Verizon Public Policy on Netflix

Miles Fidelman mfidelman at
Fri Jul 11 00:53:02 UTC 2014

Jay Ashworth wrote:
> Here's a link to a post from VZN's public policy blog, about Netflix.
> Now, just as a matter of principle, I tend to assume that anything VZN
> says in public is a self-serving lie based on a poor understanding of the
> Real World... but I did in fact read it.
> Yup.
> The money quote:
>     One might wonder why Netflix and its transit providers were the only ones
>     that ran into congestion issues. What it boils down to is this: these other
>     transit and content providers took steps to ensure that there was adequate
>     capacity for their traffic to enter our network.
> "their traffic".
> What, Verizon: Netflix is just sending you that traffic uninvited?
> No: that's *your customers traffic*.  You *knew* that there would be
> asymmetrical amounts of traffic flowing downhill to your customers,
> *or you wouldn't have provisioned nearly uniformly asymmetrical last
> mile links to them*.

Let me preface this by saying that I'm in no way an apologist for 
Verizon - I've spent a lot of my life in the municipal networking world, 
and Verizon's lobbying against muncipal fiber builds makes them the 
enemy in many regards.  But, as a FIOS customer, I'm impressed by their 
levels of service, and as a network engineer and policy wonk it seems 
only fair to point out the following:

Verizon is claiming that delays between Netflix and FIOS customers 
result from a) the transit network between Netflix and Verizon being 
congested, and/or b) the connection between the transit network and 
Verizon is congested.

A little experimentation validates this:  Traffic from my FIOS home 
router flows through and before hitting netflix. Now is now owned by Verizon, but when I run traceroutes, I see all 
the delays starting halfway through XO's network -- so why is nobody 
pointing a finger at XO?

I'll also note that traffic to/from google, and youtube (also google of 
course) seems to flow FIOS - - google -- with no delays.  So 
again, why aren't Netflix and Verizon pointing their fingers at XO.

This is the classic asymmetric peering situation - which raises a 
legitimate question of who's responsible for paying for the costs of 
transit service and interconnections?

And, of course, one might ask why Netflix isn't buying a direct feed 
into either or FIOS POPs, and/or making use of a caching 
network like Akamai, as many other large traffic sources do on a routine 

Personally, I think Netflix is screwing the pooch on this one, and 
pointing the finger at Verizon as a convenient fall guy.

Miles Fidelman

In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice.
In practice, there is.   .... Yogi Berra

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