Inevitable death, was Re: Verizon Public Policy on Netflix

Brett Glass nanog at
Tue Jul 15 17:28:40 UTC 2014

At 09:30 AM 7/15/2014, Baldur Norddahl wrote:
>If that is the case, how would peering with Netflix help you any? 

It would not, and that is the point. Netflix' "peering" scheme (again,
I take issue with the use of the term) doesn't help ISPs with high
backhaul costs. Measures to reduce the amount of bandwidth that
Netflix wastes, via uncached unicast streaming, would. But (and this
is the point of the message which started this thread) they are sitting
pretty as a monopoly and do not feel a need to work with ISPs to
solve this problem. It's frustrating and is causing us to look for
workarounds -- including going as far as to found a competing streaming
service that is more ISP-friendly.

>I took a look at your plans at You use
>the Netflix brand in your advertising (in the flyer) 

We don't "use" their brand, but do mention them as an example of a
company that provides streaming media. (We also mention YouTube, Hulu, and
Amazon Prime.) It's natural for them to be on that list because they have 
such a large market share that they qualify as a monopoly. They are attempting 
to leverage their market power against ISPs instead of working with us, which 
is a shame. Again, a customer of a small rural ISP ought to be every bit as
valuable to them as a Comcast customer. We should receive at least the amount
per customer that Comcast receives, especially because our costs are higher.

>but none of your plans
>are actually fast enough to provide Netflix service (up to 6 Mbps per
>stream for Super HD). 

Netflix itself claims that you need only half a megabit to stream. (Whether
that claim is accurate is another matter, but that is what they themselves

>Selling 1 Mbps is just not going to do it going forward, not even in rural areas.

Unfortunately, due to the cost of backhaul (which the FCC is doing nothing
about; it has refused to deal with the problem of anticompetitive price
gouging on Special Access lines), that's what we can offer. The FCC has also
failed to release enough spectrum (Shannon's Law) to allow us to provide
much more to the average user; we have to budget access point bandwidth carefully.
We do what we can and price as best we can. Most of our customers, given a choice
of possible levels of service, choose 1 Mbps and in fact are satisfied
with that because the quality is high. Remember, due to Van Jacobson's algorithm, 
a 10 Mbps TCP session that drops packets slows down (by a factor of 2 for
each dropped packet!) to a net throughput of less than 1 Mbps very quickly.
So, we concentrate on quality and our customers have a very good experience.
Usually better than with cable modem connections with much higher claimed speeds.

We're used to doing a lot with a little and watching every penny. But Netflix 
doesn't have the same attitude. It wastes bandwidth. Rural ISPs and their 
customers cannot afford to cover the cost of that waste.

>I can say how we solve the backhaul problem. We only lease dark fiber and
>then put our own 10 Gbps equipment on it. We can upgrade that any day to
>40G, 100G or whatever we need, without any additional rent for the fiber.

Nice if you can do that. We have not been able to obtain affordable dark fiber
in our area.

>Given your expertise seems to be wireless links, you could also backhaul
>using Ubiquiti Airfiber:

That Ubiquiti radio reaches at most one mile reliably due to rain fade. Most of 
our links go much farther. Wireless is our specialty and we do know our options; 
we use carefully selected and engineered microwave and millimeter wave links 
throughout our network.

Being a WISP is not easy; it employs every skill I've acquired throughout my entire 
life and is constantly challenging me to improve and learn more.

--Brett Glass

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