For those unfamiliar with the ongoing conflict between Netflix and internet service providers, it basically comes down to the customer demands of Netflix resulting in a ton of traffic. That traffic leads to ISPs viewing Netflix as a bandwidth hog and charging the company.
Approaching it from the ISPs such as Verizon and Comcast’s side, it would seem reasonable to charge a service or company that was resulting in such large amounts of traffic. The old phrase “Pay to play” comes to mind. If Netflix wants to cater to its user base with effective, seamless streams and use existing internet pathways they were going to have to pay for it.
Of course, you look at who Netflix is dealing with. Streaming has been a somewhat new frontier ISPs had to deal with starting with the last decade. Prior to that it was downloading and maybe viewing or listening to embedded media on websites. All of that was typically data that ran in small numbers for the most part and whatever plans ISPs offered could handle that.
When services like YouTube, Netflix, Daily Motion, Hulu, Twitch, and streaming music came along more effort was needed on the part of internet service providers. It’s questionable if that effort was ever made as a whole since Netflix continues to bring up concerns over poor quality streams being the fault of ISPs and Google passive aggressively pointing out ISP quality via their “YouTube HD Verified” ranking system.
Looking at the back and forth between Netflix and Verizon especially, Netflix are pretty much getting a raw deal. While it would be ideal to just allow the service to get content to its customers uninterrupted, they know they have to pay for better pipes to run that content through. Then when they pay for better pathways, they still end up with customers getting choppy content.
First Verizon said Netflix were using pathways that are known to be a problem. This raises the question why would Netflix do that? Verizon would later say that Netflix are sabotaging their streams. Again, the question is why?
The obvious answer would be to garner sympathy from the internet in general and draw negative attention to ISPs via the press. The thing is that while both have been achieved, this is a problem of the ISPs’ making.
First, the sympathy was already there for the most part going back to customers being disillusioned in the speeds they were getting for the price paid when compared to other nations.
Secondly, people love Netflix. People really love Netflix. It has gotten to the point where people could ditch cable—which goes hand in hand with internet most of the time in package deals—and just get internet.
Finally, why would Netflix hobble itself and anger customers? Again, they don’t need a sympathy injection. Most Netflix customers familiar with the situation are firmly on their side because it’s affecting them directly.
What Netflix needs are better pathways to get content to customers when they’ve paid for those pathways already. While there are certainly Netflix users and non-Netflix users who support the ISPs, there isn’t an outpouring of support telling Netflix “Stop telling on the ISPs and let them run their hustle on you!”