back to article Oh girl, you jus' didn't: Level 3 slaps Verizon in Netflix throttle blowup

A backbone provider that pumps video from Netflix to viewers has hit back at Verizon's moan that everyone else is to blame for its users' slow streams. Verizon blogged that poor Netflix playback is caused by the networks used by Netflix to pipe films and TV shows to subscribers. Verizon said that while its wires have more than …

  1. ecofeco Silver badge

    Woe is me

    When ANY large corporation starts claiming persecution, hardship and blameless, you can take it to the bank that they are lying.

    In fact, you should.

  2. Mikel

    More ports is still the wrong answer

    ISPs should just take the cache servers Netflix offers for free and they won't need the ports because an episode of 'Orange Is The New Black" will then be shipped across the Internet backbone to their network only once instead of hundreds of thousands of times. This will help prevent the redundant copies from clogging an already burdened network and improve service for all since those redundant copies are a huge share of all background traffic now and for strict engineering purposes are entirely unnecessary. It will also improve the available quality resolutions and latency to their customers.

    Level 3 wants them to add ports because they get paid to carry that redundant traffic.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: More ports is still the wrong answer

      The problem is throttling by Verizon. The answer isn't to add more bandwidth, because that will still be throttled. The answer isn't to pay Verizon more, because that just encourages them to do it with other content providers too.

      The real answer is for competition at the ISP level to give consumers a choice of providers. One that gives them what they want and Verizon.

      1. Uncle Ron

        Re: More ports is still the wrong answer

        What you are suggesting is not only a good idea, it is absolutely vital that we do this. Any reasonable, knowledgeable person, not in the pocket of the cable and telecom industry, would come to this conclusion. Any other solution is good for NO one, except the stockholders and executives of Verizon and Comcast.

        How do we get it done? Sue? Vote for Democrats who have already agreed to do it? How?

        1. Suricou Raven

          Re: More ports is still the wrong answer

          You don't. Internet access is a natural monopoly, even without regulatory barriers: Once someone has laid the cables and owns said cables, it's no longer financially viable for someone new to lay their own cables and compete. The only real solution is to decouple cables from service, as we do here in the UK - but that type of heavy-handed regulation isn't going to fly in the US, where lobbyists are strong and any form of regulation is regarded as a violation of the sacred American principle of the free market.

          1. Vector

            Re: More ports is still the wrong answer

            "The only real solution is to decouple cables from service, as we do here in the UK"

            I think that's the real long term solution. Haven't we reached the point in our modern technological society where internet networks should be treated like the roads we drive on? Despite the recent trend towards privatization of a small portion of the US's highways, if the entire highway infrastructure were handed to corporations, the pitchforks would come out en masse!

            Yet, here we are, being slowly bled by private entities in order to get access to the internet, all because, as pointed out above, the cables are monopolized.

          2. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects

            In Soviet USA

            Why is it only Republicans get to commit assassinations?

            A good dose of Liberal assassins would be just what the colonies need right now.

            1. Michael Habel Silver badge

              Re: In Soviet USA

              Please explain further I fail to see your point.

              Abraham Lincoln, James A. Garfield, William McKinley

              Were all assassinated Republican Presidents.

              The only Democrat President to be killed in Office (and, by coincidence the last), was:

              John F. Kennedy.

              So are you implying that the Republicans were killing their own? Or that the had suffered the greater losses on their side?!

          3. Tom 13

            Re: More ports is still the wrong answer

            There are NO natural monopolies. ALL monopolies are a result of government regulation. Especially in the case of Telcos.

            1. Charles 9 Silver badge

              Re: More ports is still the wrong answer

              So you'd rather have multiple sets of sewage pipes, gas lines, electrical trees, and so on?

              Some monopolies come naturally not because of government regulation but because of aesthetics. Sewage, water, electricity, gas, and many other utilities tend to require lots of big, UGLY infrastructure to operate, and this raises NIMBY issues.

    2. frank ly

      Re: More ports is still the wrong answer

      Am I correct in assuming that Verizon sells its own TV and streaming video services to its customers? If so, it may not be a technical issue.

    3. Anonymous Coward

      Re: More ports is still the wrong answer

      And I guess you also want Google's Servers and NowTV's and Blinkbox's and Vimo's and Apple's and..and...and...

