The CEO of Netflix is taking on Comcast over Net Neutrality. Net Neutrality is a concept that Internet should be treated like a sort of utility where everyone can get as much as they want, but specifically that all “content” is treated equally. For this concept to be valid, the internet would actually have to be a series of tubes. Ironically, that was the analogy the late Ted Stevens used against net neutrality.
I’m no Internet expert, but I still know more than 95% of the population. The Internet works as a series of networks, or nodes. Each Local Area Network, or LAN is made up of one IP address or a group of them. LANs connected by a communications system (a pip or tube, if you will) make up a Wide Area Network, or WAN. If a network can access most of the available IP addresses, it can be considered on the Internet.
So, what does that crap mean? Let’s say I have a LAN consisting of my router and a cable modem connecting a few computers. If I sent 10,000 Gigabytes of data from one computer to another per month, the trip costs me nothing because I own the LAN in my house. If I download files from the Internet, my provider has to pay for the data to come from outside their network and into my house. If I use a video service from my cable company, it may only go through their existing WAN, not costing them any more in transport costs, but only bandwidth usage. The bandwidth is cheaper, and they may not charge for that usage.
Net Neutrality was originally based on the idea that bandwidth suppliers want to give priority access to services that have a financial interest. Monopolizing Internet access for some customers is a possibility, and even though companies should have a right to their infrastructure, the FCC has decided that there should be equality of access to all public internet. What Netflix CEO Red Hastings is complaining about, however, if access to Comcast’s INTRAnet, the network that is located within the Comcast network. It’s ironic (or not) that Netflix is trying to put it’s service into the OnDemand systems of some cable companies so that they will have the advantage over streaming services like Hulu.
One problem with socialism is that it runs out of other people’s money. The other problem is that the rich and powerful usually get in on the ground floor and try to ride out the revolution. Netflix started when more people had dial-up internet than high-speed. The “net” in Netflix was the online queue you used to get your DVDs in the mail. In the late 2000s, they offered around 20 hours of streaming per month. Now Netflix is using 25% of all internet tubes to deliver movies to computers, TVs and other devices.
Netflix is also in trouble. DVDs by mail was a good business model since they retain the legal right to rent a physical DVD a thousand times to different customers. Their original streaming contracts were dirt cheap, since most production companies had no system to stream content themselves. Times have changed. Licensing costs are going up and $8 a month isn’t paying for it. Netflix is the biggest bandwidth hog on the internet and they want to make sure that internet service providers should have to pay the bill.
I think Netflix is using up more than its fiar share of the internet and slowing me down. Maybe the government should disconnect their tubes.