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TechDirt: Utterly Incoherent Wall Street Journal Missive Blames Netflix For, Well, Everything

Posted by Soledad Vega on Wed, 09/09/2015 - 11:07

Telecom lobbyists, stop trolling on Netflix! 

Article by Techdirt

For years now, the broadband industry has worked tirelessly to villainize Netflix, painting the company as a bandwidth glutton, hungrily eating "more than its fair share" of Internet traffic resources. A growing assortment of fauxademics, editorial writers, consultants, revolving door regulators and other telecom sector PR tendrils have relentlessly tried to argue that Netflix is a dirty freeloader and a nasty company that is really the one to blame for most of the Internet's problems. 

There are several reasons for this. One, Netflix is a threat to traditional cable television revenues, and therefore is already seen as the enemy by telecom executives. Two, Netflix has replaced (now absent) Google as the leader of the corporate pro-net-neutrality movement, arguing against things like punitive usage caps. And three, telecom companies quite simply want companies like Netflix to pay them a fealty "troll toll" for doing absolutely nothing, which is the exact kind of pampered, duopolist bullshit that started the net neutrality kerfuffle in the first place. 

Usually, telecom-driven missives against Netflix make at least a fleeting effort at coherent sense. But a new article by Holman W. Jenkins Jr. at the Wall Street Journal deserves a little attention for setting a new low in barely-comprehensible telecom industry puffery. As with any good Netflix attack piece, Jenkins has to begin by highlighting just how much traffic Netflix users consume:

"More than one-third of today’s expensively rolled-out bandwidth already is consumed in peak hours by a single company, whose customers represent a tiny minority—about 1.2%—of Internet users. Richard Bennett of High Tech Forum calculates: “If 12 percent of the Internet user population is streaming at prime time, the traffic load goes up to 340% of today’s level; and if it rises to 60%, the load goes up to 1700%.” And suppose users want super-high resolution 4k TV, which requires four times as much bandwidth as today’s hi-def?"

Generally Netflix traffic stats are trotted out to imply that Netflix is somehow consuming too much of the overall pipe, or isn't paying its fair share to deliver this traffic, which as we've pointed out for years is total nonsense. It's quite simple: users who pay their ISP for bandwidth are requesting this data, which Netflix (who also pays for bandwidth) then sends to them. Insatiable mega-ISPs honestly believe a bigger cut of this revenue is their god-given right; as such, they work tirelessly to get it, whether it's via usage caps or interconnection fees. 

- Read more at TechDirt