      One thing Telco's houses are renowned for is getting a lot of data, in a little space, with little downtime...

      1. Mikel

        Re: More ports is still the wrong answer

        @Lost all faith...

        Netflix is a third of prime time backbone traffic and absurdly redundant. In other cases where there is also huge redundant traffic like ad networks and YouTube yes, a cache server benefits all netizens and is the right thing to do from a technology standpoint. None other both has as much traffic and is as redundant as Netflix. The content is huge and static - you get the same movie as everybody else. This makes the argument strongest for doing this with Netflix.

  3. Shadow Systems Silver badge

    Verizon can STFU & FOAD, Kthxbai.

    Their "nickel & dime" billing rapes it's customers for every penny we have, and they claim it's all because of the taxes, fees, and surcharges they have to pass along to the customer. We all know that's a metric FekTon of bollocks, since everything except the *Tax* is just made up shite they tack on to inflate the bill.

    Their wireless (Cellular) service sucks rancid regurgitated hamster feces, and that's in the spots where you can get a signal at all. They claim to have the largest network, but if that's so, that net has the largest *holes* in it as well. I should not be able to change phones, change *CITIES*, and still never get more than a second of five bars on the Signal Strength, given I went from the State Capital to the outskirts of "Silicon Valley". If neither place has the coverage to get me more than a pair of bars on a good day, what's that say for their (lack of) coverage out in the boonies?

    They refuse to maintain their landline copper, even though it's required by law for them to do so, and try to replace it with wireless services that don't cover a tenth the area, aren't available *at all* in power outages, and cost exponentially more per month for crappier service. (See New York's debaucle as an example.) Or them trying to force one California town to pay to upgrade the Verizon infrastructure, even though it's *Verizon's* responsibility to do so, all so the residents of the town could have cell coverage after the storms. It took a lawsuit by the County Government to get Verizon to get their heads out of their arse, repair the damaged transmission towers, and restore service... at which point Verizon doubled everyone's bill with various "fees & surcharges" (not Taxes) as punishment.

    Verizon can't be bothered to release software updates to it's customers in a timely manner, and whatever software version the phone was sold with, you can pretty much rest assured it'll *never* get updated... Ever. Which is why it's amazing to hear they're selling devices with Android 4.4 KitKat, but that none of their *OTHER* devices will get 4.4 any time soon (if ever) because they haven't finished validating it yet... Hell, it's not like they're still selling devices with Android 2.x on them or anything, right? /Sarcasm (Hint, they are, and despite those devices being listed as "OTA update capable", being over a year old, and waaaaay past time for such updates, Verizon still refuses to DO so and bring those devices to anything more recent.)

    So we're supposed to believe that it's *NOT* Verizon's fault that the connection to Netflix sucks? When those same customers can try on a raw connect with a result of crap, or open a VPN to Netflix & suddenly get the ability to watch full HD streams without buffering? Uh huh, pull the other one, it's got bells on.

    No, Verizon can just Shut The Fek Up, Fek Off And Die, and Die In A Fire. I'd like to see them taken out to a bog, dropped in heads first, and held there until they stopped struggling, but the Bog would complain about the infection, disease, and mortal insult of being forced to touch the slime that is Verizon.

    1. Lionel Baden

      Re: Verizon can STFU & FOAD, Kthxbai.

      A Massive rant with 7 upvotes and no downvotes !!!

      The register is truly understanding of this mans situation :), ill go make it 8 upvotes

    2. ratfox

      Re: Verizon can STFU & FOAD, Kthxbai.

      I sense much anger in you!

    3. HMB

      Re: Verizon can STFU & FOAD, Kthxbai.

      WOW! All of a sudden Bastard Telecom, I mean British Telecom, I mean BT, possibly BT Wholesale, maybe BT Openreach...

      They don't look quite so bad after all.

      1. nichomach

        Re: Verizon can STFU & FOAD, Kthxbai.

        Well, true, but that's like saying that having your knackers run over a bacon slicer is slightly less painful than running them over a belt sander...

        1. ukgnome

          Re: Verizon can STFU & FOAD, Kthxbai.

          Truly it may me the land of the free (they are not) and the home of the brave (more like the make do)

          But the fact is the average Joe is continually been fucked by whoever they get there services from. When you have a country as big as the USA it seems that they are more controlled. They don't have the choices of the free and modern world. You only have to look at how much they pay for a piss poor service to realise that the roll out in a smaller country such as the UK is actually great value.

