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8149Re: [OT] Apple in talks with Comcast for special treatment for streaming-TV

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  • sardisson
    Mar 25, 2014
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      First, the WSJ article on which the Guardian article (that John R posted) is based is apparently full of vague, overblown, and false information that doesn't stand up to logic when examined by people who know something about the network transit business: http://blog.streamingmedia.com/2014/03/wsjs-applecomcast-story-accurate-news-overblown-wall-street.html

      Second, I hope people can agree that the "Net Neutrality" issue is in reality far more complex than the simple talking points that are often deployed by advocates on all sides of the issue. There's a whole heck of a lot of grey.

      Third, here's a detailed analysis of the agreement Netflix actually made with Comcast last month: http://blog.streamingmedia.com/2014/02/heres-comcast-netflix-deal-structured-numbers.html

      Executive summary-analogy: Netflx was paying their transit company (say, Cogent Van Lines) to deliver Netflix content (fresh tomatoes) to customers served by Comcast Railways. Cogent Van Lines had an agreement with Comcast Railways for the use of 10 loading docks at a time at the Comcast Railways transfer terminal, but Netflix was paying Cogent Van Lines to deliver 20 trucks full of Netflix tomatoes at a time, and Cogent Van Lines took Netflix's money but declined/refused to pay Comcast Railways for additional loading docks at which to unload said tomatoes. So Netflix decided to pay Comcast Railways themselves for (additional) loading docks in order to ensure that Netflix tomatoes could make it to customers served by Comcast Railways without spoiling due to capacity issues at the loading docks. And Comcast Railways didn't charge Netflix an arm and a leg to do so, either.

      I don't know enough (nearly anything) about linkage and peering and the costs and business arrangements thereof (nor how these things actually work in the analogous physical world of truck and rail transport used above), but in this particular case, assuming the facts are as stated in the analysis, I see no reason for people to be upset that Netflix supplemented (or replaced) its existing transfer arrangement with a third party (who couldn't or wouldn't keep up with Netflix demand but still took Netflix's money) by making a transfer arrangement directly with Comcast, given that this is the way that the internet backbone appears to work commercially (and presumably has worked for a decade or so). Now, if it comes out that Comcast refused to offer Cogent a reasonable agreement to handle extra traffic from Cogent's clients in order to force/entice those clients to make deals directly with Comcast, that's a whole different ballgame. But at the moment, it seems to be the regular ballgame.

      Anyway, this is all terribly off-topic ;-) and very long, so I'll stop, but I think it's important that we have a chance to get "all" the facts when discussing important issues (particularly when the common narrative has been shown to be problematic or wrong by further examination; after all, if Apple were really doomed/dead every time someone claimed it to be over the past two decades, we probably wouldn't be in this forum today ;-) ).
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