When negotiations between big media companies and cable TV providers break down, viewers are often left without access to their favorite channels and TV shows.
A fight between CBS and Time Warner Cable last year blacked out channels for millions of consumers. Subscribers to small cable providers lost access to Viacom channels earlier this year.
Those blackouts could be a preview of the Internet’s future, Netflix’s top lobbyist warned during a panel discussion Wednesday.
Christopher Libertelli said federal regulators should intervene or the Internet service providers could “turn the Internet into more of a cable television system.”
Just like in the cable TV industry, disputes between video websites and Internet service providers could keep customers from watching the shows they want, he warned.
For years, websites have hired third parties to deliver data to Internet providers, who carry the content to consumers’ homes. In recent years, because of the massive amount of data that Netflix is delivering to its subscribers, the company has been bypassing those third parties and connecting directly to the providers’ networks. Those direct connections ensure that Netflix videos stream as smoothly as possible.
But Comcast and other providers are demanding that Netflix pay for direct access to their networks. If Netflix doesn’t pay up, videos become grainy and take longer to load.
“This interconnection point has become the new choke point, the place for ISPs to tax content companies,” Libertelli argued during the panel discussion hosted by the Aspen Institute.
He said Netflix chose to pay Comcast earlier this year for a direct-connection deal because the situation had become “intolerable.”
“We paid our way around congestion,” he explained.
The Federal Communications Commission’s net-neutrality rules only cover how Internet providers handle traffic once it’s on their network. The regulations don’t affect how networks connect to each other.
But Libertelli warned that the FCC shouldn’t just give Internet providers a new place to discriminate. He urged the agency to enact new regulations or impose conditions on the massive mergers pending before the agency to ensure Web companies can connect to broadband networks for free.
Jim Cicconi, AT&T’s top lobbyist, argued that Netflix has always had to pay to transmit its traffic and that there’s nothing special about the direct-connection deals.
“Netflix wants free. I get it,” he said during the panel discussion. “Somebody ends up having to pay for the transmission of that traffic.”
Regulations requiring free connections would end up forcing all Internet users to pay for Netflix’s traffic, regardless of whether they actually subscribe to the service or not, he said.
In an emailed statement following the discussion, Sena Fitzmaurice, a Comcast spokeswoman, argued that only Netflix can decide how to deliver its traffic.
“They choose the path the traffic takes to us. They can choose to avoid congestion or inflict it,” she said.
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Before we get to the specifics of this exposé about escorts working the Iowa and New Hampshire primary crowds, let’s get three things out of the way: 1.) It’s from Cosmopolitan; 2.) most of the women quoted use fake (if colorful) names; and 3.) again, it’s from Cosmopolitan. That said, here’s what we learned:
- Business was booming: one escort who says she typically gets two inquiries a weekend got 15 requests in the pre-primary weekend.
- Their primary season clientele is a bit older than normal—”40s through mid-60s, compared with mostly twentysomething regulars” and “they’ve clearly done this before.”
- They seemed more nervous than other clients, because “the stakes are higher when you’re working for a possible future president” but “all practiced impeccable manners.”
- One escort “typically enjoy[s] the company of Democrats more, just because I feel like our views line up a lot more.”
No matter where you stand on mandating companies to include a backdoor in encryption technologies, it doesn’t make sense to allow that decision to be made on a state level. “The problem with state-level legislation of this nature is that it manages to be both wildly impractical and entirely unenforceable,” writes Brian Barrett at Wired. There is a solution to this problem. “California Congressman Ted Lieu has introduced the ‘Ensuring National Constitutional Rights for Your Private Telecommunications Act of 2016,’ which we’ll call ENCRYPT. It’s a short, straightforward bill with a simple aim: to preempt states from attempting to implement their own anti-encryption policies at a state level.”
Much has been made of David Brooks’s recent New York Times column, in which confesses to missing already the civility and humanity of Barack Obama, compared to who might take his place. In NewYorker.com, Jeffrey Frank reminds us how critical such attributes are to foreign policy. “It’s hard to imagine Kennedy so casually referring to the leader of Russia as a gangster or a thug. For that matter, it’s hard to imagine any president comparing the Russian leader to Hitler [as] Hillary Clinton did at a private fund-raiser. … Kennedy, who always worried that miscalculation could lead to war, paid close attention to the language of diplomacy.”
The New Covenant. The Third Way. The Democratic Leadership Council style. Call it what you will, but whatever centrist triangulation Bill Clinton embraced in 1992, Hillary Clinton wants no part of it in 2016. Writing for Bloomberg, Sasha Issenberg and Margaret Talev explore how Hillary’s campaign has “diverged pointedly” from what made Bill so successful: “For Hillary to survive, Clintonism had to die.” Bill’s positions in 1992—from capital punishment to free trade—“represented a carefully calibrated diversion from the liberal orthodoxy of the previous decade.” But in New Hampshire, Hillary “worked to juggle nostalgia for past Clinton primary campaigns in the state with the fact that the Bill of 1992 or the Hillary of 2008 would likely be a marginal figure within today’s Democratic politics.”
At first, “it was pleasant” to see Trevor Noah “smiling away and deeply dimpling in the Stewart seat, the seat that had lately grown gray hairs,” writes The Atlantic‘s James Parker in assessing the new host of the once-indispensable Daily Show. But where Jon Stewart was a heavyweight, Noah is “a very able lightweight, [who] needs time too. But he won’t get any. As a culture, we’re not about to nurture this talent, to give it room to grow. Our patience was exhausted long ago, by some other guy. We’re going to pass judgment and move on. There’s a reason Simon Cowell is so rich. Impress us today or get thee hence. So it comes to this: It’s now or never, Trevor.”