Numerous people yesterday submitted this blog entry
by iScan developer David Raphael, in which he claims that Verizon is throttling Amazon cloud services and Netflix on residential FiOS connections, but not for business users. Raphael noted that his home FiOS connection to Amazon’s AWS was throttled to 40kB/s, but when he VPN'd in to his work FiOS connection those same files were available at 5000kB/s.
The accusations of throttling are rather muddled and seemingly conflated with run of the mill peak Netflix streaming congestion and peering issues, though Raphael received the most media attention for the fact he gets a Verizon support representative to admit to throttling (see image, left).
All of this led to a brief flurry of hysteria yesterday in which Verizon (fresh off of their destruction of the FCC's neutrality rules) was blamed for intentionally degrading services on residential lines. Except as anybody with any experience with ISP support reps knows, the things that come out of their mouth may or may not have a direct link to reality. Verizon denied to us that the company was engaged in any form of traffic discrimination.
“We treat all traffic equally, and that has not changed," Verizon tells DSLReports. "Many factors can affect the speed a customer’s experiences for a specific site, including, that site’s servers, the way the traffic is routed over the Internet, and other considerations. We are looking into this specific matter, but the company representative was mistaken. We we’re going to redouble our representative education efforts on this topic."
The company stated they'd be taking a closer look at Raphael's claims, but strongly suggested in conversations that a myriad of other, less exciting factors, including clogged peering links, are to blame for the problems Raphael witnessed.
As we've repeatedly noted, YouTube and Netflix buffering issues are common across numerous ISPs
, and it is usually courtesy of ordinary peak congestion somewhere in the chain as someone tries to save a buck, or over-saturated peering links (sometimes intentionally) as dozens of companies scramble for Internet video revenues.
All of that
said, Verizon isn't new to accusations that the company is intentionally letting peering links saturate in order to point fingers at other companies
(some that may just happen to compete with their RedBox joint venture, CDN or other business units), though with most raw network performance data obfuscated, proving most of these claims winds up being a Sisyphean feat if not impossible. That's part of the reason that Google recently announced
they'd be ranking YouTube streaming performance by ISP.
Verizon doesn't want to invite tougher neutrality regulations or reclassification of ISPs as common carriers, so while this kind of gatekeeper shenanigans may not be entirely out of character
, such a ham-fisted assault on user traffic seems unlikely. If Verizon is
being cocky and taking this risk anyway, we're going to need significantly more data to prove it.