Last year there were many articles (here is one of them: TorrentFreak – Netflix Says It’s Killing BitTorrent Traffic) coming out with statistics showing that Netflix is lowering the amount of pirated materials as more and more content that users would normally pirate becomes available to watch on the Netflix service. However now that the big ISPs got the FCC regulation lifted that was basically keeping net neutrality in place they are now “throttling”, simply limiting the speed, of the Netflix traffic down to a speed that makes the Netflix service almost unusable. In addition to Netflix being affected any other services that are run on the Amazon Web Services (AWS) data centers will be throttled as Netflix leverages the AWS to deliver their content.
How do you know if Netflix is being throttled? It’s quite simple. If you were previously able to view HD grade streams (aka very clear) on Netflix and you are now getting low quality picture and/or audio when watching Netflix you are likely being throttled. I am sure there are ways to see exactly how limited it is but I am not aware of them, so if you know how drop me a line and I will update this post with it.
Now how does this promote piracy? Let me explain. Let’s say I am on Netflix and I want to sit down and watch a movie on there. I login, click the movie, and it begins playing. However even though my internet connection is showing great speeds and there are no other issues at play my video quality is horrid and stops to buffer (load) all the time. Now I can just deal with it or I can download uTorrent then head over to ThePirateBay and download the movie at full speed. I will then have a full HD copy of the movie saved on my PC that I can now watch without any quality or loading issues.
The whole reason people like Netflix is the convenience and the quality of the service. Now that Comcast and Verizon are throttling (reports are showing down to 2mbps) the traffic for Netflix people may look elsewhere to get their files. I am not advocating piracy here but I am just saying that if this convenient method for legally watching copyrighted content suddenly isn’t as easy or doesn’t work as well people will go elsewhere and pirating themedia is really the only other alternative that is not overpriced. I don;t know about you but if I had the choice of paying $8+ a month for choppy, low quality video playback or a 5 minute download of a free HD video the choice would be clear.
In closing these carriers are greedy corporations and we have no other real alternatives at this point. We need to lobby against these practices and take back our internet. Do you know that the US pays the most for internet access yet most of us have speeds that are slower than ISPs in 3rd world countries? And that is still not enough for these big corporations that keep nickel and diming us and other companies. Why? Because they can. They own all the cabling, equipment, and other parts that deliver the network. They keep other small ISPs out of the market that try to come to the market and this hinders competition. I don’t know about you but where I live but I can pay Comcast $80 a month for a 50Mbit unmetered connection or AT&T $150 a month for a 25Mbit 250GB capped connection. Either options are horrible but Comcast in my case is the lesser of 2 evils. Think about that and let that sink it.
But in case you still don’t believe me have a read at this ITWorld.com article that shows a ton of evidence pointing that this is happening now. Article: Is your ISP throttling Netflix streaming speeds?