SOTN2023-15 Getting the Latest Binge to Your TV: Investments in Streaming
12:08AM Mar 17, 2023
So, as I said, this is the most fun panel here today because we get to talk about streaming. And what we're really going to discuss is how Stranger Things gets to your TV, right? It's going to be about the programming that's coming into our homes, how it gets there, and why that's important. So I'm going to go ahead and get started, I sort of divided our conversation into three sections. The first is going to be about the infrastructure, the fiber cables, and such that get the content into our homes. Secondly, we're going to talk about the content itself, not just what we're all watching, although we probably will talk about that. But why it matters, why representation matters, why different types of content being delivered, globally matter. And then finally, I'll ask a few spicy questions, but not too spicy.
So we're not previewing the new season of Stranger Things.
That's next year.
Oh, I'm on the wrong panel.
So I'm going to start with a question for Netflix, because Netflix is cool. And also because I think that Netflix has a very cool perspective as to how content comes into our homes. And it may be a little bit different than folks think. So, tomorrow, I'm hoping you talk us through the whole, what we call the Internet investment chain. For those in the room who might not understand Can you take us through what a content delivery network is and what it does, and how it works.
Yeah, thanks, John. And thanks, everybody, for for joining. It's great to be here in DC today. I'm usually based in Paris, France, I'm an engineer. By training. I've built Internet infrastructure for 15 years. And now I support the global public policy at Netflix, at the risk of making it sound less cool. And hive things up. Streaming is just a good metaphor for the Internet itself. The endless possibilities, the diversity of content that you can find on streaming services is just a good metaphor for, for for for the Internet overall. And indeed, it is a whole chain of, of stakeholders connecting to each other Internet stands for the interconnection of networks is more than 70,000 networks around the world that interconnect Netflix is just one of them. And the value of the Internet is that all of those networks can connect to each other and exchange in our case content, but services. And so there's this kind of network effect a virtuous circle, whereby great content, such as Stranger Things, but such as zoom, and all the other day to day applications, kind of feeds into the value of accessing the Internet Internet connections, which then creates demand for the services, and so on and so forth. So you have this kind of flywheel effect. So this entire value chain that we will describe then that is represented on the panel here today, invests in various shape or form for Netflix, the primary investment is content itself, we spend around half of our revenue back into making more movies and TV shows that we'll talk about in a minute. But it also takes shape in technical investments to make to deliver the content to the homes. So we call it open Connect. It's Netflix, in house content delivery network. And what it is, is really a distribution of caching servers all around the world to store content closer to our subscribers hope that many of them are in the room today. So open connect was started 10 years ago, Netflix has invested over a billion dollars into into building open connect this maze of it's made of 18,000 servers distributed around the world in 6000 location and a lot of them are in the US representing all 50 states, as you can see on this, on this map, and what it means is that when you press play on Netflix, the streams actually come from around the corner, they don't come from Hollywood or, or some big Internet hub somewhere in the in the in the big cities, it's actually from each state from from from around the corner is great for Netflix and our subscribers, obviously because it makes the quality of the streams better. It's why Netflix works well. It's also good for networks, because they save money on the long distance network by storing content closer to the to the consumption point. And then lastly is it's also good for any other Internet service, because it makes way and saves capacity on the long distance network for the services that will not be cashable otherwise. So if you think of a zoom call or telemedicine consultation, where obviously that cannot be cached, because it's live communication, it needs to go on the long distant pipes. Netflix does not need to go. So we engineer it in a way that is that that it does not go on the long distance pipes.
Things come up, I want to ask a similar question. But of our more traditional infrastructure, the way we normally think about how the Internet is delivered right through cable pipes in the ground. So my first question is gonna be for Angie, you represent any number of the folks who deliver broadband in the way that we treat more traditionally think about it than a CDN? Could you talk to us a little bit more about the investment that those companies and organizations have made?
