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Reed Hastings recently stood before new employees packed into the companyâ€™s campus movie theater, pulled a gray hair from his head and held it up for all to see. A single fiber optic strand, as thin as that hair, could carry massive amounts of data â€” the equivalent of all of Netflixâ€™s global video traffic at any given time, he marveled. The co-founder of Netflix has been thinking much more about broadband providers these days, with his company spearheading a lobbying effort to get federal regulators to monitor how Internet service providers charge Web firms like his to move data around the Internet. Itâ€™s a risky effort. Netflix, which gobbles up one-third of bandwidth during peak hours, doesn't think companies like theirs should pay extra to place its servers closer to the networks of Comcast and Verizon. The issue reveals Netflix at an important turning point. It won kudos with television critics, nominated for 31 Emmys on Thursday. But itâ€™s making enemies out of the companies it relies on most â€” the cable and telecom firms providing all those lightning-fast Internet connections as thin as his hair. The following is an edited transcript of a recent interview in the â€œHawaii Five-Oâ€ conference room at the companyâ€™s headquarters. Hastings had just returned from watching the U.S. play against Germany in an early World Cup 2014 match. View the full article
We've of course seen no limit to the complaints by users that YouTube videos often get stuck buffering, despite blisteringly-fast connections. Most customers blame their ISPs, while most ISPs (or companies paid by ISPs) blame Google. The real reason is often the power and cash struggles going on behind the scenes over CDN and peering links, with last-mile ISPs, core network ISPs, and content companies like Google all sometimes playing a role in making your YouTube performance suck. With that in mind, Google has posted a new video quality report. Right now the report is simply a series of slides explaining how video gets delivered to you, but ultimately Google is going to start logging ISP connection speeds and ranking them based on YouTube streaming performance. The concept appears to not be all that dissimilar from Netflix's attempt to name and shame ISPs for lower quality streaming performance (or name and shame them into using Netflix's Open Connect CDN, depending on how you'd like to look at it). Ultimately Google will list the best ISPs in each region based on YouTube performance, and when ISP subscribers are able to watch 90% of the YouTube videos in HD (720p) at consistent quality, that ISP will be branded as "YouTube HD Verified." View the full article