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Post Reply Verizon FiOS is throttling Crunchyroll and Netflix
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Posted 2/21/14 , edited 2/21/14
Just to let everyone know that Verizon FiOS is currently severely throttling speeds when using CrunchyRoll and Netflix, and here is the article:

http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2014/02/netflix-packets-being-dropped-every-day-because-verizon-wants-more-money/

I am furious as hell, at first I thought it was prime time issues, and what not. However, I got back and forth from NY and PA. In PA, I am using Blue Ridge Communications, and stream as much as 12+ hours in HD without any issues on their 10 Mbps package (with only 800 K up speeds).

Using the same exact equipment now at my apartment in NY, I am on Verizon FiOS using their 80 Mbps package, which I pay a ton for. I can not get anything to load on either my AppleTV or PS3 this evening. I found the article on ars, which shed some light on the issue being that Verizon is aggressively blocking traffic from cogent communications, which is who CrunchyRoll uses for their streaming services.

I will be significantly reducing my internet package within the week, and saving some money. If I can't use the one thing I use the most, I will not pay for a brutally expensive service that blocks it.
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35 / M / Staten Island, NY...
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Posted 2/21/14
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22 / M / United States
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Posted 2/21/14 , edited 2/22/14


I've heard about Verizon users being almost unable to use Crunchyroll. I'm very sorry to hear that man. I'm on Comcast and haven't been experiencing any problems (other than the common lag on the videos). I hope Comcast doesn't turn out this way or I won't know who to turn to for an ISP!
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Posted 2/21/14
I have Fios and Crunchyroll has been slow for a bit now but watchable. I have been a Verizon customer for years and don't doubt for a second they are trying to strong arm anyone and everyone into paying them for streaming over their pipes. That being said knock on wood, I haven't had issues with Netflix (yet anyways). I just finished watching the first episode of Bate's Motel in 1080p with no issues. I do think at least part of the problems people are having are on Crunchyroll though. Last night I was watching Kill la Kill around 9pm and it loaded up pretty quick and didn't buffer throughout the episode. Some days it will take a while to navigate around the apple TV app and then another while for the episode to start streaming with two or three pauses for buffering (they weren't that long to be honest). So I feel that some of these speed/responsiveness issues do lay in Crunchyroll's court.

@Lemontitties Comcast had a spat with Level 3 a few years ago and similar complaints like the ones flying around right now were happening to their customers. They resolved the issues (pretty sure Level 3 caved and ponied up some money). You should be good for a while at least until that contract expires or they get into a spat with another provider. I had comcast for years in my town and jumped on FIOS as soon as it was available. Even with issues like the current ones I wouldn't switch back. I won't say comcast is universally bad but in my town I don't think they're worth the money.
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Posted 2/21/14

GodWhomIsMike wrote:

I found the article on ars, which shed some light on the issue being that Verizon is aggressively blocking traffic from cogent communications, which is who CrunchyRoll uses for their streaming services.


Rather than Verizon trying to strong arm Cogent into paying more, the way I understand the issue is that the amount of data flowing into Verizon's network from Cogent is greater than what the two companies had previously agreed on, and Cogent is unwilling to pay more for higher capacity on Verizon's end. That leaves the two groups at a standstill until one gives, or there is an outside resolution (court ruling?), leaving the customers to suffer during this time.

I wonder how many people experiencing the greatest number of issues with the website are using Verizon, and how many are using other ISPs, such as Comcast or TWC.
The Wise Wizard
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56 / M / U.S.A. (mid-south)
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Posted 2/22/14

zer0future wrote:

I had comcast for years in my town and jumped on FIOS as soon as it was available. Even with issues like the current ones I wouldn't switch back. I won't say comcast is universally bad but in my town I don't think they're worth the money.

For me, this makes the third time I have been a Comcast customer. My first time was around the turn of the century, as they were the first to offer broadband in my area. At that time, the speeds they offered could be nearly matched DSL, which was less expensive, so I switched later when that was available. The only issues I had was the internet service seemed to go down often, and they were charging me for a converter box it turned out I didn't need. (I also had basic cable at the time).

The second time was TV only, and I quit after about 5 months because they outright lied to me. They offered me a promo rate that was guaranteed for 12 months, and then raised it after about 3 months. The only way I could get the difference back was to call in and complain each month and get the difference credited back on the next bill.

The current time started last summer. AT&T DSL was getting expensive, and even at the normal rate, Comcast wasn't that much more for far faster speed. They were offering a good promo rate, so I took it. Thus far, they've stuck with exactly what they promised. CR works the same as before (generally good), but my experience with YouTube and TAN has been better. Their uptime still isn't as good as DSL, but it is much improved from around the turn of the century.

