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Verizon: No, We're Not Throttling Netflix, Amazon AWS
by Karl Bode 10:33AM Thursday Feb 06 2014
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.

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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."

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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.


65 comments .. click to read

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KrK
Heavy Artillery For The Little Guy
Premium
join:2000-01-17
Tulsa, OK

2 recommendations

reply to elray

Re: And the key phrase there is "clogged peering links"

Over saturated links are not providing satisfactory Internet connections, nope.

Of course, with limited choices for consumers to turn to, they have gotten used to the idea of "You'll take what we give you.... and like it."
--
"Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power." -- Benito Mussolini



KrK
Heavy Artillery For The Little Guy
Premium
join:2000-01-17
Tulsa, OK

2 recommendations

Allowing your links to oversaturate....

.... is a form of throttling, if you think about it.

Just refuse to upgrade, and presto, your customers are auto-throttled!


Crookshanks

join:2008-02-04
Binghamton, NY

7 recommendations

reply to Hall

Re: Busted

If "Peter" was competent he would know better than to look for useful answers from Level 1 chat support.



anonomeX

@comcast.net

2 recommendations

And the key phrase there is "clogged peering links"

No, they're not "throttling" as a policy. They're simply allowing their ports to become saturated, doing nothing to support customer traffic when it's heaviest. They're throttling as a consequence of their "do nothing" attitude (do nothing to decrease profit margins).


elefante72

join:2010-12-03
East Amherst, NY

2 recommendations

reply to RWSI

Re: Busted

They are not throttling. I have posted at least a dozen times that AWS and other CDN are VERY DNS sensitive. If you do not run your own DNS service or use Verizon DNS servers, YMMV--Period. And UUNET (VBS) now has direct intranet routing to Google's CDN, so youtube, etc will be more reliable IF you use Verizon or your own DNS server.

Also, folks who use XBG (xbox), Microsoft proxies Netflix, etc through their network and at times I have issues across the board, but NEVER with Roku or PC streaming.

If you are interested here is an example. I run unbound in a ubuntu VM. Added benefit I have DNSSEC fully turned on.:

»www.dnssec-deployment.org/index.···-router/