Sure, thanks so much for having me. So encompasses the Internet and competitive networks Association. And we're really uniquely positioned because we're a trade association that does represent competitive broadband providers, as you mentioned, and but we also have a number of others in the Internet value chain that we represent. Those who are offers the offering voice data, messaging services online, as well as the great content that so many people want in streaming such as Netflix and YouTube television, including, you know, my myself and my own kids, gaming and cloud computing, so many so many important services that are bringing more affordability to both consumers and to businesses. We have all of that in encompass. So when we look at the investment that is being made, it's really important to keep in mind that there is investment by network companies. These are last mile, middle mile long mile networks that are going in, and a lot of it is private sector money. So that estimate is anywhere between 70 to $80 billion annually here in the US. And then you also have the public sector that is making significant investment in these networks. Traditionally, the Federal Communications Commission has a Universal Service Fund. And that has provided significant investment for several decades now into the networks. And then as many of you have heard through some of the conversations that have happened in the main room at this conference, this Assistant Secretary Alan Davidson was talking about some of the programs that his agency is in charge of So Congress has made 10s of billions of dollars available in order to get network connectivity to consumers and to small businesses. And this is really important to you. We've estimated when you take into account the COVID emergency funding, so the Cares Act money that can be used towards network investment, as well as the BT funding, the American rescue plan money, we think it's about $100 billion. It's been used in the US to bring more network connectivity, some of that effect, a lot of it will be last mile. So that's what we think of as from the ISP, you know, from from essentially like their network connectivity point in your community all the way to your home. And some of it will be used for middle mile there is a great middle mile need him here in the US. And then in addition to that encompass recently did a report with analysis Mason, and I think David Abecasis is somewhere in the room. And we worked with him to evaluate what's the investment that's being made by tech companies, streaming companies into the Internet that's bringing more of the global Internet connectivity. So from the caches that you just saw to the other kinds of subsea cable investment that's being made. And the estimate there's over $120 billion annually is going into the network around the world in order to ensure that consumers and businesses can obtain the services and content that they want online.
Thanks, Angie. I want to ask David, Don, the same question here. I'm curious what Comcast is doing on the infrastructure front to account for all of this right? Giant amounts of streaming that we're doing, and the ongoing Lebbon evolution towards streaming.
Thank you and thank you for having me here. Have this is obviously we are the company at the forefront of all of this investment, right? Comcast for the last four years has invested over $20 billion. And a lot of you probably are familiar with the campaign we just launched on the Super Bowl with XFINITY 10 G. So there's the network, you have to build to make this content get to the consumer. And we are leading providers of that. And then of course, also on the video content side, we're trying to figure out where this is going. We obviously were leaders in the linear marketplace. And now we're trying to hedge our bets, I guess you could say or figure out where this is going, we've launched a product called zumo, where we're building a platform for companies like Netflix and, and YouTube, and Peacock, I must say without getting in trouble. So we're on all sides of this transaction. And what you see is, as Angie suggested, billions and billions of dollars of investment. What's interesting, I wanted to share a statistic with this group that I don't know if everyone necessarily would know. But how much of the Internet content do you guys think is actually video streaming content? And the pre COVID versus the post COVID Number? Does anyone have any guesses? Tomas? How much 80%. Not quite 65% of all content on the Internet is streaming video. Now we're all here in Washington, we meet with policy makers, and we talk about commerce and civic engagement, and entertainment. But it turns out most of what people are doing on the Internet is streaming video. Now pre COVID, it was about 65%. And video conferencing was about 1% Post COVID video conferencing makes up how much of the Internet content 3%. It is still 65% cat videos and Stranger Things. And so we have these intellectual debates about how important Internet is for everything civic engagement and education and work from home. But what's really sustaining this network and what's in justifying the investment that we're making and Angie's members are making is the customer demand for video content. And at Comcast, we're on both sides of it, we're going to be there for the video side, of course. And on the network side, the 10 G this 10 G effort we're launching here to get everyone connected to gigabit network symmetrical multi gigabit networks eventually, that's all part of giving customers what they want, and which is the content we're all producing here.
Now seems like the right time to loop in YouTube, when we're talking about video streaming, Alexandria, would love to hear about how YouTube thinks about streaming and about our networks.
Oh, thanks for that question. I love it. Because I think YouTube's role actually sits at the middle of a lot of the work happening across this panel. So just to start with YouTube's mission, it's to give everyone a voice and show them the world. And to ground us in a sense of scale here. That means 500 hours of content are uploaded to YouTube every minute. And we have 2 billion monthly users. So enormous scale and reach. Angie and David talked about investment. We rely on that investment, that infrastructure for our videos to reach consumers give users the content they love, where they are. For other streaming platforms, people friends, like Netflix, we see ourselves as a key partner, a force multiplier for their creative content. So just to give you an example, from this morning, I observed that Netflix's main YouTube channel has 26 million subscribers on our platform. And I may or may not have noticed that because I was watching the trailer for season five of drive to survive anybody else in here. And then, you know, David, my friend David mentioned cat videos, cat videos, and more right on YouTube in terms of our content. So I will always say that YouTube's creators are the heart of our platform. I think in forums like these over the years, we've talked a lot about the power of the free and open Internet about the democratization of content. YouTube really is a realization of that dream, where our global reach and scale means new stories are being told by underrepresented creators, diversity of viewpoints, exportation of culture. So really exciting, creative moment on the platform. Thanks.