Best of all, Comcast still has to abide by net neutrality for a few years yet (despite the recent court ruling), due to one of the conditions under which they were allowed to acquire NBC Universal a few years ago.

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Posted 2/22/14
Makes sense. I've been seeing a lot of Verizon users having the same issues as me on CR.

I don't know if it's becoming a related issue to Verizon, but I am piss*d I cannot finish one video without stopping and resuming all night tonight!
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60 / M / Earth
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Posted 2/22/14
I was on AT&T UVerse, which did perform OK and had better DVR recording and menu features, but the rate hikes just got to be too much, so I switched to TWC's promotion (for about half the price). It had faster internet download speeds, but the guide was less friendly, and only two shows recording simultaneously (and none watchable if two were active). I had to call a couple times to get the uploads to be where they promised, but part of that turned out to be my router dying. Now TWC has a Roku app now that kind of makes up for some of their unfriendly PVR programming, and they change the On-demand TAN shows weekly, and there are more of them compared to what UVerse had, so I'm even catching up on a few shows that CR didn't pick up in the past. I really hope this Comcast thing with TWC doesn't screw it up...

But I don't have the issues, which so many other people seem to be having, when I used either cable company, other than the random pause now and then on PC. When I do watch on PC (rarely now, usually just to get screen caps) even at 720 it's pretty good. With Roku and Kindle: no problems other than an occasional few second initial pause, but even then, only if a given episode just got released and I was trying to jump on it right away.

I did a suite of bandwidth tests, graphically monitoring my internal router traffic (isolated to just me) on every possible combination of players and streamers and PCs I own. There's not even a question that anything, in any browser (IE/Firefox/Chrome), running on a PC, laptop or tower, wired or wireless, (even Hulu's old PC standalone player) is simply a bandwidth sucking hog compared to my two device players (I don't have Apple or gaming boxes, so couldn't test them).

It doesn't matter if it is CR, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, Funimation, even Daisuki, who doesn't use flash. Streaming vids on a PC in any browser are a constant drain, even at lower resolutions, which are just lower peaks, maybe with a little peak separation as you get closer to standard res, but the pressure is constant.

Roku and Kindle/Android (for all but Daisuki, who doesn't offer Roku/Android apps) use 16 times less peak bandwidth (8 mbps/PC vs only 1/2 mbps/devices) once they are actively playing, even with two dots (480p) on the Roku. There is only something at the very beginning (and still not nearly as intense), then after that, only every two minutes there is a very tiny spike with nothing in between until the next one. Sure, part of it is that those devices still don't have HD (and use a different CDN, but I'm measuring actual use, not response times), but I compared PCs in standard def, too. There is just a world of difference there.

Unfortunately, seemingly for so many others, packet drops are still packet drops if the carriers peering pipeline is full, so device or PC, you would still see issues either way. Your upload/download speeds are only to your ISP, not necessarily to the internet in general, and all those speed tests prove is that there is some path to somewhere that works that well, but not necessarily the path to where you are streaming from...

TL;DR Don't use a PC to watch streaming vids...
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21 / M / Rhode Island
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Posted 2/23/14
I have Verizon Fios, ever since a few weeks ago I noticed that there has been definite throttle on Crunchyroll. I pay for speeds of 75/35 and I get about 85/35 from what I've done tests on, yet crunchyroll along with netflix have been nearly unusable. It takes me about 30 seconds plus just to load one page on crunchyroll. Just for me to be able to start watching a video it takes a few minutes to get to the page, but for some reason the video loads fine on any resolution, just the website has been horrifyingly slow for me.

Everything else if fine though, I can go on any other website and the pages load like a champ.
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M / SoCal, USA
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Posted 2/23/14
I have Verizon FIOS 75/35 and have been experiencing the problems (slow webpages but if the video loads it seems to stream ok) with the Crunchyroll website for a couple of weeks now. I also have Netflix but since I rarely use it, I can't really say if it's slower or not.
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Posted 2/23/14
I'm sorry to hear. I cannot believe Verizon FiOS is doing this, especially when you're paying a hefty price for their services.
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Posted 2/23/14 , edited 2/23/14
Netflix (and maybe Crunchyroll) will have to pay Verizon to ensure they don't throttle traffic. NetFlix just settled with Comcast and has agreed to pay Comcast a "fee" to ensure that Comcast does not "throttle or discriminate" NetFlix internet traffic. As it was, Comcast was "slowing down" Netflix connections by Comcast users.

- Netflix Agrees to Pay Comcast to End Traffic Jam
- http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304834704579401071892041790 (paywall)

I'm sure this is what most video/audio streaming companies will have to do in the near future to ensure ISPs don't discriminate against their users.

