Netflix traffic slowing on Verizon FiOS

Netflix traffic slowing on Verizon FiOS

Summary: A Wall Street Journal story confirms other recent reports that Netflix traffic on FiOS and other ISPs is slowing, as the companies battle over bandwidth costs.

TOPICS: Broadband

A report in the Wall Street Journal states that Netflix traffic on the Verizon FiOS network is slowing. The two companies are in a dispute over who should cover the cost of the considerable bandwidth consumed by the streaming video service. The story confirms other reports from customers recently (such as this one) that Netflix was slower on FiOS than it had been and slower than through non-FiOS connections. 

The story provides both anecdotes and traffic performance data supplied by Netflix to show that their performance on major Internet providers has suffered in recent months. FiOS is not alone in the chart; traffic is slowing on Comcast, AT&T U-Verse, and Time Warner Cable as well. Netflix says their average prime-time speeds have declined by 14 percent last month, just as they are rolling out the new season of House of Cards.

The article does not state that Verizon or other ISPs are slowing traffic from Netflix. Rather the dispute is over the cost of providing enhanced service for Netflix to handle their heavy bandwidth needs.

Verizon argues to the WSJ that problems arise when a service puts out far more traffic than it receives, as would be expected of a streaming video service. Netflix recently announced that they have over 44 million members and it is clear that streaming video consumers a large percentage of Internet bandwidth.

Many services, in order to facilitate the best service for customers, contract with Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) to bypass public Internet backbone networks in order to get content as close as possible to the "last mile" to the customer. But even the last mile can get congested.

Verizon argues that such services should pay more to the companies that deliver their traffic. Netflix is arguing that ISPs should hook up to Netflix's own CDN without any additional compensation. Both Netflix and ISPs argue to the WSJ over how efficient Netflix is at managing its own traffic.

Netflix acknowledges traffic problems but, according the WSJ, spokesman Joris Evers said that "generally our members are able to watch Netflix, albeit perhaps at a lower quality and with potentially some startup delays at the busiest times of day."

Topic: Broadband

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • ISP

    The ISPs have nothing to complain about. They are monopolies that for years have been making tons of money providing the pipe while not passing on a dime to the creative minds who provide the actual content we go online to see. How much did Comcast pay your local paper all those years you were reading it for free on your computer? How much did they pay the makers of YouTube sleepy kitten videos and all that other stuff we've been enjoying for free all these years? Not a dime. And all this time we Americans are paying some of the highest prices in the developed world for some of the slowest connections.

    Cry me a river!
    • I wasn't aware that Comcast

      brought in it's armed security forces to get the newspaper to put its content on the internet, or that there were Comcast goons standing behind the produce of the sleepy kitten video, making sure he shot that cute movie and uploaded it to the internet.

      Comcast sells internet bandwidth. They provide the bandwidth purchased. They have fulfilled their obligation at that point. Netflix basically wants Comcast to eat the cost of Netflix providing the service I am paying Netflix for.
      • Except

        You're paying Comcast for bandwidth.

        It shouldn't be up to them how you use it any more than AT&T should control who I call.
        Michael Alan Goff
      • whu?

        I wasn't aware that the content providers brought in armed security and forced Comcast to get into the ISP business.

        The simple fact is: most people have a broad range of choices for gasoline, groceries, automobiles, hardware, but only one choice for an ISP. That's what you call a monopoly. That's bad for consumers, because with no competitors the power in the economic relationship is all in the monopolist's hands. That's why government regulation is warranted in such cases.
  • There's three things in life you can't avoid

    Death, taxes, and Comcast.
    Sir Name
    • Come on - don't blame Comcast for this

      Where are they going to come up with either the time or money to upgrade their network to help these bandwidth hogs like Netflix?

      They're too busy buying and managing things like Time Warner Cable, Universal Studios and Universal Parks, NBC, Comcast Spectacor, The Philadelphia Flyers, The Wells Fargo center.....
      • It's not about...

        ...upgrading their network - it's about more piering connections with Netflix at Internet exchanges (kinda datacenters).
        And they don't even have to do that either - provides FREE caching appliances to host at ISP facilities with their Open Connect program.

        It's about ISPs pushing their own video on demand services - pure anticompetive practice.

        ISPs that joined Open Connect - Frontier, British Telecom, TDC, Clearwire, GVT, Telus, Bell Canada, Virgin, Cablevision, Google Fiber, Telmex...
        Guess how they rate in Netflix speed report...
        • I agree.

          I was just being sarcastic, playing off of Sir Name's "Death, taxes, and Comcast"

          I agree, it's 100% about pushing their own video on demand services.
    • I avoid Comcast just fine

      But that may be because I don't use cable TV and the market I live in is probably too small for Comcast to bother with.
      John L. Ries
  • I already paid...

    ...Verizon for FIOS internet service - for 35Mb up/35 MB down, not 1.5Mb i'm getting on Netflix streams- it's Verizons responsibility to make sure they have enough piering with Netflix's ISP... That "they send way more traffic than recieve" BS is for backbone providers and in this case Verizon is not one - it's an end user ISP refusing to fullfill obligations to their customers.
    • Node speed vs Internet Speed.

      You can not claim services not promised. I never head any ISP promised the same speed across the entire internet. Because of the decentralized nature Verizon can only promise speed from node to POP. I bet the slowdown is due to infrastructure can only allocate so much for intent and maintain commitment to other telecom traffic like 4g, cellular etc...
      • No, it's not about infrastructure.

        it's about interconnect - they refuse to increase priering with Netflix's ISPs (Cogent i think, i maybe worng) to fix the congestion problem created by Verizon users; they refuse FREE Netflix caching appliances...
        Thier infrastructure is fine - i get great speeds to youtube (at the same time as i watch Netflix).

