updated 02:40 pm EST, Sun February 23, 2014
Content streaming company to have direct access to ISP network
In a report from the Wall Street Journal, Netflix has entered into an agreement with Comcast to end throttling of bandwidth by the provider. Netflix customers have been plagued by declining streams since an appeals court ruled the FCC's net neutrality rules were invalid. The move comes as a surprise as the FCC is currently working on new strategies to keep the companies from treating internet traffic in an unfair manner. Netflix has agreed to pay Comcast an undisclosed sum in order to have a direct link to the ISP.
The agreement outlines the connections from Comcast to Netflix's servers at third party data centers. Netflix had reportedly requested that their servers be placed within Comcast's data centers in order to take advantage of video caching. Previously Netflix had been using third parties such as Cogent to deliver a large part of their data to Comcast for a peering connection to video streams.
Comcast hasn't been the only company that has been suffering connection issues to Netflix since the ruling either. Verizon and AT&T customers have seen a decline in service levels as well. It has been suggested that the slow down can be attributed to the load that Netflix puts on providers, but also that it could be a hold out for more money from bandwidth or content providers. Third party providers like Cogent and Level 3 had previously taken stances not to pay providers like Verizon and Comcast for delivered traffic.
By making an agreement with Comcast, Netflix sets a dangerous precedent in paying for a premium connection for their customers. More internet providers may be stepping up to request compensation in the near future. How much such agreements will cost the streaming company, and how much of it may be passed on to customers, has yet to be seen. However, Netflix has already stated that its "operation could be adversely impacted" if it could not interconnect with providers through its Open Connect initiative.