I think I would be remiss if I didn't mention the digital divide at this point, right. The benefits of all this amazing content. Sadly, don't reach all Americans. Some stats say one in five Americans do not have access to broadband in the home. That can be because of an access issue, affordability, digital skill, gap, etc. I wanted to ask Kurama question on this in particular because you represent precisely about the rural digital divide. You represent ISPs in Maine and Montt and really curious what your work to bridge the divide and bring the benefits of streaming or the benefits of broadband writ large to folks what that looks like in your day to day.
I wish I represented all the ISPs in Maine. But I think I'm a voice where the 1500 to 2000 ISPs that exist with our brothers and sisters like Comcast. So a little bit of context, before I am brave enough to answer the question. It's actually not one in five that don't have access to broadband, it's 150 million Americans do not have access to broadband is federally defined by 25 by three, just think about that. We're very blessed. We're very fortunate we can do this. But the majority of United States, especially in the rural areas do not have access to 25 by three, which is amazing. Actually, if you think about it, that that's an enormous scale. The GDP of Maine is 60 billion, the GDP of Vermont is 30 billion. The annual economic output of the United States is $27 trillion, comprises mostly of small businesses, those small businesses in rural areas can't even access payroll data because they're on less than 25 by three connectivity. So what is Comcast and we are doing enormous, enormous, enormous generational work. Think about the rural electrification program in the 1910s, to the 1940s, the National Highway Transportation System, from the 50s to the 60s, what we are all involved in right now will impact our lives and our kids lives for the next at least 100 years, at least. In most areas, actually, when we hang fiber optic cable, we're still doing it on aerial poles that were put up in the 1910s. So think about those decisions they were all collectively making as a society right now. About 10 to 15% of Americans are below the poverty line, let alone affording broadband, they can't afford a cell phone. So how do we make sure that's equitable? How can you make sure it's universally accessible and affordable? The telecommunications industry in the past is redlined. Let's be honest about it. There are bipoc communities, immigrant communities in Maine and Vermont that don't have Internet in the middle of a metropolitan city like Portland, Maine, which has a population of about 120,000 people. That's amazing. So what are we doing about it, we build gigabit fiber optic networks like Comcast 2000 ISPs in the United States ever is building building building. Part of it is driven by the enormous federal incentives monies that are generational, this will never ever happen in my lifetime again, and I'm fairly young ish on the younger side, I think. And then there's private capitalists pulling into this. But I think the interesting thing to remember is, there are areas in this country that do not have choice of a provider. Again, we're very blessed. We have many providers in the metro areas, does not exist in the rural areas. So we, as a participant democracy feel GWI feels very strongly to its core, that everybody should have access, that everybody should participate in democracy. So if 60 70% of us are watching content, and that content is video, I can assure you, that will change drastically in the next 10 to 15 years. Because in a state like Maine or Vermont, for example, it is enormous ly expensive to get telemedicine. You'd can't. You can't get doctors out there hospitals are closing. So how does the elderly population mean is, by the way, the second oldest in the country? How does it get access to world class medicine? Telemedicine is the answer but in order to get telemedicine you need infrastructure, or workers for that matter. You know, demographics are shifting young families want to move out of the metro areas into places where they feel they can be safe growing their kids. Well, if they're going to remote work, they need broadband. So you have an enormous cultural change also happening at the same time. If we are to change the paradigm, which is equity, and I know Chris will talk about it. We have to lean in and put a shoulder in all together on equitable terms and get to everybody. That's what GWI does. That's 2000 ISPs doing the country. Those communities those kids, do you know that in my in my city that I in Portland, Maine, during the pandemic, two out of 10 kids didn't get a chance to do their homeworks parking lots in libraries were full, because that's the only place they could get Wi-Fi. That's enormous. So we owe something to our kids that they have access to be able to at least do their homework. So that's those are the things that we tried to do. In the rural areas, rural Alicia areas.
Rural ish. I like that. My, I'd like to ask Chris sort of the other side of the coin here, which is what we call broadband adoption. So there are folks who may have access to a network, they may be able, theoretically to connect. But they are not there are folks who are not streaming is that bad.