          Yes we in the UK will moan about connection speeds and rural fibre, but seriously at least our nation can afford a phone in every citizens hand, and a decent data connection to use.

    4. Michael Habel Silver badge

      Re: Verizon can STFU & FOAD, Kthxbai.

      What exactly was Verizion... (Formerly known as Bell Atlantic - e.g. The Mid-Atlantic Baby Bell), doing maintaining Copper in what was presumably Pacific-Telesis patch?

    5. Tom 13

      Re: Verizon can STFU & FOAD, Kthxbai.

      Grasshopper, you are suffering a delusion. Verizon is not one company. They only want you to think that. In truth they are many, many small companies. None of whom talk to each other. Especially on the wireless ones. I discovered this over 20 years ago when handling the finances for a small non-profit. For various and sundry reasons three cell phones were purchased in Philadelphia, PA to support a couple of officers. That was about three years before me. Then we decided that we should issue cell phones to more officers. So I bought 4 more from a store in Gaithersburg, MD. And asked them to consolidate the billing for the phones. Took me the better part of two years before I finally found a high level manager who could work out how to do it. The problem in the interim was making sure the right checks got applied to the correct phones so that service wouldn't get cut off.

  4. Uncle Ron

    Monopoly = Artificial Scarcity

    Verizon springs from a long line of monopolists whose sole objective is to maximize pricing and minimize investment. Monopolies have done this throughout history. They create artificial scarcity. It is -exactly- what I would do if I ran Verizon. I would do everything under the sun, everything even roughly close to being legal, to charge more and more for my scarcer and scarcer product. All the while using little to none of the revenue to improve the product.

    It is -not- possible to legislate this mentality out of them. It is -not- possible to regulate this mentality out of them. It is -not- possible to inspect this mentality out of them. The only solution is to re-structure the ISP industry in the US. Separate the "last mile" of infrastructure from EVERYTHING else. No TV channels, no ISP service, no movie studios, no websites, no streaming services--NOTHING. Let every competitor hook up with their offerings and the best ones will win. This is how it's done in some other countries and, guess what--it works. Better service, higher speeds, more offerings, lower prices, newer technology faster.

    If your current Congressman and Senators don't commit to this solution, vote for the other guy/gal in the Fall. If we don't do this, America will lose more and more ground to our competitors.

    Competition works, monopoly doesn't. Let's do this.

    1. Ashton Black

      Re: Monopoly = Artificial Scarcity

      Whilst I agree, in principle, the current situation is a direct consequence of the, close to, laissez-faire capitalism that runs in the US. What regulations there are, are under attack, seemingly endlessly, by those who's bottom lines depend on flying close to the legal wind. The FCC seems to be largely toothless and is under sustained pressure from some of the most lobbied politicos.

      Those with the largest lobbying funds, tend to get favorable outcomes in congress and the senate.

      Without changing the system, to force the representatives to represent the society at large, rather than those who pay the most, the "other guy/gal" will probably be just as susceptible to the lobbying, but after, they are elected.

      Anyway, your idea, whilst very admirable, would be laughed out of Washington, as some sort of socialism!

    2. Terry Barnes

      Re: Monopoly = Artificial Scarcity

      "Competition works, monopoly doesn't. Let's do this."

      Rarely in the last mile though.

      Your proposals would take away all the profitable revenue from those providers. No new entrant is going to want to come in and invest a fortune to compete with the incumbent when you've ensured that there's no money to be made. Two providers in a market that used to have one results in half the customers for each mile of cable laid - making the economics even worse. That's why we don't have multiple last mile electricity or gas or water or sewage networks - it would just make the cost of those networks higher, not lower.

      I think you're really arguing for a regulated monopoly.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: Monopoly = Artificial Scarcity

        It depends on the industry. When it comes to water, sewage, electricity, etc. Multiple providers are a problem because the infrastructure is an eyesore, leading to NIMBY issues. But most communication infrastructure isn't such an eyesore, to the point that two more more sets won't be so ugly.

        The problem in this case is that utilities have a very high upfront cost (as in you have to put in all the money to lay down your basic infrastructure before you see one penny of return), making it a barrier of entry that favors incumbents who ALREADY have their infrastructure down (their upfront costs are already sunk).

