.

        Even when they consider the added searches and users for their products, it just isn't worth it. They stopped doing fiber, and unless they can find a way to do commodity wifi for a low fixed cost, they won't be back.

        Unless you have bags of money and no need to turn a profit, then netowrking at any scale is still not a very good business.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 25 Jul 2017 @ 12:49am

          Re: Re: Re: Is Techdirt ever going to grasp what inTRAnet verus inTERnet means in practical terms?

          Strange, you disagree with Google's publicly stated reasons for suspending the fibre program, and place another motive that you apparently pulled from your backside. Do you have any source to state why we should believe you instead of Google? Because it's pretty well documented that it was the problem with last mile infrastructure and its costs, combined with obstruction from the incumbent ISPs, that was the reason the costs were too prohibitive.

          "unless they can find a way to do commodity wifi for a low fixed cost, they won't be back."

          Did you think you got that from your own insight, or from the public statements from Google saying that this is their plan? Because you seem to be trying to imply you came up with this idea yourself.

          "Unless you have bags of money and no need to turn a profit, then netowrking at any scale is still not a very good business."

          True, hence the need for net neutrality and effective regulation since the free market cannot sort this out if there's no effective competition. Glad you agree.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Jul 2017 @ 8:10am

    >The above amount to why "net neutrality" is a bad idea. It'd be more practical to have content stored locally... However, I can't unscramble the current furor: "net neutrality" isn't even defined, though everyone wants it. My own position is that good regulation is good and bad regulation is bad.

    Your above account us a load of bullshit because.

    1) you have thrown in a gratuitous reference to piracy when the article is about legal services.

    2) Throttling specific services has little to do with network management, which would be better served by fair allocation of capacity between all users.

    3) if throttling is not affecting the streaming service, it is a pointless exercise for network management purposes, as the same amount of data is delivered in approximately the same amount of time. It only helps a network if it forces the streaming service to downgrade their video quality to reduce data demands, or cause so much buffering that the user gives up on the stream.

    4) content delivery networks, used by all video streaming services, allow ISP to get local caching to avoid router congestion.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Jul 2017 @ 8:15am

    Haven't gave a crap about Verizon since I went to Project Fi. But now that Cox cable has decided 1T a month with a $10 per 50 gig overage charge is needed for their customers I'm pissed. Welcome the new age of screw your customers.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Jul 2017 @ 9:00am

    I wonder

    if Verizon ever throttles the data they feed to the NSA because the NSA is using too much bandwidth?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    John85851 (profile), 24 Jul 2017 @ 10:31am

    I can see both sides

    On the one hand, if customers are paying for 10m/s, then that's what they should get. If Verizon wants to slow their speed, then tell them and give them an option to pay less each month.

    On the other hand, did it affect everyone or just the "uber-nerds" who run speed tests to make sure they can get 4K data streams even though their mobile devices can't support 4K.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Jul 2017 @ 11:29am

      Re: I can see both sides

      "On the other hand, did it affect everyone or just the "uber-nerds" who run speed tests to make sure they can get 4K data streams even though their mobile devices can't support 4K."

      That's irrelevant. And it leads down a stupid path of saying "oh that'll never happen" to a bunch of things that eventually happened. I guess you'll never need more than 160K of memory in your computer? The whole point of making sure consumers are getting what they pay for is to allow the business who USE the internet to innovate. If Netflix is being throttled to 10Mb/s, even if that affects almost no one right now, it affects what Netflix will be able to do in the future. Even if almost no one is currently streaming 4k, throttling it will make it nearly impossible for 4k to take off if it was going to.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Eldakka (profile), 24 Jul 2017 @ 6:17pm

      Re: I can see both sides

      even though their mobile devices can't support 4K.

      1) Most (non-low end) 4G mobile devices have MHL capable USB ports, which means they can be plugged into TV's to watch the streaming content on an attached TV, therefore the mobile device is being used as content delivery/access, not as the consumption device.