It's only bad if they are choosing not to stream because they have the option. Krim talked about the digital divide. And I think you highlighted how it's not just rural, its urban and rural, when it comes to infrastructure, whether there's concerns about redlining, but on the adoption side, that is also across the board, rural urban suburban challenge for closing the digital divide. Either because of affordability, or because of what you know, for years. Pew used to have in their surveys come up as relevance is really people valuing, and knowing what they would do with Robin when they got it. If it's relevant in your life, then you typically want it and there's work to do there. Thankfully, there's a wonderful field that really is growing over the last. Yeah, I feel like I've been aware of it for the last seven or eight years. I know what told him that the folks out there who do digital equity work, the digital equity field, but it's really booming now, in part because of the investment, first time ever federal investment in the digital equity act as a part of the infrastructure package. Before that digital equity works on the ground to help people get connected to broadband, to help people understand when you get broadband, how you can use it to better your lives. That work was largely being funded by philanthropy, and quite frankly, partnerships with ISPs and local communities. And the fact that the federal government invested in digital equity for the first time ever recognizes just how important is to close the digital divide. So those two, those second and third prongs to go with the infrastructure on what drives the digital divide are critically important, the affordability gap, and the adoption gap that's largely driven by that that relevance issue. We have more work to do on this, of course, whether it's figuring out what our long term solution is on affordability, you know, right now we have that the Affordable, affordable connectivity fund or program, the UCP at the FCC, that money will run out probably early next year, we need a long term solution on affordability because well, or else we need a long term solution on poverty, take your pick, I think the easiest solution is figure out a long term solution on affordability. And then I would love to continue to see a long term investment on the digital equity needs. Because as technology grows, and innovates people will need to continue to learn how to use it and connect to it. The cat videos might be the draw. I understand the point about the 65%. But the but I feel like the greatest value is the stuff that comes with it. So you know the standard that we talked about. Com talked about 25 Three as being a minimum standard, the standards that we aspire to that were in the infrastructure bill, were there because once you get the cat once the cat videos bring you in, what does a household need to take full advantage of the technology. And that means while someone's watching cat videos, someone being able to do telemedicine in the same household while someone's teleworking. And their kids watching a cat video, can the kid who has a learning disability have supplemental videos that their school has told them they need to watch to pre teach and reteach a lesson, these are these are things that educators will tell you are very important for supporting students with with additional needs. And so these are the sorts of things that streaming video, while it may not be highlighted, you know, in the 65%, I think are critically important because that streaming video going to our students going to our patients. So So yeah, adoption and understanding the full gamut of what you get with with broadband is critically important.
Thanks, Chris. I want to pivot a little bit now that we have an understanding of what the actual infrastructure is that supports cat videos plus, I'll say let's talk about the content the fun stuff, right? My favorite content these days is Get Ready With Me tiktoks. I'm curious to hear from other folks. We'll get to later what we're watching but, Chris, I'm hoping you could put on your consumer advocate hat here for a second I think you might have already had it on. But if you could Talk to us about the state of play in the streaming market generally and what it means for consumers. Yeah,
I try not to take it off. It's an exciting time, because if you had asked us about a decade ago, consumer advocates were saying that, that consumers did not we did not have the choices that we wanted in the marketplace, even though we we knew streaming was coming, and it was starting to come through a few services. Now we're seeing the reality of what we always want a greater choice for consumers, not full ala carte that many of us had talked about, but closer to ala carte, you don't have to subscribe to every streaming service. Sorry, everyone on streaming service. If someone chooses not to, that's their choice. And yes, they miss out on some content. But that's more of the consumer choice model that we were hoping for. And that's a good thing. You know, I think the fact that I said this to David the other day, that the fact that Comcast, a leader in linear video, has its own streaming service, and as a part of this panel, and part of this mix shows you the shift that we've gone over the last decade. So it's an exciting time. And we hope that those barriers that, that were up there, you know, with a few choices, or having to go through one company to get access to all the content, we hope we hope those stayed down, the more open, the choices are from simmers to the better.
I wanted to follow up with that Karim. On our prep call, you used a really interesting phrase. You talked about access to culture through streaming. I'm wondering if you could share with this group what that means if once your your customers have access to a whole new world of types of people? What what that can look like.