        It's about Verizon offering their own streaming service... Plain and simple...
      • Hulu, YouTube

        If that were true, Hulu, YouTube and all other streaming video services would also be slow. Although I don't have Verizon for my residential ISP, those who do claim they don't have the slow performance with all video services. That seems to suggest it isn't because Verizon is managing overall video streaming consumption to maintain commitments for other telecom traffic. It suggests there's a specific flow issue between Netflix and Verizon consumers. This could be due to insufficient Netflix server and/or Internet trunk capacity or insufficient capacity over the peering link between Netflix's Internet provider(s) and Verizon. I have read some Comcast customers have a similar problem and have solved it by changing their client's DNS server. Apparently this change resolves Netflix streaming URLs to different servers that have sufficient capacity or take a different route to the Comcast customer where sufficient peering capacity exists.
  • This is BACKWARDS crazy...

    erizon is totally 100% backwards.

    I think Netflix should START CHARGING THE ISP'S for allowing their customers to have access to their content.

    After all, the ISP is using Netflix to SELL THEIR internet service.

    Without Netflix and other content, then Verizon and the other ISPs internet services are totally WORTHLESS.

    It's Verizon who is mooching off Netflix, NOT the other way around.

    The ISP's need to get a clue, because as soon as Netflix is not available on my ISP, I will be switching ISP's which is super easy as a phone call to another provider, and changing a couple of settings in my router.

    It's not Netflix that is in trouble here of losing out, its THEM.
    • No...

      I think netflix should start charging their customers based on what IPS customers use - that'll fix this problem very quickly: "What?! I have to pay extra $5 a month?"

      However - won't work unless antitrust does something about ISPs being content providers.
      • Does That Really Make Sense?

        Netflix is already paying for bandwidth to their content distribution facilities. Residential consumers are paying for bandwidth from Verizon. Netflix is charging customers based on their bandwidth costs to their Internet Service Provider and the cost of their content distribution royalties. If they can make a profit by only charging $8/month, why do they need to charge $5 more and give it to Verizon. If Verizon needs more money to provide HSI to their customers, they should raise their HSI bills by $5.

        If Netflix is forced to do this, I'll bet they'll itemize the fee on Verizon customer's bills. This is the same thing cable is doing with the OTA broadcaster fees. My cable bill now lists a ~$3 charge that goes to local broadcasters because even though they deliver their content freely OTA, if cable re-transmits it to me through the coax, OTA broadcasters want to get paid for that.

        Is this really where we want to go? That's why we need to set some rules and make sure everyone plays fair. If there was more choice for last-mile HSI, you can bet someone would offer Netflix with no surcharge and suddenly it would disappear because the market would take care of itself.

        This is the same kind of crap that was written into the horrible 1996 TC Act where the terminating system was paid a few cents by the originating system. This spawned the evil FREE 800 teleconferencing numbers that were routed through a small Iowa telecom that made a mint because of the interconnect fees paid by the big telcos who had the customers originating the calls. Of course the small telecom paid some back when their customers originated calls but if you only serve 100,000 customers and 100,000,000 customers are making inbound calls because of the teleconferencing service, they successfully gamed the system.

        It's ridiculous and we need to stop allowing these massive mergers and promote competition so that when crap like this happens, consumers have a choice and we can ditch those who want to play these games.
  • It's all greed

    I have never received the up/down speeds I was promised with any of the ISP's I have ever had. I was told there is a federal law on the books that states that the ISP is only required to guarantee you a connection; it can be as slow as 56k, even though you're paying for 12 or 20, or 35Mb. When I start getting an average up/down in the MB I am paying for, then the ISP might have a leg to stand on. They shouldn't be allowed to slow the BW of Netflix when Netflix is offering them equipment to increase their infrastructure. If an ISP can't service their clients as promised, it's their responsibility to update their routers, lines, and servers. After all, we pay enough for it. I'm not saying I want Netflix streaming at a rate faster than I am paying for, but I deserve an average (daily average) rate EQUAL to what I am paying for.
    • RE: Not getting promised speeds>verizon FIOS

      I have NEVER EVER NOT gotten the speeds Verizon DSL or FIOS promised. I now pay for 50/25 down/upload speeds and if I'm connected to an end Server from a big Company like Microsoft or HP (both IT type Co's) I almost always get 58 to 60 Mbps down & 30 -36 Mbps UP.
      You may quote on this, I have never failed to get what I paid for with Verizon and I've had Verizon for approx. 30 of my 34 years in NJ.
      • RE: Not getting promised speeds>verizon FIOS

        PS: I do not or have ever worked for Verizon, Bell Atlantic or New Jersey Bell which were other names Verizon went by in the past 31 years.
  • Easy question

    "The two companies are in a dispute over who should cover the cost of the considerable bandwidth consumed by the streaming video service."
    Seems elementary: Netflix are authorising access to data and Verizon are contracted to provide the bandwidth; so I would screw Verizon for failure to deliver.

    In a civilised business environment Netflix and Verizon would agree that the cost model ought to change and work for mutual gain whilst protecting customers. But we are talking American companies here, so each will fight its own corner. I say we screw Verizon quickly and get it over.

    In a civilised country there would be political pressure and fines to enforce a fair settlement and net neutrality when the companies failed to act properly. But we are talking America here - so I say screw America.

    In a civilised world citizens could expect safety (not terrorism fuelled by US interventions), privacy (not the NSA snooping), net neutrality (not totalitarianism) and good value for money (not corporate greed). But we are talking America here - the nexus of all these evils - ... and the only way to oppose those in power who will not relinquish the same ... is to screw them.