According to networking company Level 3 Communications, Comcast just couldn't wait for its NBC deal to go through before getting all jerky with the access to online video, telling Level 3 on November 19th that it would need to pay a fee to deliver video to Comcast customers. Level 3 delivers videos from many companies over its networks, but the timing is particularly notable since on November 11th it signed upbandwidth-chewing Netflix as a major customer.
At first glance, this seems like the sort of thing that would signal the end of days. Well, the end of net neutrality, anyway. Looking back, it can't get much worse than realizing that 95 of the candidates backing net neutrality lost on election day. I'm mentally prepared for Verizon to add a streaming video cost to my internet package any day of the week. I'm sure it will be worse on the Comcast end of things, since they now pretty much own TV networks. Good luck with that, friends!
But, hold the phone! Things may not be what they seem. Comcast has responded via their SVP of External Affairs. Seems like a made up job, but I digress;
Until Level 3 fomented this dispute, Comcast and Level 3 exchanged Internet traffic as part of a commercial interconnection agreement, under which Comcast paid Level 3 for interconnection facilities. Although the parties exchanged traffic at a ratio of about 2:1, with Comcast terminating more of Level 3's traffic, this was well within the industry's established bounds for "roughly balanced" traffic, and they exchanged their on-net traffic on a settlement-free basis. At some point, we are told, some of the traffic sent by Level 3 to Comcast came from CDN services operated by Level 3. Because this traffic was within the traditional industry criteria for "roughly balanced," this did not raise any issues for Comcast.
Now, Level 3 has decided to reinvent itself as a major CDN, in competition with other
commercial CDN players, all of whom pay for transmission of their traffic on Comcast's and others' networks. And in so doing, Level 3 would more than double the amount of traffic it sends to Comcast -- which would result in a traffic imbalance that could be in the range of about 5:1.
Phew. So it seems like it's not as bad as we feared. It also looks like Level 3 needs to relax with their streaming of data. BUT, this is helpful. it keeps the net neutrality issue in peoples minds. I don't want to live in a world where I need to pay my ISP an email tax just to check mail. Do you?
Twitter your congressperson!
Don't fret, though. Trigon won't approach Comcast levels of destroying your hopes and dreams. In fact, we can help those dreams happen! Just so long as those dreams involve creating a solid IT Infrastructure, and a heaping helping of security. Sweet!
That is the saddest sentence I've ever written.
For a time, the rumored AppleTV with apps was the white knight that was going to save me from the evil, cold, grasp of the cable providers. Well, those dreams were quickly flushed down the toilet yesterday. Then it clogged.
Now, this may not mean the same thing to you. I watch sports. I'm a die-hard Philadelphia Flyers fan. If I get rid of Cable TV, I'd be forced to head to the local pub to watch every game. You're probably saying that's not exactly a bad thing. And for the most part, you're right. I love a good beer or 12, but it's not exactly going to save me any monies in the long run. In fact, my liver would be taking a mean pounding.
My hope, however delusional, was that the AppleTV would have a brand new App Store with channels being represented. Maybe even sports, too. An NHL app that streamed games would make me lose my last 3 lunches.
So what's next for my hopes and dreams?
Microsoft. I think I just spilled my pudding. I use my XBOX 360 to watch Netflix and stream movies. ESPN3 is going to be a part of their next update and will include live streaming sports. Their ESPN3 page on their website is super slick. Millions of people used it to watch the recent World Cup. Crazy, right? Who knew people watched soccer?
My last depressing hope is that the historically idiotic NHL will sign with ESPN for programming once their contract is up. Streaming NHL games on my 360? I'd pay a hefty yearly sum for that, NHL.
Ah forget it, I'll have Cable TV forever.
Don't bother worrying about her; the Hulu Hurricane TM
has already taken her.
I love me some Netflix. I really do. Not the whole, "get DVDs in the mail like my 70 year old Father" deal. I enjoy sitting back in my snuggie with a nice toasted turkey sandwich and firing up some 30 Rock on my 360, and if I'm so inclined, The Office as well. Netflix allows you to stream a portion of their library right to your 360, for about $8/mo. And I don't have to worry about shipping back the copy of ‘Hope Floats' I just watched. Who wants to deal with the Postal service? Not me. The whole thing is pretty killer.
But you know what's not killer? Hulu gobbling up all of NBC's TV shows. As of October 1, those two shows, and many others, will no longer be offered on Netflix's Watch Now. It looks like both Hulu and the Major networks realized people were getting stuff for free when there's money to be made! So those two signed a deal, and it seems like Hulu will be the online partner for a bunch of networks.
What's that you say? Hulu is free? It is for now, but don't count on it being like that for long. Just imagine, Comcast On Demand, whatever FiOS has for their TV shows, NBC.com, FOX.com, and all the other terrible streaming websites in one big place. That's going to be Hulu. And it's going to cost you. Even the Wall Street Journal iPhone app is going subscription based. Heck, we should probably start charging for this Trigon Blog.
With YouTube looking to be covering the online movie streaming business in the next year or so, someone's got to get in on the TV show pie. And can I say one thing? Why the heck did it take someone at YouTube THIS LONG to realize, "Hey, maybe we can make money by putting MOVIES on here, too!?" That guy should instantly become CEO.
Scratch that, someone make me YouTube's CEO. And get me some pie while we're at it.