Yeah, thank you. You know, we're all storytellers. Streaming is storytelling. And streaming storytelling, whether it's as a video station live, and I'm watching again, so but you know, it's your town hall meeting, it is being able to access things that you may not have access to, in at least in the Northeast Corridor. The opening of culture is immensely immensely cool to watch. And it's a couple of couple of examples, you can actually watch Turkish soap operas on Netflix, I'm not saying that 654 episodes of air to rule is worthy. However it is there. And I think that's important because, for example, the fastest growing demographic in the state of Maine is actually immigrants. About 9% from the last census data, the same similar in Vermont. And that's if you just think about think about the multiplier effect where people are moving people are coming in the ability of population, the ability of society to see stories that reflect not just themselves, but reflects the other where the other now is not the other but us is immensely important. Let's not, let's not discount that we are seeing each other now, thanks to massive amount of content, the stories, the Ark of the stories now we get to see what those narratives either were or what the new narratives need to be, or can be. So for example, I mean, again, these are these are these are examples, right? So there are new families that move into these areas like the northeast, because they believe it's not just a quality quality of life, but it's also the fact that they can do the things that can actualize themselves as human beings. And you get to do that by reinforcing that through content. My kids, my kids, my kids love learn languages, because they have seen content on screen. They have learned what it means to be in some other dimension that belongs and binds us together to society because of content, whether it's YouTube, Netflix, whatever that is. But the point, the point is that there's a natural communication that did not exist before this. I couldn't call my mother. And I tell her that stuff that I was doing, you know, 25 years ago, because long distance call you to go to the end of a hallway in a college dorm and be able to get time and get a buck 25 to call Turkey, for example, or Pakistan for that matter. Now we take it for granted. That's WhatsApp, there's Viber there's all sorts of things. Content is the same way. It is allowed for frictionless communication across multiple barriers. So it's not just cat videos. It's not even the documentaries. It's not watching Chris Hemsworth climb up a rope like the Almighty for it's the fact that we have stories that now we can create an Share. So there's an economic lever on that now. So think just think of the economic lever on being able to create something that now can be monetized. And you are doing it, you're in charge. And I'll lead you to
Can I jump in on that point? Because, you know, when Kim says that streaming is storytelling, absolutely true from the YouTube experience. And when Chris talks about consumer choice, the other side of that consumer choice is the creator economy. So just to ground ourselves in a few facts there. In the US alone in 2021, YouTube's creative ecosystem contributed $25 billion to the GDP, and supported 425,000 full time jobs. The thing I love about my job is when I tell people I work at YouTube, everybody has a magic of YouTube story, right? My My husband is a self taught woodworker. From YouTube, my daughter learned all about box turtles last week on YouTube, people have fixed their sinks and learn new languages. And the reason that we have that magic of YouTube is because of our creators. Over the last three years, YouTube has paid $50 billion to creators, artists and media companies, many of those small businesses that would not have had an opportunity to exist without the power of a platform like YouTube.
Fabulous, I want to pivot us a little bit and talk about sort of challenging question. And it's not a local content and where local content should and does live. So there are a number of issues here, right, your local town hall, regional sports, local news, public access networks, things that work traditionally over broadcast, that people without the digital know how or the funds to access them, in a modern way, may no longer be able to see. So there are communities where local programming is so immensely important. Does anyone have thoughts on first of all the state of play here, and then solutions? Anyone? We made eye contact, so you, Chris,
I content lives everywhere. And that's exciting. You know, if I just think about my own community, you can, you can watch local government, city council and school board meetings streaming online, and then the content lives on their servers. And that's the magic of the Internet. You can also watch it on cable access if you want to, but, but the Internet has it. And it's archivable and searchable. There there is a community that I love. If you can't tell I'm six foot eight. There's a community of former basketball players in Northern Virginia, high school basketball that that I love and, and they have a YouTube channel with interviews of folks celebrating our community. So great community building created by local community members. user generated content right on YouTube. It that's where I what I think of when I think of the content that that's created locally. It's it's everything that fosters community that connects people, that keeps them informed about what's going on in their neighborhood.
And if I just jump up, someone else want to jump in. Sorry. And just to jump in on this for a minute. I mean, what we're really getting at, I think on the content side is what we've seen, over the last 20 years of what the Internet has done is it's just changing the power dynamic. And it's empowering consumers to make the choices they want. So when you ask a question about community content, consumers get to choose more directly, they don't have to worry about whether the cable company is carrying a particular show, or a community, you know, a council board meeting. And if that council board meeting is at seven o'clock at night or seven o'clock in the morning, to Chris's point, you can get it whenever you want. So what we've done with the Internet, fundamentally where we keep getting back to discussion, everyone in this room already knows. So we'll give you back a few minutes, maybe. But fundamentally, the Internet is empowering consumers to make the choices they want about all content. You talk about the demise of regional sports that's happening in front of us right now. Just like a year ago, we would have been talking about linear television. Definitely. We are losing linear television subscribers every day. And I'm guessing they're losing a lot of public access television subscribers as well. And it's a problem for civic engagement, but the Internet, and then the broadband networks are much more empowering. You get it when you want, you can give that feedback probably more directly. So I think it's all going to work out there'll be some dislocation in the process. But in the end, what you're doing is you're empowering consumers to make the choices they want, instead of sort of these centralized structure We've had for so long.