        View it another way, and you see the problem is a case of vertical integration. The incumbents own both the content and the means to distribute it (think rail companies that owned mines and timber forests in the past). Perhaps the most reasonable solution is to force a breakup of this integration. If the content and the transport were forced to operate separately, with the transport required to be an open and equal provider, then newcomers can lease time from the transport to get a foot in the door. That's why MVNOs work: they lease abilities from the big guys and compete by serving customers the mainstream doesn't prefer like the price-conscious.

        PS. I think I should note: Verizon doesn't seem to allow MVNOs on its network. Sprint does (Boost, Virgin), as does T-Mobile (SimpleMobile, Family Mobile). AT&T seems to, but there seems to be a catch there as none of the MVNOs are able to undercut AT&T on price.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Monopoly = Artificial Scarcity

          I believe that TracFone and some of it's subsiduaries such as PagePlus Cellular are MVNOs on the Verizon network

          (I know a couple of people who switched from +$60/month contracts with Verizon to $12/month PAYG contracts with Page Plus, because they were relatively light users, and 250 minutes a month was all they needed, but nobody had ever told them that it was even possible to get a low cost plan until they heard about Page Plus. AT&T and Verizon have very effective marketing campaigns that constantly go on about "Friends and Family" plans that can work out as "as little as" $30/month per device, as long as you have 5 or 6 devices in the plan, but that first device is going to cost $60-$80 per month.

          Of course those "Friends and Family" plans create enormous drag when it comes to switching providers - all 5 or 6 people in the plan have to pay for a new phone at the same time to switch, or everyone's bill goes up a little bit if one person drops out. Abusive marketing at it's very best).

      2. Uncle Ron

        Re: Monopoly = Artificial Scarcity

        Terry, "I think you're really arguing for a regulated monopoly." That is -exactly- what I am arguing for. The last mile would be a -very- closely regulated monopoly. Only the last mile would be a monopoly. Call it "plumbing only." No data-centers, no ISP services, no TV channels, no movie studios, no streaming services--none of it. That's why it's called "the last mile." It's just wiring. It's not a sexy business, but it is a monopoly. It is the biggest hurdle to competition that there is in the telecom business right now. And probably for decades to come.

        If we made such rules, with a firm set of guidelines as to the value of these assets, there would be thousands of bond issuers lined up to finance the purchase of this "last mile" by city governments, county councils, and private parties based on the usage fees (remember, carefully regulated) that they could collect from both end-user consumers and the "hookers-on." Many developers currently -already- pay for wiring up their new apartment buildings and subdivisions but expansion and maintenance fees would be carefully monitored and performance and profit limits would be set. That's what a regulated monopoly is. Bingo, you have hoards of ISP wanna-be's, and Netflixes, voice, and video and more, champing at the bit to get in this game.

        Think about it: If your Comcast or Cox bill is currently $150 per month, how much do you think is going to depreciation, maintenance, and expansion of the WIRE? Ten bucks? Fifteen bucks? The rest goes to HBO, CBS, NBC, ESPN, Fox Sports, etc. How much goes to support Cox "Turbo" internet service? I'm sure as I'm sitting here that it's not much more than the cost of the wire. It shouldn't be one business that can price-gouge based on the fact that they own wire.

    3. Tom 13

      Re: Monopoly = Artificial Scarcity

      There's just one huge gaping hole in your argument.

      The Verizon vs Netflix problem isn't in the last mile. It's in the interconnects between the big boys.

      Other than that I like the idea. The intermixing of media production, broadcast etc. gives rise to precisely the sorts of problems the Sherman anti-trust act allegedly is intended to alleviate.

  5. Shadow Systems Silver badge


    That's not anger, that's me being polite, calm, & rational...

    *Anger* would be me resting in a well shielded Sniper's Perch, .50Cal rifle on it's bipod, picking off Verizon C-level executives while singing "One little, Two little, Three little corpses... Four little, Five little, Six little corpses... Seven little, Eight little, Nine little corpses... Ten little corpses, now I gotta reload."


    Now if you'll pardon me, I have to go remove myself to an "undisclosed location" before the ThreeLetterAgencies arrive to take me in for questioning. Mister Orwell wuzza Prophet, and "1984" was His bible.

