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Friday, July 25, 2014

Re/code: Major League Baseball Cries Foul on Net Neutrality Proposal

‘Flixing it the other way.

Last week, the sports league’s digital media arm told the FCC that the controversial fast-lane net neutrality proposal was a bad idea for several reasons, one being that the added costs to content companies to use those fast lanes would likely ultimately be passed along to consumers.

“Fast lanes would serve only one purpose: for Broadband ISPs to receive an economic windfall,” MLB’s Advanced Media unit wrote in a filing. “American consumers would be worse off as the costs of fast lanes are passed along to them in new fees or charges where there were none, or higher fees or charges where they existed.”

What percentage of Primates’ time is spent on MLBAM-streamed videos versus the rest of the Internet?

It might not be immediately obvious why Major League Baseball would care about this, but the league’s digital arm has become one of the largest over-the-top streaming video providers in the U.S.

MLB’s media division is expected to bring in around $800 million in revenue this year, up roughly 14 percent over last year, as the company has expanded the amount of live video it streams each year….

The unit also provides behind-the-scenes live streaming services for other companies, including the WWE and ESPN. This year, the company is projecting it will stream about 400,000 hours of live programming, according to Matthew Gould, an MLB.com spokesman. Less than 20,000 hours of that is expected to be baseball-related.

Greg Franklin Posted: July 25, 2014 at 01:07 PM | 11 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: internet, mlbam, streaming, technology

Reader Comments and Retorts

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   1. boteman is not here 'til October Posted: July 25, 2014 at 07:52 PM (#4757860)
If MLBAM stages content distribution nodes at major retail ISP peering points, instead of crossing its fingers that Level 3 and those same retail ISPs play nice, then everybody wins. But the politicizing of this issue and the B.S. being spewed publicly has muddied the issues.
   2. Pat Rapper's Delight Posted: July 25, 2014 at 09:02 PM (#4757891)
Economic windfalls for broadband ISP's are bad. They are totally unlike the economic windfalls that major league baseball teams enjoy when public entities foot the bill for new stadia but let the team keep all the revenue.

Likewise, costs passed along by broadband ISP's to consumers are bad. They are totally unlike all the additional taxes passed along by governments to consumers in order to fund said stadia for major league baseball teams to enjoy.
   3. Swedish Chef Posted: July 25, 2014 at 09:36 PM (#4757899)
Likewise, costs passed along by broadband ISP's to consumers are bad.

You think they are going to pass the cost savings on to the consumers?
   4. Dan Posted: July 25, 2014 at 09:56 PM (#4757908)
The issue is that the consumer is already paying the broadband ISP, and charging content providers to use high speed lanes means that the content providers pass that increased operating expense on to consumers, so then you're paying the ISP to provide you the pipe and you're paying the content provider for content as well as a premium that is going to the ISP to provide a pipe for the content, so the consumer is now paying the ISP twice for the same service, albeit indirectly the second time.
   5. boteman is not here 'til October Posted: July 25, 2014 at 10:06 PM (#4757911)
Perhaps an inside look by Level 3 will shed some light on what is really going on here. It's not what is being bandied about as "fast lanes" or any of that nonsense. This problem is simple and cheap to solve, but the monopoly retail ISPs do not want to because they have no incentive to solve it.
   6. cardsfanboy Posted: July 25, 2014 at 10:16 PM (#4757914)
Have to agree with Dan...I'm paying for high speed access, I pay for a service, I shouldn't be throttled down because the cable companies want to profit from both end of the pipeline. The providers have basically close to a monopoly anyway(in their respective coverage areas) if you are going to allow effective monopolies, and oppose public options, then you have to ensure that the monopolies are playing fair. I don't automatically oppose monopolies, I think there is a good reason often times to have them, but they have to exist as both a profit making machine and a public good.
   7. Bhaakon Posted: July 26, 2014 at 02:17 AM (#4757956)
Likewise, costs passed along by broadband ISP's to consumers are bad. They are totally unlike all the additional taxes passed along by governments to consumers in order to fund said stadia for major league baseball teams to enjoy.


At least most of those stadia are awesome. Broadband service in the US is embarrassingly poor relative to other industrialized nations.
   8. depletion Posted: July 26, 2014 at 10:21 AM (#4757982)
If the to-the-curb providers business model is hurt by those who download a couple movies a night, why can't they switch to a per GB charging system? That way low bandwidth users would save a few bucks and high bandwidth users could chose their own favorite sites. I realize this would have to pass regulatory hurdles, but it seems like a more transparent and fair way to fix the problem than "fast lanes". When these deals are done away from the public eye I fear there is more chance for corruption, fraud and tax cheating, e.g., Provider trades "fast lane" for stock from startup, boosts value of stock, sells stock, sells the same "fast lane" to new startup. Does anyone remember MCI, Qwest and a host of others?
   9. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: July 26, 2014 at 10:59 AM (#4757997)
If the to-the-curb providers business model is hurt by those who download a couple movies a night, why can't they switch to a per GB charging system?


It would be extremely difficult to scale that to ever-skyrocketing data needs. Just navigating the internet racks up the GB count in a hurry as every site wants you to view videos whether you asked for them or not--and while those who download five movies a day are relatively rare, many people regularly use their internet pipe to watch TV.

I'm sure the Great Satan, Comcast, would like nothing more than to be able to lock people into a two-year contract at $X per GB of data, because a year from now the average user will be using probably 25% more data than he does today. Even nontechnical J. Random Users are bright enough to realize they don't want that; thus the market demands a flat rate, and Comcast tries its best to get away with compensating for that by throttling high-usage users and high-usage times.

Edit: I don't mean to imply it's only Comcast that does that; they just lead the way. I use a small local ISP, exactly the kind that Comcast toils tirelessly to drive out of business, and every night at exactly 5:30 my download speed plummets, recovering after midnight. There's no mistaking what's going on here.
   10. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: July 26, 2014 at 11:05 AM (#4757999)
Comcast just wants MLB to give them a little revenue sharing, surely the Budshoviks couldn't object to that. Without ISPs MLB wouldn't have anyone to stream video to, it's only fair.
   11. boteman is not here 'til October Posted: July 26, 2014 at 11:51 AM (#4758016)
Without MLB and other "content" providers, ISPs would have no demand for their data links. It's a synergistic relationship which has worked fine for business-to-business transactions since this stuff began. It's the monopoly retail ISPs that are f@cking things up.

Bandwidth is measured in units of data per second, whether that's kilobytes, megabytes, gigabytes, terabytes, whathaveyou. But charging like a water meter for every byte transmitted doesn't work in the tcp/ip world. During periods of congestion there very likely is retransmission of packets due to some packets being lost; you want me to pay for the ISP's inability to send me a coherent stream? No.

If there were true competition (which I'm confident the free-market YR would champion), shitty providers would lose customers to better providers and things would balance out. We don't have that in the Land of the Free; you have to move to some Communist country like Japan or Germany to get decent and affordable Internet connectivity.

The best business model to use is the same one used to bill commercial entities such as colocation facilities (sorry) "cloud providers": they measure your 95th percentile and bill based on that Committed Data Rate, not this miserly approach where each and every packet flips a bead in the abacus. This is the only sane and sensible way to do it; this should automatically appeal to Primates here.

As John Q. Public is largely unaware of such a billing model, the monopoly approach under which we currently suffer is all anybody talks about, as if no alternatives exist. More's the pity.

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