The basic argument is that we’re big believers in the free and open Internet -Reed Hastings, CEO, Netflix
Except they really aren’t…
What they are big believers in, is the expediency whenever money is on the table. And for Netflix, pleasing the content creators is what makes them money.
Last year, Hastings was an outspoken advocate of the, “open”, Internet. Claiming it wasn’t fair that some companies…like Apple…could pay Internet service providers and Internet transit providers for a internetwork grooming so data streams would be more efficient. By doing this, Apple would be in the better position to guarantee their customers a better download experience.
But Hastings didn’t like that. The whole, “paying” part. That’s why, when their Internet Transit Provider (it’s like your ISP on the other side of the Internet) Akami got beat out on price by Canadian ITP, Cogent Netflix moved ramp up services to them. Unbeknownst to Hastings, Cogent didn’t believe in Net Neutrality ideals, they sold 2 kinds of Internets:
- Retail Internet: People who don’t flood the Internet all day and all night. It’s cheaper from the zero mark to the threshold, but if you cross that line, it starts to get really pricey.
- Wholesale Internet: Buy cheap and buy big. This is the 12 gallon jar of mayonnaise Internets. Best used for any reason, or no reason at all.
Can you guess which one of these Internets Netflix bought? You got it.
Hastings went #2.
But what Hastings didn’t understand, was that Cogent used networking shaping strategies during the times of congestion. If you are the Internets, congestion means any time people aren’t at work, they are watching all the Netflix they can. Netflix data streams are the single most cause of Internet network traffic on the planet . This causes data traffic jams. When congestion happens, Cogent puts the priority on the traffic of the customers who buy #1 Internets, and penalizes those who buy #2. Why? Because #2 customers are those customers who gorge themselves on the Internet.
You can liken this strategy to AT&T who throttles the
unlimited subscribers, after they reach the limits of their unlimited data plan.
So, when Cogent network traffic was slamming Comcast networks through the xNumber of internetwork connections that Cogent and Comcast had a business agreement for, it started to congest. Just like when you are putting engine oil in your car. If you pour too much too quickly, I will spill all over the place.
And because Cogent has 2 kinds of oil to pour into the engine, they pour from 2 oil containers at the same time. But when there is too much, Cogent favors the #1 oil container over the #2 oil container…and tips the #2 container back a little so the car can get #1 oil first.
Netflix traffic was the oil in that #2 container, and Comcast is the car.
The Piper vs The Miser
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t have anything against people who want to pour oil 2 at a time. But if you do that, perhaps it would be best if you had 2 oil caps over 2 engine oil pour holes. Genius right?
So we could just take the car to the dealer and tell him to please put another hole in the engine. After looking at you funny he would do the job…and then hand you an invoice.
Wait…they expect me to pay for this?
I know right? It’s a scam. People expecting you to pay for scheduling their day around your needs, to labor at your bidding just to accommodate your desires. That isn’t right. That is against the law.
No. That’s how business works. But when you don’t want to pay for things to accommodate your needs in a business environment, crying out that you have been a victim of injustice…especially if you are the enabler for millions of people to sit and stare at 60 inch plasma playing episode after episode of Breaking Bad…you are going to get some media attention.
How they did it
Because Cartoons convey messages easily to those easily impressed and who went to public school…like me…most people think this is how Net Neutrality works:
“Net Neutrality” is Obamacare for the Internet; the Internet should not operate at the speed of government.- Senator Ted Cruz (@SenTedCruz)
To be honest, I don’t think Senator Cruz got it right. We aren’t require by law to purchase government Internet…yet. But the gravity of it is, the government sought a tragedy to fix, and at the time it was the injustice that business on the internet wasn’t done the way they liked it. They want all network traffic treated the same. Just like Hastings said Netflix wanted all traffic treated the same.
That cartoon was written with so much misinformation, I can’t believe it’s still posted on the web. Not only were they wrong about Comcast wanting to charge their ISP users higher rates. They did nothing of the sort. It’s filled with what if’s and they could if they wanted too’s…it doesn’t even pass the test of common sense. By the logic over at ‘oatmeal’, we should pass a law making it illegal for the Space Shuttle to land in your back yard.
What if it did? It could if it wanted to.
Netflix was never interested in data packet equality. Hastings was trying to get out of paying for the infrastructure that his product needed to give his customers a good User Experience. He jacked up prices on his customers in a way that was so slimy, he might as well have been selling tickets to a donkey show,
So Netflix is interested in packet traffic being treated the same…unless it’s Netflix that wants to treat network traffic differently.
What is a VPN?
VPN stands for Virtual Private Network. It is a way to create a connection from here to there that is encrypted and uses what are called ‘tunneling protocols’. Many business’s utilize VPN as a way for remote employees to access the corporate network securely while they are not on site, using the Internet. Other ways VPN’s are used varies. Onavo uses a connection through their VPN service to compress data to make your cell data usage less. Other reasons are anonymity and privacy. VPN providers act as a proxy for connections. So as far as the entity accepting the connection is concerned, the VPN provider is the end-user.
Netflix is blocking VPN Connections
Irony much? Hastings says that VPN users can mask their location and therefore gain access to TV and Movies that the content creators say certain geographical locations can’t have.
So…to keep his cash cow happy, Hastings is breaking the Net Neutrality laws, doing the same thing that only last year he said Comcast was doing to him. Except in this case, he really is blocking Netflix subscribers, and Comcast was not.
VPN providers have unanimously condemned Netflix’s crackdown on subscribers who use so-called unblocking services. Several VPN companies have announced counter-measures, while others raise the issue of Net Neutrality, suggesting that there are better ways to tackle abuse. Last week Netflix announced that it would increase its efforts to block customers who circumvent geo-blockades.
Netflix is trampling on our freedom
If Net neutrality really is about American free-speech, freedom and equality…then Reed Hastings has just accomplished the most unamerican thing you can do on the Internet. If people have a right to a free and open internet, NetFlix is now an oppressor of Liberty. The sad thing about all of this, is that it’s not like Hastings had a change of heart or decided to support the opposing ideal after gaining some epiphany. It’s not like Netflix and its employees somehow had a fundamental change in philosophy or even believe in or stand against Net Neutrality as an idea or as an intellectual mantra on how things should be for the good of one thing or its opposite.
It’s was about money.
Hastings manipulated a lot of people and accused even more of doing things they didn’t do, playing the victim card of ‘blocked traffic’ and using the ‘packet justice’ of Net Neutrality as a flag with which to drape over his embattled shoulders as he cried out for freedom and equality for all people.
What he was really doing was trying to get out of having to spend money to make his product decent because his margin was low for how much Netflix operating cost incurred on CDN placements and partnerships. As soon as the creators of the entertainment that he delivers to his customers started complaining because some region of the world isn’t allowed to watch the TV shows they make because they don’t have a money deal, Hastings, ‘turned off their internet’.
That is UNSAT.