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First Detailed Data Analysis Shows Exactly How Comcast Jammed Netflix 243

An anonymous reader writes John Oliver calls it "cable company f*ckery" and we've all suspected it happens. Now on Steven Levy's new Backchannel publication on Medium, Susan Crawford delivers decisive proof, expertly dissecting the Comcast-Netflix network congestion controversy. Her source material is a detailed traffic measurement report (.pdf) released this week by Google-backed M-Lab — the first of its kind — showing severe degradation of service at interconnection points between Comcast, Verizon and other monopoly "eyeball networks" and "transit networks" such as Cogent, which was contracted by Netflix to deliver its bits. The report shows that interconnection points give monopoly ISPs all the leverage they need to discriminate against companies like Netflix, which compete with them in video services, simply by refusing to relieve network congestion caused by external traffic requested by their very own ISP customers. And the effects victimize not only companies targeted but ALL incoming traffic from the affected transit network. The report proves the problem is not technical, but rather a result of business decisions. This is not technically a Net neutrality problem, but it creates the very same headaches for consumers, and unfair business advantages for ISPs. In an accompanying article, Crawford makes a compelling case for FCC intervention.

Level 3 Shaken Down By Comcast Over Video Streaming 548

An anonymous reader writes "It looks like the gloves are really coming off; Level 3 Communications had to pony up an undisclosed amount of cash to keep Netflix streaming to Comcast customers. Perhaps now the FCC might actually do something to ensure that the internet remains open. Level 3's Chief Legal Officer, Thomas Stortz, said: 'Level 3 believes Comcast's current position violates the spirit and letter of the FCC's proposed Internet Policy principles and other regulations and statutes, as well as Comcast's previous public statements about favoring an open Internet. While the network neutrality debate in Washington has focused on what actions a broadband access provider might take to filter, prioritize or manage content requested by its subscribers, Comcast's decision goes well beyond this. With this action, Comcast is preventing competing content from ever being delivered to Comcast's subscribers at all, unless Comcast's unilaterally-determined toll is paid — even though Comcast's subscribers requested the content. With this action, Comcast demonstrates the risk of a 'closed' Internet, where a retail broadband Internet access provider decides whether and how their subscribers interact with content.'"

Cable Exec Suggests Changing Consumer Behavior, Not Business Model 675

Techdirt has pointed out yet another cable exec that just doesn't quite get it. Comcast's COO, Steve Burke, recently urged the TV industry to find ways to "get consumers to change" rather than figure out better methods to cater to demand. "'An entire generation is growing up, if we don't figure out how to change that behavior so it respects copyright and subscription revenue on the part of distributors, we're going to wake up and see cord cutting.' How many consumers, in any market, are focused on 'respecting' vendors' revenue streams? How, exactly, does he propose to effect this sea change? And why not just develop products that consumers will willingly pay for, rather than trying to change consumer behavior in such a fundamental way?"
The Internet

Comcast's New Throttling Plan Uses Trigger Conditions, Not Silent Blocking 698

clang_jangle writes with this excerpt from The Inquirer outlining Comcast's new traffic-throttling scheme, based on information from Comcast's latest FCC filing. "Its network throttling implements a two-tier packet queueing system at the routers, driven by two trigger conditions. Comcast's first traffic throttling trigger is tripped by using more than 70 per cent of your maximum downstream or upstream bandwidth for more than 15 minutes. Its second traffic throttling trigger is tripped when the Cable Modem Termination System you're hooked-up to – along with up to 15,000 other Comcast subscribers – gets congested, and your traffic is somehow identified as being responsible. Tripping either of Comcast's high bandwidth usage rate triggers results in throttling for at least 15 minutes, or until your average bandwidth utilisation rate drops below 50 per cent for 15 minutes."

16.5 feet in the Twilight Zone = 1 Rod Serling