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Binging on House of Cards? Real politics may be slowing down your Netflix stream

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Last weekend, Netflix released the second season of the acclaimed political drama “House of Cards.

The streaming video service has about 34 million subscribers. And about two percent of them — or about 668,000 subscribers — watched the whole season in one go, all 11 hours in under three days. At least three million American subscribers watched at least one episode.

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If the service streamed 20 million hours of Kevin Spacey’s Machiavellian sneer last weekend, that’s 50 billion gigabytes of data downloaded. But that House of Cards binge actually represents a typical day for Netflix, according to network monitoring firm Procera.

But if you happened to notice that your streaming download seemed a bit choppy, it’s not so much a Netflix binge as our overall online video dietary habits, combined with a recent federal court ruling that lets your Internet service provider play politics with your feed.

Last month, a U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit struck down long-standing FCC rules preventing ISPs from charging special rates for competing content providers to access their pipes. These network neutrality rules are central to the efficient operation of the Internet, and keep companies like Comcast or AT&T from favoring their own content over competitors … like Netflix.

Netflix has been a source of bandwidth havoc for years, and alone represents more than a third of all Internet traffic today. It also produces content like House of Cards and Arrested Development, which competes with the offerings of cable channels.

Now, the relationships between the firms that pipe Netflix’ content into the Internet and the ISPs serving Netflix customers have started to break down. A report Friday from tech news site Ars Technica describes the hard negotiating position taken by Verizon in a dispute with one of Netflix’ Internet providers, Cogent, over peering — the process of trading Internet traffic. Most of the time, no money is exchanged in these relationships, but Verizon has demanded rates that would likely force Netflix to pass on the additional cost as a price hike.

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Netflix and Comcast may have reached an agreement earlier this week, according to Ars Technica and other reports.

However, the equipment connecting Cogent and Verizon has been allowed to grow obsolete, saturating the connection points with more data than they’re designed to handle. The result is lost data packets, which slows down Netflix streams. The choke point isn’t in a home subscriber’s own connection to the Internet. It’s farther upstream, where Netflix’ pipes dump out into Verizon’s and Comcast’s and Charter’s.


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WATCH: John Oliver exposes Trump’s lies about vote-by-mail — and the Fox News ‘cult’ claiming the election is already ‘rigged’

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"Last Week Tonight" host John Oliver's main story Sunday refuted President Donald Trump's latest crusade against vote-by-mail. Trump announced on Twitter that the more people who vote in an election, the more Republicans tend to lose. So, he wants fewer people to have access to the ballot in November, even if people are too scared to go out during the coronavirus crisis.

Oliver called out Missouri Gov. Mike Parson (R-MO), who outright told people not to vote if they were too afraid to vote in the local elections next week.

"Well, hold on there," Oliver interjected. "Voting is a right. It has to be easy to understand and accessible to anyone."

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John Oliver rips Fox News’ Tucker Carlson for urging ‘order’ from people of color — but never demanding it of police

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John Oliver opened his Sunday show, shredding Fox News host Tucker Carlson for uring "order" among protesters, but refusing to urge "order" to police and "wannabe police" who can't stop killing people.

It's a lot, Oliver explained. "How these protests are a response to a legacy of police misconduct, both in Minneapolis and the nation at large and how that misconduct is, itself, built on a legacy of white supremacy that prioritizes the comfort of white Americans over the safety of people of color."

While some of it is complicated, Oliver conceded, most of it is "all too clear."

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Cars set on fire blocks from White House as DC protests turn violent

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The Washington, D.C. protests turned violent as the city approached the 11 p.m. curfew the mayor instituted Sunday afternoon.

The policy of D.C. police is that when they are attacked, they advance forward. So, when fireworks were fired, the line of officers began pushing the protesters back further from the White House. Behind the line of police officers also stand a line of National Guard troops that President Donald Trump has demanded stand watch in the city.

Lights that normally shine on the White House have also been turned off, reporters revealed.

https://twitter.com/markknoller/status/1267291138655956992

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