Verizon Public Policy on Netflix

Keenan Tims ktims at
Fri Jul 11 01:50:49 UTC 2014

> 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?

Traceroute is pretty meaningless for analyzing if there is congestion or not. The presence of delays could mean many things that don't indicate congestion. Most large networks are well managed internally; congestion almost always appears at network edges.

In this case, the assertion is that XO's link to Verizon is congested. If that is in fact the case, it's because Verizon is running it hot. Verizon is (presumably) an XO customer, and it is on them to increase capacity or do network engineering such that their links are upgraded or traffic shifted elsewhere. It's worth pointing out that if Verizon is running a transit link hot like this, Netflix is not the only traffic that's going to be impacted, and that is in no way Netflix' fault. Even if it is a peering link, their dispute should be with XO.

What people seem to miss here is that there is no other out for $ISP than a) increase transit capacity, b) sufficiently peer with $CONTENT or c) allow performance to degrade (ie. Don't give customers what they are paying for). If we take c) off the table, it tells us that settlement-free peering would be the preferred alternative as it would usually cost less than buying more transit.

> 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.

Verizon (apparently) refuses to peer with Netflix, since Netflix has an open polic. They do, however, appear to peer with Google. Why?

> 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?

If this were a question of Verizon transiting traffic for Netflix asymmetrically, then sure. However they are terminating the traffic in question, the only "transit" is to a paying Verizon customer on Verizon equipment; this is the part of the network their customer pays them to maintain.

> 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 basis.

They likely can already meet easily at many points across the country, with little cost to either party. It is quite obvious that Netflix is very open to doing so. Why doesn't Verizon want to play? Apparently because they think they can successfully convince users that the problem is Netflix' and not Verizon's. Content peering with eyeballs should be a no-brainer - it saves both parties plenty of money and improves performance across the board. Netflix seems willing to bring their traffic to Verizon's edge for free, all Verizon needs to do is turn up the ports and build whatever capacity they would need to build anyway regardless of where the traffic comes from or what it is. Or, if the power and space is cheaper than the transport from where they meet (or to where they can meet), they can install Netflix' appliances. They always have the option of just buying more transit too, but the bottom line is that this expansion is required to carry their customer's traffic, it's not something they would be trying to charge content/transit for if it were organic traffic growth from diverse sources, they would simply upgrade their network like the rest of us.


> 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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