Inside Redbox is the #1 "Unofficial" Redbox Online Community for Redbox Codes, News and more. Inside Redbox is not affiliated with Redbox Automated Retail, LLC.

You may have heard about the battle this week between one of the most reviled companies in the world, Comcast, and Level 3. The struggle is, according to some, threatening net neutrality. We thought it might be worth taking a closer look at this fight, especially since Netflix and its massive use of broadband for its streaming service is at the heart of it.

Level 3 Communications is one of Comcast’s internet transit providers. The company is one of several who provide Comcast (and other ISPs) with wholesale internet capacity, or “backbone”. Level 3 also acts as a content delivery network (CDN), which help prevent bottlenecks in web traffic by spreading data across multiple points in a network rather than housing it in one central server.
buy lasix online no prescription

Recently, Level 3 has become one of the major content delivery networks for Netflix, whose streaming service has grown so popular that it is now the web’s largest single user of broadband capacity during primetime hours.

The battle began when Level 3 accused Comcast of charging it extra fees to carry Netflix video traffic, which Level 3 claims is a violation of the FCC’s net neutrality principles. According to a statement by Thomas Stortz, Level 3’s chief legal officer:

“By taking this action, Comcast is effectively putting up a toll booth at the borders of its broadband Internet access network, enabling it to unilaterally decide how much to charge for content which competes with its own cable TV and Xfinity delivered content . . . This action by Comcast threatens the open Internet and is a clear abuse of the dominant control that Comcast exerts in broadband access markets as the nation’s largest cable provider.”

Thus Level 3 attempted to create the perception of a “David vs. Goliath” type struggle against the hated monolith, Comcast, who is allegedly attempting to upend net neutrality with strongarm tactics.

Comcast has of course defended itself and its actions. Here is an excerpt from its retort:

“Level 3 is trying to gain an unfair business advantage over its CDN competitors by claiming it’s entitled to be treated differently and trying to force Comcast to give Level 3 unlimited and highly imbalanced traffic and shift all the cost onto Comcast and its customers.”

Is this a battle of good versus evil, as Level 3 would have you believe? Many industry insiders say no, and that such disputes are fairly common, with no egregious wrongdoing from either party. The battle remains unresolved as of this writing, and it will be interesting to watch how it plays out.
buy amitriptyline online no prescription

Hit the comments section, Insiders, and let us know what you think of this fracas. Is Comcast being Comcast and using its bullying ways to attempt to control the net, or is Level 3 trying to elicit undeserved sympathy and support?

(via CNET, TechCrunch and GigaOm)

10 Responses to “Level 3 Versus Comcast: Netflix, Networks and Name-Calling”

  1. Member [Join Now]

    I don’t know much about Level 3, but Comcast has been engaged in enough dirty business that I automatically look at them cross-eyed when they claim to be the victim.

  2. Visitor [Join Now]
    Mike [visitor]

    First off, let me state that I am from Canada and have no experience with Comcast.

    Speaking from a business perspective though, why should Comcast subsidize Netflix’s delivery costs? If Netflix is wanting to use Comcast’s bandwidth in order to deliver their product, then they should be paying for such bandwidth.

    In Canada, our major ISPs, both Rogers and Bell throttle major bandwidth hogs in the evenings. So far it has only been Torrent files, but you can be fairly certain that they are going to throttle Netflix as well if they were to reach that type of bandwidth in the evening. Courts have already ruled it legal in this country.

  3. Member [Join Now]

    Mike, you don’t understand the situation. Comcast is complaining about content terminated with them. That means content their customers are using. To put it more clearly Comcast customers are initiating the transfer of data from Netflix to their machine. Comcast is making the money off of their customers and their customers are happy because the internet works. To expect to be paid twice is where the problem comes in. Do you buy food, then pay to eat it? Do you pay for cable TV and the pay extra because they actually have to send it to your house? It’s all part of the same service.

    As far as going after bandwidth hogs and bit torrent that would be a very different situation. That would be end users. Such as if Comcast said Bob in San Diego was using too much bandwidth and they wanted to cut him back. To cut customers access to Netflix would be simply idiotic. The customer is paying to use the internet, not just part of it.

    • Visitor [Join Now]
      firstlawofnature [visitor]

      But isn’t a heavy user of netflix streaming a ‘hog’? Shouldn’t he/she pay more if I’m only a light user of the web? In a flat, perfect world net neutrality works. In the real world there needs to be incentive for network operators to invest capital. At first blush the recent FCC proposals seem to strike a nice balance.

    • Visitor [Join Now]
      Mike [visitor]

      No, I do understand it. The same thing happens with Torrent files, the user requests it and they clog up the bandwidth for other paying users that find that they have to wait a bit longer for their page to load up.

      Why should Comcast have to pay to deliver Netflix’s movies? That would be like asking the US Postal service to deliver their DVDs by mail for free. It just doesn’t make sense.

      The ISPs in Canada don’t cut access, they simply limit the speed of the access so as to not cause an unnecessary drain on their bandwidth. I haven’t heard of it being a problem yet because Netflix is so new and has such a limited selection in Canada that not many have jumped on board, but if such a point came where they were taking up more bandwidth than is justified, I can see our ISPs throttling them too. Imagine your movie streaming going down to about 1/10 of the speed and you get an idea of what they are currently doing to torrent files. Now sure how watchable a streaming movie from Netflix would be with only 10% of the bandwidth they currently enjoy.

      • Member [Join Now]

        That’s what Comcast does – deliver requested internet files. They are an ISP internet SERVICE provider. The customer is already paying for the service. Comcast wants both sides to pay postage, the sender and the customer.

  4. Visitor [Join Now]
    Richard [visitor]

    Net neutrality comes into play because if I understand correctly, Comcast is treating Netflix data differently than data from CNN or FoxNews or that email from grandma.

    Net neutrality states that a bit should be treated no differently than another bit — whether the bit makes a picture of grandma’s newest quilt or whether the bit is a small part of a large video file or a bit that makes up an email message. Comcast should NOT be able to distinguish/bias from one bit to another.

    If Comcast has no problem with me downloading a 1-MB picture of grandma’s latest quilt 400x, then Comcast should have no problem with me downloading a 400MB Netlix movie 1x (granted these numbers were pulled out of my butt, but you get the gist).

    The issue comes to a head since Comcast wants to charge more for the “video” bits from Netflix than the bits on its own (competing) VOD service.

  5. Visitor [Join Now]
    That Guy [visitor]

    Real Answer – $.99 for Comcast VOD (read: Pay Per View) downloads, in SD or HD. Or give folks a reason to spend $x.xx per month on video content directly from Comcast.

  6. Visitor [Join Now]
    Rob [visitor]

    Yeah, Comcast sounds in the wrong. You can’t charge more based on content. If this is allowed, then all sorts of shenanigans will start happening with ISP’s becoming more like stagecoach bandits. Simply put, a bit is a bit is a bit… whether it’s part of a LOLcat meme, a big name Hollywood movie, or a picture of your niece from the family back east.