And maybe just to go back on on empowering storytellers, it used to be that to make a professional movie, or TV show, you effectively have to be in California and Hollywood. Certainly growing up in France, you could see that the French movies are not exactly up to the standard, then for for for Netflix, we have bed very early on to have very local state slate, and empower a very wide variety of storytellers on the service. And so what it means from a technology standpoint is that we have virtualized studio technology, editing technology, VFX technology, so that storytellers around the world have the same capabilities that the Hollywood studio would have. And the same is available in our production hubs in Georgia, New Mexico, New Jersey, for the creators to produce great content anywhere.
Anyone else on this question? Well, for consumers to be able to choose what they want, when they want and how they wanted it really? Sure. It's, as I was saying, for consumers, being able to choose what they want, when they want it, and how they want is empowering, is allowing them to access more than ever before, and giving them new opportunities that they have never had. I feel like we're still kind of in the infancy of seeing what what we get as a result of this. And you were asking, Well, what are some of the hard questions, right that we have to face as we go through these transitions, I put this in the box of a technology transition. And there are government policies that we'll have to wrestle with. David had mentioned, linear video programming subscribers are decreasing. And right now cable companies pay for access to the rights of way to or their networks to local government based upon that revenue. And as that revenue declines, there's nothing necessarily replacing it. And so local governments are going to struggle with that. And we're going to have to figure that out. Right, they have a budget need. But on the other hand, seeing the opportunities that consumers and businesses have to reach and consume, in ways that they've never been able to before, it's worth the struggle to go through the technology transitions, right? That's like this is this is a better situation, we don't have a gatekeeper on content. Like we used to have consumers through these various and there are a number of platforms. It's not just the YouTube platform, right? We have a Vimeo platform, a number of other platforms, right that consumers can choose what they want to use to upload their content and reach their own customers.
I like that framing of thinking about this as a technology transition. And I think, with any technology transition, right, the transition onto the Internet and transition to using email using slack for some of my colleagues, right? These are transitions, and we need to teach folks how to do it and how to use this new tool. I'm hoping folks on the panel may want to weigh in on how do we make onboarding of these new solutions easier for folks? And how do we do it on an iterative basis, right? String is going to keep changing? How do we make sure folks can have access to all the goods? Anyone?
You want to know, please go ahead? Well, one of the things that you GWI does is we have a dedicated group called the stream team that actually helps individuals families, cut the cord. It's a presumption that all of us know how to operate a Roku or a fire stick, or Chromecast, and all that all that stuff. But the American population of 55 and up is still wedded to a universal remote that they don't have to think too much about. But now they are forced in a good way to exercise choice and try to figure out these maryada devices and connectivity. What's a smart TV? How do I download an app? You know, what do I do which remote do I use? So we help them? The other thing is also we know exactly what streaming on what majority population does not if they want to watch you know, Tom Brady come back again, I'm not suggesting he should, but the majority of them majority of Americans think that okay, it's on CBS or whatever, but they don't know that they can get an NFL pass 199 bucks and be able to watch that whenever they want. So they need help. They need a curation of content and curation of access actually. So in order To exercise choice, they need assistance. So ISPs like us, we say, we'll help you. So you tell us what you want to watch how you want to watch it, how much do you want to pay for it. And here is a menu for you to be able to empower yourself with and go discover and come back. And you'll be amazed, you'll be amazed how empowered they feel by doing that. But you have to help them, you have to help them even possibly connect up the devices. So the use of a network, the use of the underpinning of modern civilization increases when people actually participate and do something, it's not enough their roles are available at your best buy outlet for 50 bucks, you have to be able to educate and empower, and in some cases, actually subsidize that so that they can access it. If we are to be a digitally equitable society, if we have to be diverse and inclusive, we have to have the moral, financial and social obligation to lean in and help. Otherwise you have much greater Digital Divide than we ever thought was humanly possible, and then it's too late. So that those are the things that at least we do. And I'm sure Comcast and everybody else has those kinds of forward leaning philosophy.