      2) Most 4G mobile devices have the capability of being used as access points for other devices, so even if it is a mobile device, it could be being used as an internet access point for other devices, laptops, etc.

      3) 4G != mobile, it can be, but doesn't have to be. For example, I have a dual-ported router at home that supports using a 3/4G USB dongle as an internet modem, for either primary connection, load balancing connection, or a failover connection. That is not 'mobile'.

      4) Many people in temporary accomodation use a 4G router as their primary internet access because getting landline connections, connection/disconnection/setup fees is quite expensive when only spending 2-6 months in one residence, not to mention installation lead-times that mean it could take a couple weeks to get it installed.

      5) Salespeople (e.g. IBM, MS, CSC, and so on) use 4G dongles or phones as hotspots when doing presentations at customer sites using laptops/projectors/conference systems to access their material or demonstration environments set up on remote services (aka 'cloud').

      6) Residences that find it hard/expensive to get landlines installed use 4G as their residence-wide internet access.

      This is not about mobile devices, this is about the 4G and future xG wireless networks.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 24 Jul 2017 @ 1:10pm

    I half believe them

    I believe that they were conducting a test, but I don't believe their claims as to what they were testing. Rather I suspect they were testing to see what they could get away with without being noticed.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Jul 2017 @ 10:49pm

    They will do what they want now that you are all addicts. Good luck getting treatment.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Matthew Linares, 25 Jul 2017 @ 9:03am

    Tools to protect Net Neutrality

    We should build community tools to protect Net Neutrality. Here's an idea: a browser plugin that slows sites who pay for faster access:

    https://opendemocracy.net/digitaliberties/matthew-linares/internet-equality-is-about-to-get-trumped- let-s-build-wall-to-defend-it

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Martin, 26 Jul 2017 @ 4:22pm

    Anyone tried this with ExpressVPN?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Takumi (profile), 3 Aug 2017 @ 10:25pm

    So this is a stupid and basic question but uh, this whole traffic shaping thing confuses me a lot even after reading a handful of Wikipedia articles about it.

    I understand the part about giving all services the same speed, but why is it that individual users don't need to be limited in the total amount of data they use?

    What exactly is different in our modern internet from the old days when I was told (although we had broadband) a lot of people using the internet at once would make it slower?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 4 Aug 2017 @ 12:24am

      Re:

      "why is it that individual users don't need to be limited in the total amount of data they use?"

      Because the way it works is not that there's a limited pool to use and then it's gone. Caps are meant to discourage extremely heavy usage, because the ISP will have to pay for that total bandwidth (which is usually considered within their fee structure anyway). But, there's no real reason why someone suddenly needs to be cut off or throttled to a crawl when they pass a certain cap.

      As with many things on this subject, it's an ISP business model issue, not a technical one.

      "What exactly is different in our modern internet from the old days when I was told (although we had broadband) a lot of people using the internet at once would make it slower?"

      You're describing contention ratio, which is particularly common with DSL connections. That is, the total speed available on a particular connection may be shared between a number of users in your local area. So, say there's a line that connects to 10 houses and can support 10Mbps. One user on that line might be able to use all 10Mbps to themselves. When there's 10 users, they can only access 1Mbps each, as that takes the line to a total of 10Mbps for everybody.

      What actually happens on the business side of things is that the company will probably cap you at 3Mbps and sell that to all 10 people on the line as getting "up to 3Mbps", then tell you that you can get that speed but it may go down during busy times. But they'll still charge you for 3Mbps, not 1, even if the number of users means you'll never get the full 3.

      This isn't particularly controversial in and of itself. The problem here is that Verizon are deciding to do this only in regard to certain services. So, with other uses of the bandwidth you'd get the full speed promised, but using Netflix you'd suddenly be throttled. This is particularly concerning in the face of the whole net neutrality debate, as Verizon will be doing this to competing video services such as Netflix and YouTube, but not to their own video services - giving them an unfair advantage.

      I hope that makes sense.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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