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FiOS Continues to Fall in Netflix Streaming Rankings
by Karl Bode 06:19PM Monday Feb 10 2014
Netflix today released their latest ISP streaming rankings, which, as the name suggests, track the average performance of all Netflix streams on each ISPs network. The latest report shows that Verizon (both FiOS and DSL), AT&T U-Verse and Mediacom all slipped in the rankings, while Time Warner Cable, Bright House, Windstream, Centurylink and Clearwire all saw performance improvements.

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As is usually the case, ISPs that join Netflix's Open Connect CDN see a marked improvement in the rankings, leading many to question the rankings' usefulness.

Still, the dismal performance of FiOS (7), AT&T U-Verse (12) Comcast (14) and Verizon DSL (last place, behind even Clearwire) continues to raises questions.

The FiOS drop into seventh place comes a week after accusations that the company is intentionally throttling AWS and Netflix traffic (though as we noted, Verizon swears they're treating all traffic equally, and data doesn't support outright throttling).

Instead, the theory du-jour is that companies like Verizon, AT&T and Comcast are intentionally letting their peering points saturate for leverage in charging both core network and content companies more money, though proof of this remains elusive. Verizon again insists to Ars Technica that the Netflix (and YouTube) problems plaguing users have nothing to do with Verizon, and the "complicated" Internet is to blame:
We state unequivocally that Verizon’s broadband Internet access services deliver a pristine user experience to our customers at any time of day on every day of the week. This has been repeatedly proven through independent testing by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which has conclusively demonstrated that FiOS Internet consistently delivers both download and upload speeds in excess of what we advertise. In short, our Internet customers often get more than they pay for.

How the Internet works can be complicated, and consumers should be aware of the fact that the integrity of their home Internet connection is only a portion of the streaming video quality equation. If their broadband connection is functioning correctly, the source of their frustration and the content they wish to see may be one in the same.
As more data becomes available via the likes of MLAB or Google's YouTube streaming rankings, it should be easier to tell is ISPs are in fact engaging in shenanigans resulting in painful YouTube and Netflix performance for users across numerous ISPs.

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This is Known as Traffic Manipulation

Based on the timeline and ISP make up, this really smells like Netflix manipulating the traffic paths. Things we know

1. ISPs that joined OpenConnect seem to increase in speed at the same rate broadband has
2. ISPs that have not joined OpenConnect have almost all decreased at the same time as Netflix moved off of Akamai, Limelight, etc over to their transit ISPs
3. Other video services that use their own as well as 3rd party CDNs have not decreased in performance to poorly ranked Netflix ISPs
4. Mlabs ISP performance decreases at the same instant as Netflix moved their traffic (perhaps they are sharing the same transit)

In general it appears that Netflix transit decisions are actually causing Netflix performance issues AND these decisions are what is causing the peering problems. When you swing a big pipe, you can break things in the path.

Interestingly enough there are other big pipe players like Akamai, Google, etc that swing traffic WITHOUT causing customer impact.

Is this Netflix causing these issues and do you think they are doing it out of being new or being purposeful?