    *Runs away cackling in insane glee, gibbering about microwaved pelican toejam*


    1. Sir Runcible Spoon

      Re: @RatFox...

      ".50Cal rifle on it's bipod, picking off Verizon C-level executives"

      Considering the availability of weapons in the US and the regular ass-rodgering the public get I'm really surprised this doesn't happen more - unless I'm just ignorant of swathes of CEO's biting the bullet? (especially the banks/Fed reserve etc.)

      1. Michael Habel Silver badge

        Re: @RatFox...

        Considering the availability of weapons in the US and the regular ass-rodgering the public get I'm really surprised this doesn't happen more - unless I'm just ignorant of swathes of CEO's biting the bullet? (especially the banks/Fed reserve etc.)

        I blame this on all those Xanax Commercials.... Christ there's not a single block of Add's airing over there right now, that hasn't got at least Three different Med's on offer... Each with possible Side-effects that seem worse then the "cure" they purport to cure...

        One can only assume that the 'Merikans are all nicely sedated, and the "wack-jobs" you hear about from time-to-time... Are in fact the sane ones...

    2. Fatman

      Re: @RatFox...

      *Anger* would be me resting in a well shielded Sniper's Perch, .50Cal rifle on it's bipod, picking off Verizon C-level executives...

      Be careful, you are starting to wander into terrorist country, and attract the attention of the real (badge carrying) terrorists.


  6. Shadow Systems Silver badge


    Considering I regularly shave my testicles with a Weed Whacker (it's tingly!), I fail to see how either of your suggestions would result in anything more severe than a rather pleasant scratching of an itch...



    Don't mind me, I'm Clinicly Insane, in need of more Caffeine, and just got through reading about how peanut butter and pickle relish can be used to create WMD's... Google Is Your Friend. *CaCkLe*

  7. Fatman

    RE: Level3 speaks 'up'

    About a week ago, I posited that the problem has 3 potential bottle neck spots, the transit provider's outbound ports, the interconnect to Verizon VerLIESon, or with VerLIESon's inbound ports.

    Well, it seems that the culprit, at least according to Level3 is VerLIESon.

    Who wouldda thunk that???

    1. Down not across Silver badge

      Re: RE: Level3 speaks 'up'

      About a week ago, I posited that the problem has 3 potential bottle neck spots, the transit provider's outbound ports, the interconnect to Verizon VerLIESon, or with VerLIESon's inbound ports.

      Well, it seems that the culprit, at least according to Level3 is VerLIESon.

      Who wouldda thunk that???

      Indeed you did. And refreshingly you also mentioned the various points where the problem could be.

      I'm not in the slightest surprised L3 denying blame and shifting it to Verizon. All players so far have made sure their version is "It's not me, its the other guy". So far Netflix is blaming Verizon, Verizon is blaming L3 (or so it appears) and L3 is blaming Verizon. L3's complaint about the ports sounds perfectly feasible.

      Whilst Verizon seem to be running out of rope here, there is something that has not (and most likely won't be) been disclosed and that is what the peering arrangements between L3 and Verizon are?

      L3 are blaming Verizon for not adding more ports. Who should pay for those ports? The fact that they may exist doesn't mean they are of no cost. What if it would be up to L3 to pay for the extra ports? I'm not saying this is the case as I have no idea of what their arrangements may be, just that things may not be so clear cut.

      Bottom line is any company will avoid being blamed and would try to shift the blame if it could.

      Likewise as has been posted by many on this thread there certainly are conlficts of interest with regards to some services and competition.

      Oh and why sell yourself short and devalue your post with the childish namecalling.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: RE: Level3 speaks 'up'

        Go back and read the article, and while you're at it, read the ARS article, too. They quoted the Level3 guy just a bit more where he said that the ports are a couple grand, and that he'd buy Verizon one and send his people in to install it for them. He also said there are available ports and that he'd buy them a fiber jumper to make the connection, if they want it.

