Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Netflix, Wikileaks

Netflix is a bandwidth hog. Who will pay? (Hint: You.)

The traffic that Netflix is creating at this point is only the beginning--as a Netflix member myself, I can confidently state that they are doing everything they can to push their membership away from DVD-only usage and towards the "view instantly" option, which means their overall bandwidth usage is likely to continue to increase above and beyond its current astronomical level. That's going to require some infrastructure adjustment going forward, and that is going to cost money.

Who should pay for it? Accepting the truth that any company is going to pass along whatever costs it can to end users (meaning us), there are basically two options. 1) Netflix users themselves, or 2) Internet users in general. Which is more fair? Right now, "watch instantly" carries no limitation at all, so a person can conceivably spend every waking minute downloading movies if they want to...up until their ISP complains to them about the endless gigabytes of downloads and tells them to back off. I'm thinking the best approach here would be to force Netflix to back off on their unlimited usage idea, putting a limit on how much individual subscribers can access. Those who want more could pay for it, and Netflix could pass that money along to other companies. The alternative would be for Netflix to just keep on doing what it's doing, which would force the costs onto other companies, who would pass it along to their customers. The problem with this approach is that they don't know who uses Netflix and who doesn't, so they would probably just increase rates for everyone, or, worse, start implementing metered billing structures. I'd rather avoid any of that crap, myself. So, this whole question puts me in the surprising position of taking the side of Comcast. I guess Hell must be freezing over today, as well. ;)

Did Amazon Just Pull the Plug on the WikiLeaks Website?

Yes they did. Not much to say on this one, other than that they will no doubt find another place to host the site. I suggest Russia. Apparently, some of the leaked material was quite flattering to Vladimir Putin, so the Wikileaks people are not likely to run into any problem finding a new home there, right? Except Russia may not want to annoy the United States government, which is seriously pissed off about recent Wikileaks leaks. :P

In fact, as I typed the last couple of paragraphs, there is already a new development on this: "WikiLeaks moves URL to Swedish hosting firm after Amazon 'ousted' the controversial site." Bravo Sweden. I wonder how long that is going to last?

Of peripheral interest to the Wikileaks story:

WikiLeaks Founder's Mom: 'Don't Hunt My Son'

My general feeling on Julian Assange is that someone should give the guy a medal. Problem is, all the people who would be likely to do that are exactly the people he insists on pissing off. Coming soon, damaging information on a large bank. Which one? Who knows. He's going to end up wishing he was Salman Rushdie, at this rate.

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