And I think this is the lesson of COVID. Right? So what we know during COVID is, for those who had the Internet, which is about 80% of our country, the Internet worked, the Internet delivered the internet's what got us through COVID, all of the videos, the work from home, the school from home is the Internet worked. And it was the investment from these companies. Before COVID that made that possible. What we learned is 20% of Americans don't have access to the Internet, and still don't which it's almost shocking when you sit in this room, like how could you not have it? How could you not think it's relevant, as Chris mentioned? And the answer we're coming down to now, I think, is this concept called Digital navigators. You know, we've we at Comcast have been trying to address this problem for a decade with Internet Essentials. We gave it we were selling Internet access for $10 a month, pretty cheap for most Americans can afford it. And yet, there's a there's a cap on the penetration even at $10 a month, there's a cap when it's free. With ACP, we still have two thirds of ACP qualified Americans not taking it. I think it's two thirds or so. So the question is what's going on? Why isn't all of these two thirds of ACP qualified individuals taking it? Why are 20% of Americans not thinking price is a factor. That's what ACP and other subsidies are meant to address. But there's this relevance, there's this fear about viruses and, and all these things that concern us cybersecurity. And the idea now is that we're really advocates for is this concept of digital navigators. And you have to canvass door to door kind of a Crim, saying, and you walk into people's homes, and you talk to them about why they should be subscribed to you know, what are they missing, whether they're missing the content that these guys are creating here, whether they're missing the civic engagement component, right, and, of course, all the working in schooling from home we're all doing these days. So that is what we've got to tackle is getting those 20% connected, it is the social justice issue, I think of our time, at least, technologically speaking,
kind of set up, because we're big supporters of the digital navigators idea. There's, it's, I think, the biggest part of the growing digital equity field. One of the reasons why digital Navigators are successful when done right is because you you bring in people who are in and of the community, to be the digital navigator so that they're trusted on the ground. I know you guys are supporting folks who come from the community, this is especially important in the most marginalized communities like say tribal areas, tribal areas, are the where the digital divide is the greatest. And, and the communities there. And this is just for I've heard from folks, I'm not an expert on tribal areas, but deal with different issues. You know, for example, it's more of a community based society in that area, rather than maybe pure capitalism. And so folks are used to being in a public service or a servant leadership, frame of mind. And so they gather resource together in that way, rather than saying, Oh, we as a tribe will own the broadband provider and charge for service. So these are things that, you know, working with folks in the community, meeting them where they are and talking about the way the best way to deliver broadband to their community is critically important. I'll add one other thing. When Chrome's talking about being forward looking. The digital divide is something we've talked about for decades we can get ahead of it through smart policymaking when we're careful. So for example, if if, if the meta versus what video is now in the future, what are the barriers and do we need policies to do To support not having a digital divide when we get to a full on metaverse, I think of you know, what is the equivalent of public access? Where you could go to a studio and record your own show back in the 80s? When you have a metaverse when you have virtual reality? Is it a? Is it a shared studio where you can record or create in the metaverse your own production? Are we equipping people with equipment? Or are we setting policies that allow you to have equipment that allow folks of all income levels to access the benefits that come with that sort of new technology? One of my colleagues has an idea that, that spectrum policy is incredibly, incredibly important for that, because if you only put out a spectrum, by license, then you miss the opportunity to have connected devices that you can wear, and that are affordable, because they are put out over more shared, or unlicensed spectrum. So these are just some initial ideas that we haven't even begun to wrap our heads around. But we should as folks who care about policy to get ahead of these digital divides. So that we're not just talking about streaming video we're talking about full on immersive technologies.
I want to carry on in that same vein and talk about future proofing. Right. So we hear a lot, particularly with the IAEA and bead funding about creating future proof networks. As video becomes more and more relevant, as David shared 63% of content is video. As we move to 8k televisions, we all have aka televisions in our home. At what point is future proof? Not really future proof? Is there a world where our infrastructure can't keep up with the demands of video? Question for anyone?