  8. Technological Viking

    The money has been followed

    While I am a customer of Netflix and was convinced that Verizon was a group of digital gangsters as many as six years ago, one must be objective about public claims like this. Netflix has direct customers that are unhappy with their service, and they blame Verizon and provide understandable but not entirely provable graphics and metrics to point the finger. Verizon similarly has direct customers and needs to maintain its reputation, so it responds to such allegations with slightly less understandable and even less provable graphics and metrics backed up by a legion of attorneys ready to take Netflix to court. Both companies have customer bases to keep happy and both blame each other without a *real* way of us determining whose fault it might be (as much as I was already more than happy to blame Verizon, see "digital gangsters" above); looks like a Mexican stand-off.

    Then, the white hat Level 3 rides in on the white horse and declares that Verizon is to blame! With no direct customer base to speak of, I would say they're far more believable than either of the two providers. Plus, you know, anybody else pointing a finger at Verizon is probably right in my book.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: The money has been followed

      "Netflix has direct customers that are unhappy with their service..."


    2. Tom 13

      Re: The money has been followed

      I am both a Verizon FIOS and Netflix subscriber. From my point of view it is really very simple, but I have no good legal way to attack the problem: Verizon is not supplying me the service they promised. Netflix is.

  9. Uncle Ron

    The Setup

    You have to carefully look at the setup--the way we set up cable systems in this country--to understand the fatal flaw in the ointment: As another poster above stated, allowing monopoly cable systems to also own content and other services (Comcast is the basket case here) is a fatally designed system. Comcast has a monopoly on the coax cable going into 10's of millions of homes in the US (forget AT&T because DSL over copper wire will never approach coax for bandwidth--never, and AT&T will -never- make the investments necessary to be competitive--never,) and Comcast also owns a HUGE ISP, plus NBC, CNBC, Bravo, USA Network, MSNBC, Universal Studios, Comcast Sports Network, Telemundo and more and more.

    If I owned all this, what would my behavior be like? You guessed it: Terrible service, lousy technology, near-zero investment, thwarting competition at every opportunity, and constantly rising prices. This is the natural order of things. Monopolies create artificial scarcity and have no incentive to improve. Why should they? They have no competition--or what they do have can "be dealt with." BTW, if the Comcast merger is allowed, look for a ComcastFlix coming soon through a cable near you. They'll put Netflix out of business pretty quickly, and your new monthly fee for ComcastFlix won't be $9.95. Bet on it. It's what I would do if I ran Comcast. Wouldn't you? David Cohen, SVP of Comcast, has already publicly stated that he expects to implement Metered Billing for internet service "across our footprint" within 3-5 years. And the US National Cable Industry Association has also publicly predicted that the average consumer bill for internet service--just internet service--will be $200 to $300 per month in that same time period.

    That's what I mean by "the setup." It's fatally flawed in America and must be changed. If it isn't, we will continue to fall behind other countries--and not just in internet service. Every system administrator reading this board knows that if Comcast doesn't like what El Reg is saying about them, POOF!, El Reg is throttled out of existence to Comcast users. You know it can be done without a trace of evidence. Readers will just stop coming here because, half the time, it just takes too long to load the page--or worse. Goodbye forever.

  10. Uncle Ron

    One More Thing...

    If the Comcast/Time Warner Cable deal is approved, the new, larger Comcast would serve 91 percent of all Hispanic households and be the top distributor in 19 of the top 20 Hispanic markets. Comcast owns Telemundo. Where do you think that leaves Univision when it wants to offer new channels or transmit anything on anything owned by Comcast? Univision will be thwarted and throttled and screwed at every turn. This is just not right.

    This proposed merger would be a NATIONAL DISASTER for America. It cannot be allowed. Please find out where your Congressman and Senators stand on this thing and vote accordingly in November.

  11. Someone Else Silver badge

    Oooohh! Catfight!!!

    1. Tom 13

      Nah. Catfights can be amusing and people will crowd around to watch them. This is more like a rhinoceros and an elephant fighting. Only a damn fool wants to be close to that fight.

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  • California's net neutrality law dodges Big Telecom bullet
    Federal appeals court upholds decision not to block connection protection rules

    The US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday upheld a lower court's refusal to block California's net neutrality law (SB 822), affirming that state laws can regulate internet connectivity where federal law has gone silent.

    The decision is a blow to the large internet service providers that challenged California's regulations, which prohibit network practices that discriminate against lawful applications and online activities. SB 822, for example, forbids "zero-rating" programs that exempt favored services from customer data allotments, paid prioritization, and blocking or degrading service.