/Edit. A bit more of the story without the WSJ paywall:

- Netflix and Comcast Solve Their Web Traffic Problem With a Long-Term Deal
- http://recode.net/2014/02/23/netflix-and-comcast-solve-their-web-traffic-problem-with-a-long-term-deal/

The deal focuses on the intersection between the two company’s pipes and is supposed to ensure that there’s enough “interconnect capacity” to handle Netflix’s video streams, which can account for as much as a third of the broadband traffic in the U.S.

For the past several months, Netflix has been releasing data that indicated its customers were seeing slower speeds from Comcast and other broadband providers, including Verizon.

The companies aren’t disclosing terms of the deal, but people familiar with the arrangement say that this a “transit” agreement, as opposed to a “peering” agreement, which means that money, or some kind of compensation, is likely changing hands.


Bottom-line is that Crunchyroll may have to begin paying ISPs such as Comcast and Verizon in the future to ensure "interconnect capacity" and a smooth experience for CR customers.

PS. I'm not suggesting that Verizon is currently throttling CR.
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Posted 2/23/14

Hairbelly wrote:

Bottom-line is that Crunchyroll may have to begin paying ISPs such as Comcast and Verizon in the future to ensure "interconnect capacity" and a smooth experience for CR customers.

PS. I'm not suggesting that Verizon is currently throttling CR.


I don't think this is quite as simple as people are making it out to be...

If we can assume what both Cogent and Verizon have said is actually true (that is a big IF), then this isn't maliciously selecting specific traffic to be throttled... rather they are saying the all traffic between their networks is impacted. Essentially they are trying to cram a basketball down a water hose... the pipe just isn't large enough.

So there are two choices... make the pipe bigger (which is what they are arguing about $$$), or reach an agreement like Comcast did, and not have to deal with Cogent at all.

Realistically, it is probably safe to assume then that should a similar deal be reached between NetFlix and Verizon, then the issue with CR's website would resolved. You would be taking a massive amount of data off the link to Cogent (given how large a percentage is NetFlix traffic), so now you have enough bandwidth to go around for everyone else.

That said... and this may be specific to where the individual user is located... actual CR streams (video content) seem to be served by local Content Delivery Networks. Watching my traffic while streaming, the iOS devices traffic seems to be routed to Limelight networks, PC traffic is going through Level3. Of course I don't have all day to look at this, so I only looked at couple of instances from each.
jomuyo 
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Posted 2/23/14 , edited 2/24/14
I am also a Verizon FiOS customer. I would also had the same lag issues with Crunchyroll content, which lead me to post on a separate thread about the topic (http://www.crunchyroll.com/forumtopic-838491/crunchyroll-website-lag-is-a-nightmare?pg=1#45856339). I also have no other issues with other websites, and so far Netflix has been working fine for me. Of course at the sixth or seventh episode of House of Cards, the connection started to get shaky.

It is almost like Verizon is using Crunchyroll as a trail balloon for further restrictions on the rest of the streaming providers. I mean given all of the coverage in the tech press about Verizon throttling Netflix. Implementing a wide ranging throttling campaign against Netflix would attract too much unwanted attention. I don't know, maybe I have been watching too much House of Cards.

Anyway I am at a loss on what to do. I can switch to Cox, but there is no guarantee that things will get or stay better. Most of us only have one or two ISPs. I just feel that it is all hopeless, and we better prepare to pay a lot more for our internet connections and online content.

Edit:

After a sleeping on the issue, I have decided to file a comment with the FCC about this lag issue. I encourage anyone who is frustrated with this issue to do the same. Just go to http://www.fcc.gov/comments and submit a comment on the "09-191 Preserving the Open Internet" proceeding. Also make sure you copy and paste your comment in a text document before you click the "File Comment" button. My initial comment was lost due to an 500 error when I tried to submit it. Your can also file a complaint while you are there as well. Oh, and sending a letter (physical one is best) to your representative in Congress won't hurt either.
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Posted 2/24/14 , edited 2/24/14
FYI - It just came across my Bloomberg that the Verizon CEO says a deal with NetFlix to ease bandwidth throttling is "very likely" soon. Meaning that NetFlix will begin paying Verizon for better "interconnect capacity". No terms of the deal posted yet.

That doesn't help you with your problems with Crunchyroll, but it might point the way in some respects.

This is probably the Internet of the future. It may make sense for smaller video sites like Crunchyroll to band together with other small "niche" streaming sites and get some representation/leverage with Washington and the major ISPs. It's not a total fix for CR's current streaming issues, but it will at least remove one potential roadblock.
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