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Google Fiber: We Won’t Charge Netflix

28 May, 2014 By: Chris Tribbey

A Google Fiber spokesman recently said the high-speed fiber optic service won’t charge Netflix and others to prioritize their content “or otherwise discriminate among Internet traffic,” saying the nascent service is instead inviting content providers to “hook up their networks directly to ours.”

This peering arrangement allows Google Fiber’s network to minimize buffering of video content, according to Jeffrey Burgan, director of network engineering for Fiber.

“Like other Internet providers, Google Fiber provides the ‘last-mile’ Internet connection to your home,” he wrote in a blog post. “Meanwhile, content providers spend a lot of money (many billions of dollars) building their own networks to transport their content all the way to those ‘last-mile’ connections.

“In that process, the content may run into bottlenecks — if the connections between the content provider and our network are slow or congested, that will slow down your access to content, no matter how fast your connection is.”

Netflix has already agreed to pay Comcast and Verizon interconnection fees for direct access to their broadband customers, but not without arguing that such fees go against the idea of Net Neutrality.

In Netflix’s case, Google Fiber — which offers 1 gigabit upload and download speeds to a handful of cities, with plans for more — is hosting Netflix’s servers free of charge at Fiber facilities, a practice of “co-location” that promises better quality and speedier delivery of Netflix content.

“Usually, when you go to Netflix and click on the video that you want to watch, your request needs to travel to and from the closest Netflix data center, which might be a round trip of hundreds or thousands of miles,” Burgan wrote. “Instead, Netflix has placed their own servers within our facilities, in the same place where we keep our own video-on-demand content.”

He added that Google Fiber gives companies like Netflix and Akamai free space and power in its facilities “since people usually only stream one video at a time, video traffic doesn’t bog down or change the way we manage our network in any meaningful way — so why not help enable it?”

The partnership allows Google Fiber customers to access 4K content from Netflix, and providers Google Fiber customers a superior experience, Burgan concluded.

Google Fiber is currently available in Kansas City, Kan., Kansas City, Mo., and Provo, Utah, with Austin, Texas up next. Google also wants to offer the service — which charges $120 a month for Internet and TV, or $70 a month for Internet alone — to nine more major U.S. metro areas: Portland, Ore., San Jose, Calif., Salt Lake City, Phoenix, San Antonio, Nashville, Atlanta, Charlotte, N.C., and Raleigh-Durham, N.C.

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