What Net Neutrality should and should not cover

Charles N Wyble charles at thefnf.org
Sun May 4 18:57:32 UTC 2014

On 4/27/2014 3:30 PM, John Levine wrote:
>> That is, with CATV companies like HBO have to pay companies like
>> Comcast for access to their cable subscribers.
> In a non-stupid world, the cable companies would do video on demand
> through some combination of content caches at the head end or, for
> popular stuff, encrypted midnight downloads to your DVR, and the
> cablecos would split the revenue with content backends like Netflix.

So why hasn't someone like he or cogent done this? Especially for 
delivery into campus/corporate environments (which is a decent amount of 
the customer base for the "smaller" providers I think). Seems like a 
good market opportunity.

I happen to be quite interested in optimizing video delivery (triple 
play, and streaming content) to an access network in Kansas City.

For streaming, I know that Netflix has:
https://www.netflix.com/openconnect that I can stick in the colo that 
the access network already backhauls to.

Does Amazon have something like this? Hmmm.... maybe we can just peer 
with them at the nearest AWS POP. What are folks doing for optimizing 
Amazon streaming?

As for the traditional content  (hbo etc), my understanding is these can 
be accessed via wholesale agreements? Satellite downlink (lots of cheap 
real estate where I could have a downlink station), then I just need to 
be able to send it to my IPTV distribution fabric (fiber/ long range 
microwave whatever). Though I understand there is much DRM involved, and 
I don't know anything about any accounting / viewer reporting that might 
be required.

So it really seems to me, that even with an established competitive 
access network (located in Kansas City MO) , if I want to offer 
streaming/TV content (and have all the pain that the big boys have) I 
might not be able to do it? I can of course peer with netflix and deploy 
one of their fancy appliances.

See, all of this is so locked up and non clear. It's very un tractable 
to me. I am curious about even generalities of how this all works, where 
the pain points are etc.  I suppose the incumbents are annoyed with 
folks cutting the cord and bypassing that nice set of carefully 
engineered video delivery plant, for that pesky ip based stuff (but 
maybe keeping the ISP portion of the service)? Why don't the access 
network providers just raise the internet portion of the cost to match 
the lost revenue? Or work out a Pay Per View type deal with netflix? 
(Like you can buy apps via your cell phone provider, why don't 
netflix/time warner work out a Pay Per View that you could get on your 
monthly bill)?

It all seems very complicated to me.  Why not just work out deals with 
netflix behind the scenes to help cover port upgrade costs or 
something?  Instead of all this circus nonsense.  That way, you would 
get your costs covered (by the people who are forcing you to incur that 
cost), and you would still get your monthly transit revenue.

If I work on a particular project for a specific customer, I bill that 
customer for my incurred expenses. No one outside of me and the customer 
knows that, or needs to know that. I still bill them a recurring 
(hourly/monthly whatever) rate, and I bill them for one time expenses.

> But this world is mostly stupid, the cable companies never got VOD, so
> you have companies like Netflix filling the gap with pessimized
> technology.  (I do see that starting tomorrow, there will be a Netflix
> channel on three small cablecos including RCN, delivered via TiVo,
> although it's not clear if the delivery channel will change.)

Yeah that was interesting. I'm curious how that actually works. Will it 
be an app on the set top box?

> The other issue is that due to regulatory failure, cable companies are
> an oligopoly, and in most areas a local monopoly, so Comcast has the
> muscle to shake down Internet video providers.  That's not a technical
> problem, it's a political one.  In Europe, where DSL is a lot faster
> than here, carriage and content are separate and there are a zillion
> DSL providers.  We could do that here if the FCC weren't so spineless.

Yes. Agreed.

I'm (with the Free Network Foundation https://www.thefnf.org) helping 
folks in KC and Austin build alternative access networks (using wifi, 
backhauled to neutral NAP locations).  That seems to be the only viable 
option in the US.

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