    In 2017, under the leadership of then-chairman Ajit Pai, the US Federal Communications Commission tossed out America's net neutrality rules, to the delight of the internet service providers that had to comply. Then in 2018, the FCC issued an order that redefined broadband internet services, treating them as "information services" under Title I of the Communications Act instead of more regulated "telecommunications services" under Title II of the Communications Act.

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  • Mobile networks really hate Apple's Private Relay: Some folks find iOS privacy feature blocked on their iPhones
    Plus: Verizon's personal data grab, and more

    In brief Some mobile networks in Europe, UK, and America have reportedly started blocking Apple's beta-grade Private Relay functionality in iOS 15.

    This opt-in feature works kinda like a VPN or kinda like Tor depending on how you squint at it: when enabled, it encrypts and routes your connection through two proxy servers in an attempt to obfuscate your location and IP address to websites. It also hides from your cellular network which webpages and sites you're reading. Bear in mind you need to be using Safari and paying for iCloud+, and that the chosen servers do reveal the region of the world you're in. Not all countries are supported by Private Relay.

    Now it's reported that at least some subscribers using T-Mobile US and Sprint in America, carriers in Europe, and EE in the UK may be unable to use Private Relay on their iPhones when using cellular data due to their network operator's intervention.

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  • South Korea sets site reliability engineering standards for Big Tech
    Wants Google, Meta, Netflix and locals to work harder on uptime, warn locals of outages in Korean

    South Korea's Ministry of Science and ICT has offered Big Tech some advice on how to make their services suitably resilient, and added an obligation to notify users – in Korean - when they fail.

    The guidelines apply to Google, Meta (parent company of Facebook), Netflix, Naver, Kakao and Wavve. All have been told to improve their response to faults by beefing up preemptive error detection and verification systems, and create back up storage systems that enable quick content recovery.

    The guidelines offer methods Big Tech can use to measure user loads, then plan accordingly to ensure their services remain available. Uptime requirements are not spelled out.

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  • Netflix shows South Korea a rerun of 'We Won't Pay Your Telcos For Bandwidth'
    Season Two looks like it'll be a courtroom drama

    Netflix has rejected the premise of the lawsuit brought against it by South Korean telco SK Broadband, which demanded the streaming video giant pay up for the colossal amount of bandwidth consumed by hit shows such as Squid Game.

    SK Broadband announced its legal action in early October and at the time Netflix said it would review the merits of the case.

    Netflix's response was a post pointing out that its content delivery network – Open Connect – is offered gratis to internet service providers and is "proven to reduce at least 95 per cent of network traffic".

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  • Euro-telcos call on big tech to help pay for their network builds
    Aka 'rebalancing global technology giants and the European digital ecosystem'

    The European Telecommunications Network Operators' Association (ETNO) has published a letter signed by ten telco CEOs that calls for, among other things, Big Tech to pay for their network builds.

    The letter, signed by the CEOs of the Vodafone Group, BT Group, Deutsche Telekom, Telefónica, Orange Group and five more telco leaders, calls for a "renewed effort to rebalance the relationship between global technology giants and the European digital ecosystem".

    "A large and increasing part of network traffic is generated and monetized by Big Tech platforms, but it requires continuous, intensive network investment and planning by the telecommunications sector," the letter states, adding "This model – which enables EU citizens to enjoy the fruits of the digital transformation – can only be sustainable if such platforms also contribute fairly to network costs."

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  • Netflix sued by South Korean ISP after Squid Game fans swell traffic to '1.2Tbps'
    You better cough up for all this bandwidth, says broadband biz

    Netflix should cover bandwidth and maintenance costs of a surge in our network traffic, says South Korean ISP SK Broadband, which has taken legal action after subscribers flocked to watch the streaming giant’s latest Korean-language TV show Squid Game.

    SK Broadband is unhappy that the flow of packets through its systems repeatedly spikes in size as more and more folks in South Korea fire up Netflix. We're talking 1.2Tbps of Netflix traffic alone through the ISP in September, a claim by SK reported by Reuters.

    "We will review the claim that SK Broadband has filed against us," a spokesperson for Netflix told The Register on Friday. "In the meantime, we continue to seek open dialogue and explore ways of working with SK Broadband in order to ensure a seamless streaming experience for our shared customers."

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