Many Verizon customers are starting to recognize a lack of performance on their Netflix streams. The blame seems to lie in a battle between Verizon and Cogent Communications, who is a major bandwidth provider. The battle exists over a concept known as peering, which you might not know anything about. Let me explain.
The concept is this: two companies that provide Internet access can transfer traffic between each other for free, allowing both companies to provide decent service to their customers. Verizon is a huge provider of consumer Internet access and Cogent is a major provider of bandwidth, making them a pretty good pairing. When ports get jammed, the sharing begins.
The problem lies in Verizon's tendency to allow the ports to jam up and not transfer bandwidth. Cogent CEO Dave Schaeffer said,
They are allowing the peer connections to degrade. Today some of the ports are at 100 percent capacity. Think of it as the on-ramp to the freeway being log-jammed.
Verizon let Cogent know that the reason for this policy change was because Cogent was providing bandwidth for a major media company. The company, according to Schaeffer, is Netflix. So, with the popularity of Netflix, why would Verizon get up-in-arms about who Cogent decides to do business with? Verizon is part owner of RedBox Instant. So, this is a Google-style anti-trust business decision.
As we know, FTC investigations over self-service promotion have cost Google plenty; it seems like a crazy decision for Verizon to be going down the same road, just a few years behind.
Hopefully Verizon, along with Comcast and Time Warner Cable who have also had Netflix degradation issues, will realize that limiting Netflix quality doesn't send people looking for other video services, but instead other Internet services.