Yeah, maybe if I can, if I can jump in here. I think first I mean, there's a couple of distinctions we can make. The first one is that more video or more video quality does not directly linearly, let's say translate into more data. Specifically, why because video is heavily encoded. And this is an area where Netflix also invest significantly to make basically the best quality of image with the least possible amount of data. So in the last five years, for the same quality of streaming, we cut arbitrarily divided the amount of data by to cut the bitrate in half. Just to to give a sense, and I think this will illustrate why Karen was describing this upgrade to fiber as really truly generational. I think it's multigenerational. I think today, 4k video is about 15 megabits megabit per second on Netflix. So if Comcast can offer 10 gig to the home, that's over 600 simultaneous 4k streams into your home. That's a lot of video, where hopefully, I was speaking with the engineers who develop those codecs, we're thinking we'll be able to get to over 1000 1000 concurrent 4k streams on that on a 10 gig connection. So less than 10. Meg's for a 4k stream. And so there's, there's there is a theoretical limit entropy for video compression, but we're not there yet. There's definitely headroom for for future progress. So fiber is definitely, certainly as far as video is concerned, future proof from a generational standpoint. And then the other distinction may be as of course, we have fiber in the last mile. And it's very clear from this panel that we'll need a whole lot of content to attract people to subscribe to more last mile. Beyond the last mile is really the core networks, the heart of the Internet, you know, Netflix is distributed in all those various locations. But you still have those big equipment, those interconnection points where the whole Internet connects Northern Virginia is one of them and then all the various interconnection hubs, there what we see is that even though the amount of data grows generally efficiency in the equipment, the new routers, the new switches, make it so that the growth of data is also sustainable from from from that point of view.
What else I was going to say, similar to Thomas so I am a physicist. Also, the theoretical limit on a fiber optic light exceeds about a petabyte a second, it's going to be a long time before humanity, especially in the residential area feels it needs that but that's the Generate multi generational impact. I'm not sure anything is future proof, but within the limits of physics and human knowledge at the current time, passing like through a fiber optic cable is pretty darn good. So and it just means changing electronics on the head ends and as Moore's Law has shown us and verified things will get cheaper, smaller and much more easier to install. So I,
and we can Yeah, and just adding we can see looking back, right? I mean the coax cable, or the copper twisted pairs, you know, they lasted for decades and generations and fiber optics is way more capable than that.
One of the things that the deployment companies have really been working on in the US is bringing everyone into the conversation about when you're tearing up a street, make sure that you're coordinating and upgrading the facilities. And one of the things that has really been adopted as a best practice is build an extra capacity in the conduit so that if as you need additional fiber, it's cheaper to install that fiber. So you don't have to dig up the streets again to do it.
Great, now I want to ask my question, which is what's everybody streaming these days?
So if I can, if I can start. So one of the perks of being a Netflix employee is that you get to watch shows in advance. Oh, it is also unfortunately, the surest way to get fired in case you leak information. So I will try very hard not to do this. I am super excited. And being also a little bit of a patriotic Frenchman myself, I will give you two hints very excited about murder mystery two upcoming movie with Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston, some of the scenes taking place in Paris, and also super excited about our upcoming drive to survive like document Docu series on Tour de France. That will be on the service very soon. Some of the first images were actually released on the Internet last week, so you can look it up.
Even besides you two cooking videos, watched a few of those yesterday. New teriyaki sauce I found last night. I like American auto, dry, funny, highly recommended. That's all say about it. You can you should see it, see what you think. And it's on peacock and NBC.
Okay, so my staff that's here, it's just going to shoot daggers at me better, because all I do is talk about NCAA women's gymnastics this time of the year. And I guess they care about every meet after the weekend. But I actually subscribe to the big 10 network because I wanted to track Michigan which is number three right now in the US. But I were big LSU family. My daughter is a junior at LSU. She was a former gymnast never made as far to be able to compete in college. So we are rooting for number six LSU to make it all the way to Nationals this year.
I mentioned a couple YouTube creators I'm loving these days. So the first is a channel called home worthy, which is fabulous home tours interior design. I think this came about in COVID when the idea of getting to go to another person's house all of a sudden seemed exotic and wonderful. And then David, you might like this one made with Lao. This is Chinese cooking at home. I think you might like that one. And then I'll also mention I bet some folks in here probably also watch Alison Roman's YouTube channel, a great cook, who's coming out with a new book and she isn't some new content on YouTube. I watch this weekend.
Oh, those are really good. As I mentioned, I'm rewatching station 11 which is possibly the second best TV show ever made after last. So we can have that we can have that conversation. But the one I'm actually really enjoying is the last days of Ptolemy gray, which is by Samuel Jackson one of my favorite actors. It's pretty cool to see Samuel Jackson just just rule the screen. It's just I urge you to watch it it's really cool
because they're much classier than me. Really known to just kind of out yourself like I will No no I watched Love is blind I love that is entertaining television. As well as the Mandalorian Season Three ah, the first one was yes.
I think we have to end the panel there. No, I'm watching The Last of Us on HBO. I call it spooky scary fungus. Although I'm an episode behind so no spoilers please. Thank you all again to our panel. I will not keep folks from coffee. So I think that will be outside but thank you all again for joining us and give it up for