Verizon Public Policy on Netflix

Todd Lyons tlyons at
Sun Jul 13 17:17:01 UTC 2014

On Sun, Jul 13, 2014 at 9:53 AM, Matthew Petach <mpetach at> wrote:
>> >How would "4U of rent" and 500W($50) electricity *not* save money?
>> Because, on top of that, we'd have huge bandwidth expenses.
> I know I'm just a dumb troll, but
> don't you have the same bandwidth
> demands already from your users
> pulling down netflix content today?

This is an interesting conversation to watch as a non-important,
non-influential outsider.

Brett's calculation is the cost of:

(BW of preloading X new shows a week in multiple formats)
  is greater than
(BW of Z % of his user base watching Y streams a week)

It's not been clearly stated whether X is 100% of new shows, but I
suspect it's more along the lines of mostly what Netflix expects to be

Because that Netflix box is not an on-demand cache, it gets a bunch of
shows pushed to it that may or may not be watched by any of Brett's
customers.  Then the bandwidth he must use to preload that box is
large, much larger than the sum of the streams his customers do watch.

Brett touched on this in the Security Now episode, but I don't think
he was clear so I want to explore the realities of these options.
IMHO two solutions exist that would make small people like Brett much
happier with this Netflix box:

1) Make the box an on-demand cache: the first customer who watches a
show causes the episode to stream/push_high_bw to the box, and from
the box out to the customer.  Any subsequent customer gets it directly
from the box, even if the initial stream is still ongoing.
Complications do arise if the second (or third) customer tries to move
beyond the current location of the initial stream.

2) My suggestion is probably less popular because it requires a person
with (maybe more than) a few minutes, but give the list of shows
desired to be pre-pushed to the box to $ISP and give them a couple
hours to uncheck certain things that they know or suspect their users
won't watch, allowing them to reduce their bandwidth usage.  And
conversely, provide a checkbox of shows that the ISP wants to never be
cached on the box.

I did agree with the comment later in the email that making content
freely cached is a non-starter because that content could be copied
too easily.  However, if the Netflix box is what does all of the
on-demand caching in #1, then it leaves the power in Netflix's hands,
while not requiring the ISP to download multiple copies of shows that
its users will never watch.

A lot of this is dependent upon:
1) How many different copies of a single show are pushed to the box.
Does that number vary per show.
2) How many shows are pushed/pre-pushed to the box per week.  How frequently.

The total budget at all receivers for solving senders' problems is $0.
If you want them to accept your mail and manage it the way you want,
send it the way the spec says to. --John Levine

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