I saw an article with an interesting headline, Canadians Have Almost Third-World Access to the Internet. Now given Canada is now passing the U.S. in all sorts of categories, especially per capita income this seems a little improbable. But then I thought of all that empty space in Canada with few people to pay bills for a geographically large network and thought I’d take a look. See here, in much of the lightly populated Great Plains Internet service seems third world for the same reason, lots of land to span with fiber, not many people to pay for it.
But, no, this is not about bandwidth or availability of broadband or price. It is about throttling Netflix, not necessarily Netflix but any hog of bandwidth, otherwise known as Netflix. Netflix is very whiny about this because it’s severely hampering their business in Canada, which they desperately need expansion somewhere since several self-inflicted wounds have been hurting Netflix. And Netflix is actually right, there is little justification for the bandwidth limits as a solution to congestion. The ISPs are limiting bandwidth because they’re part of media companies that want to provide their own streaming business.
Now here in Omaha I can get Netflix or Cox OnDemand. In either case Cox is providing all the infrastructure and bandwidth and for a fixed price with currently unlimited bandwidth. I pay Cox, Cox pays the bills for connectivity, Netflix pays nothing. Yet Netflix thinks they should get a free ride on Cox. Why is that, exactly Netflix? There is no doubt that streaming movies is probably the biggest hog of bandwidth. So Cox gets stuck with the bill, which they have to pass on to me, and you get all the revenue. Sweet deal for you. And screw Cox, your competitor.
So in Canada it doesn’t work that way (and unfortunately we’re moving the same direction here too). All these streaming services think they have an entitlement of unlimited bandwidth someone else has to provide, and they are clogging up the Net for everyone. And meanwhile comapnies like Netflix and all those wonderful ads for smartphones, showing streaming HD movies over a far more limited bandwidth than broadband – it’s all magic, it’s all free. But it’s not free.
I’m amused sometimes at capacity. I’ve done nearly 200 posts here on WordPress and a bunch of comments and the size of my downloaded backups hardly tilts the meter, probably not more than a couple of seconds of a streaming movie. All the media files WordPress.com allows don’t even come close to a single HD streaming movie, yet I’ve used less than 1%. I could write for decades and upload photos for years and not generate as much content as a single streaming rerun of PBS shows Netflix has in their limited documentary selections. Hundreds of thousands of people can send emails, or update their Facebook pages, or send tweets for just the bandwidth of someone watching some other rerun. But it is the bandwidth guzzler that either slows me down or ultimately ends with some bandwidth quota (like my 4G has).
Netflix whines it’s not allowed to make profits from something it doesn’t provide. Users expect unlimited bandwidth for fixed monthly contracts because after all bandwidth is free.; some youngsters think they can get rid of cable because everything is going to be on iPhone, once it finally has LTE. These streaming services are unnecessary and are more abusive to others than all the Hummers guzzling gas and hogging the roadways; there are more efficient ways to deliver the content. But somehow it’s so American to eat-all-you-can and demand no accountability, or profit all you can from resources you got for free. Well, hate to tell you, life doesn’t work that way. And Netflix get used to it. Because of you there will eventually be bandwidth limits everywhere and lets see how you make money then. It’s the same mentality as use all the oil now and fill the atmosphere with green house gases, unsustainable consumption.