Entries with tag internet service providers.

YouTube Grades ISPs on their Video Services

Google’s YouTube now offers consumers the ability to see a grade for their ISP’s video-playback quality. A link that YouTube provides on its pages when a video experiences delays, asks, “Experiencing interruptions? Find out why.” Clicking on “find out why” takes users to the Google webpage at www.google.com/get/videoqualityreport, which displays a video-playback quality report card for their ISPs. Netflix recently offered similar messages when its video playback on Verizon systems slowed, saying “The Verizon network is crowded right now.” Verizon threatened legal action, and Netflix stopped the practice. All this appears to be the latest salvo in the US’s ongoing Net-neutrality debate. Net neutrality calls for ISPs to provide exactly the same level of service to all content, regardless of source, volume, or other factors. ISPs say they should be able to charge more for faster or higher-volume services that place more demand on their networks. Opponents say this would create a multitiered system in which only richer companies that can afford to pay ISPs will be able to offer better service. They say this would hinder competition and reduce the quality of service many people receive. A US judge recently ruled that the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) could not impose its existing Net neutrality rules because of the ways its policies were written. The FCC is considering new policies that would enable it to enforce some form of Net neutrality. (SlashDot)(Quartz)(re/Code)(Google)

US Agency Investigating Content-Delivery Congestion

The US Federal Communications Commission is investigating why content providers are experiencing congestion when trying to deliver their material to consumers. FCC chair Tom Wheeler says the agency wants to find out how Internet Service Providers handle video and data from providers such as Amazon, Hulu, and Netflix. Content providers have accused Comcast and Verizon of throttling traffic from those content providers that have not paid for faster connections. The ISPs counter that they should be properly compensated for heavy, high-speed traffic volumes. Wheeler said the FCC wants to understand how these types of paid and un-paid traffic exchange arrangements work in order to help consumers understand what is happening with the services for which they are paying. “Consumers want transparency. They want answers,” said Wheeler. “And so do I.” (The Associated Press)(ABC News)

Internet Provider: ISPs Allowing Network Congestion

A newly released report contends major US ISPs are allowing Internet congestion to occur by not upgrading their peering connections. Level 3 Communications, a communications-services provider, studied 51 of its peer ISPs around the world and found that customers are experiencing delayed or dropped packets throughout the day on congested connections to six ISPs, five of which are in the US. The company also said that rather than ensure that their networks can meet demand, ISPs generally expect payments from either the network middlemen or from content providers to deliver content to consumers. In other words, they save the higher bandwidth connections for those content or intermediate network providers that pay. Level 3 didn’t name specific ISPs engaged in this practice. Level 3 is seeking to change US laws to address this issue. However, said PC World, Level 3 has engaged in similar practices and may be more concerned about business than about customer service or consumer fairness. (PC World)(Ars Technica)(Level 3 Communications Blog)

Proposed Laws Would Keep Government-Funded Broadband Providers from Expanding into Markets Served by Private ISPs

Several US states—including Kansas and Utah—are considering legislation that would limit government-funded broadband networks built to serve specific communities from expanding to compete with private ISPs. Established providers say they have had to decrease prices to match those of these public-private backed services, such as in those communities with Google Fiber, and do not think private telecom firms should be forced to compete with taxpayer-funded services. For example, Utah’s proposed Interlocal Entity Service Prohibition law would prevent an open-access regional fiber consortium of cities known as UTOPIA (Utah Telecommunication Open Infrastructure Agency) from extending its network beyond its 16 member communities. UTOPIA says “the incumbent telecoms are welcome to join our network, but have elected not to.” Similar legislation proposed in Georgia failed to pass. (SlashDot)(The Consumerist -- 1)(The Consumerist -- 2)(Ars Technica)

US Launches Piracy Warning System

US ISPs have launched a system designed to flag customers committing online piracy and possibly limit repeat offenders’ Internet access. AT&T, Cablevision, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and Verizon have adopted the Copyright Alert System, which will let movie and music studios send notices to individuals thought to be using peer-to-peer services to illicitly download protected content. Proponents say the citation system, which the Center for Copyright Information created, would educate users about piracy. In some instances, a user would receive information about legal alternative sources of content. Participating ISPs could reduce Internet-access speeds for users who get six piracy warnings or interrupt service for those who don’t respond to alerts. Users who think they were issued alerts erroneously could have their cases reviewed independently. The Center for Copyright Information planned to launch the Copyright Alert System earlier, but Hurricane Sandy delayed testing and deployment when it hit the US East Coast last October. (PhysOrg)(USA Today)

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