It's been a while since I've written a diary -- work's been busy and I've been using my remaining hours to sleep.
However, this is important enough for me to write up a diary on, as Net Neutrality and other "cable-company fuckery" continues to be an issue.
See, over at Backchannel, Susan Crawford has two blistering articles that go into detail about how Comcast and other ISPs refused to solve traffic issues with Netflix and how that led to the slowdown and extortion which has led directly to the price increases at Netflix: Jammed and How to Fight Telecom Gameplaying.
The overall conclusion from these articles?
There is clear evidence of consumer and business harm, including collateral damage to businesses not affiliated with Netflix thanks to the actions of the major US ISPs.
Details below the fold.
First, in Jammed, we learn that it's no longer simply rumored, or a simple peering issue as I''ve covered in previous diaries:
What started out as suspicion is now fully documented, in a study that has just been released by a nonprofit research consortium called M-Lab. M-Lab’s data suggests the logical conclusion that Verizon and Comcast, as well as Time Warner Cable, CenturyLink, and AT&T, are intentionally squeezing data coming from some incoming networks — in particular, networks associated with Netflix, which competes with these companies in video entertainment. Customers of these eyeball networks are getting degraded service that cannot be explained by anything other than business decisions.
It confirms that the warnings and fears of Net Neutrality and Common Carrier classification advocates had warned of were absolutely justified and true:
The revelations of clear service bottlenecks offer rare first-hand evidence of the power of large Internet access monopolies to force companies that require access to their networks into costly service arrangements, or else suffer degraded connectivity. This is the kind of game-playing feared by the millions of Americans who have pushed for rules preventing what faux news comedian John Oliver calls “cable industry fuckery.”
In the other article, Ms. Crawford addresses an argument often seen in Net Neutrality diaries -- that Netflix is the one at fault due to the enormous amount of traffic they send:
Who is right? It doesn’t matter. The eyeball networks have enough market power — remember, the only way to reach their subscribers is through their front doors — to require payment. And the terms they can exact over time are unconstrained by either oversight or market competition. This is not an argument that is won by persuasion or animated, in the end, by principle. It is based on an exercise of raw power.
We, as consumers, have no choice but to access Netflix through these "eyeball networks", which I've previously termed last mile ISPs
. Regardless of who is at fault, the position of providers like Comcast puts them in a position of enormous power that needs to be reined in via anti-trust breakups or strict regulation via the FCC.
We have proof of not just Netflix viewers being harmed, but other companies that get bandwidth from the transit networks that Netflix uses being caught in the crossfire. The M-Lab data is the smoking gun.
The FCC has no excuse not to take action due to compelling consumer and business interest.