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Netflix forges agreement with Comcast to end video speed throttling

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.



By Electronista Staff
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Comments

  1. prl99

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: 03-24-09

    The Internet was supposed to be an open, non-controlled way for people to get information. Of course, that never was going to happen as long as for-profit companies were involved. The only way around this would be for the government to take over the government but that would be socialism and our capitalistic money grabbers just won't let that happen (just like affordable medical access for everyone). I have two choices where I live, Comcast and Frontier, but Frontier (Verizon sold out to them a couple years ago) doesn't have their fiber in my area. In other words, Comcast is a monopoly that the DOJ won't address.

  1. phillymjs

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 06-19-00

    What happened to the agreement that Comcast would not hinder internet traffic going over their pipes until 2018, one of the concessions they agreed to in order to be allowed to buy NBC Universal? Last I checked, it was still 2014. It would seem to me that this agreement is solid evidence that Comcast violated the terms of the earlier agreement.

  1. chas_m

    MacNN Staff

    Joined: 08-04-01

    This agreement is essentially Comcast's admitting that it was illegally throttling Netflix in an anti-competitive move to favor its own PPV services. The net neutrality guidelines were in place until VERY recently, and Comcast was clearly -- by their own admission -- flouting them in a blackmail effort to get Netflix to pay them for preferred access.

    If I was a Comcast customer, I'd sue them. If I were the DOJ, I'd spend more time investigating stuff like this. Sadly, I'm not.

  1. driven

    Addicted to MacNN

    Joined: 05-08-01

    @chas_m, except that it's not illegal anymore. The court struck down the FCC regulation that said it was.

  1. chas_m

    MacNN Staff

    Joined: 08-04-01

    driven: acknowledged, but it was in force at the time that this throttling occurred (I believe).

  1. Grendelmon

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: 12-26-07

    Originally Posted by chas_mView Post

    This agreement is essentially Comcast's admitting that it was illegally throttling Netflix in an anti-competitive move to favor its own PPV services. The net neutrality guidelines were in place until VERY recently, and Comcast was clearly -- by their own admission -- flouting them in a blackmail effort to get Netflix to pay them for preferred access.

    If I was a Comcast customer, I'd sue them. If I were the DOJ, I'd spend more time investigating stuff like this. Sadly, I'm not.



    While I'd like to agree with you, there is no evidence anywhere, let alone any news report ANYWHERE that says this is the case. You are just speculating. The agreement indicates no proof of anything, other than Netflix just got screwed. But then again, their customers have been for several months now.

    Netflix is paying Comcast for direct connection to network | Ars Technica

    P.S. When are you guys going to fix the dang URL bug for the aritcle forums?

  1. chefpastry

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: 11-14-05

    The people at Netflix who agreed to this are morons. This sets a bad precedent. What will stop other ISPs from doing the same and to other internet related services? Eventually, all of it will trickle back down to the consumers and we will all have to pay.

  1. Sukoshi

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 08-19-09

    "It has been suggested that the slow down can be attributed to the load that Netflix puts on providers..."

    That suggestion has only come from Comcast, and other ISPs, and it is, of course, ridiculous. Unfortunately, I have Comcast, and when I go to speed test, I have 50 Mbps. Go right to Hulu, and the stream stutters and re-buffers. Go right to Netflix, and I get the lowest quality stream fed to me. Go right back to speed test, 50 Mbps. Another unfortunate thing, is in the Great Land of America, I have no choice in ISPs, nor reasonable pricing.

  1. jdonahoe

    Junior Member

    Joined: 07-05-06

    I initially thought this would be a good thing, but then I remembered all the Comcast shills saying Netflix should pay because they hogged the internet and was COSTING Comcast. Never mind that Comcast started limiting people to 300GB a month, which a family of four can eat up pretty quick and were already paying upwards of $50 a month for. Never mind that the US pays close to the most for internet service. Other countries have fiber to the house.

    So now Comcast gets a pound of flesh from Netflix and their own subscribers. It's a win-win for Comcast, dirty b@#$%^s.

  1. Flying Meat

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: 01-25-07

    This will impose an excessive barrier to entry for most startups, protecting the big boys.

  1. auto_immune

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: 05-29-08

    According to the article I read at arstechnica, Netflix has agreed to pay Comcast for a direct connection, which is not the same as paying for access to the network.

    The story noted that "Netflix had been sending traffic primarily through Cogent, and then said that "Comcast presented Netflix with more attractive deal terms than the operator had been offering," suggesting that Comcast either bettered Cogent's pricing or lowered its previous demands."

    Netflix is paying Comcast for direct connection to network | Ars Technica

  1. Grendelmon

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: 12-26-07

    Originally Posted by auto_immuneView Post

    According to the article I read at arstechnica, Netflix has agreed to pay Comcast for a direct connection, which is not the same as paying for access to the network.

    The story noted that "Netflix had been sending traffic primarily through Cogent, and then said that "Comcast presented Netflix with more attractive deal terms than the operator had been offering," suggesting that Comcast either bettered Cogent's pricing or lowered its previous demands."

    Netflix is paying Comcast for direct connection to network | Ars Technica



    You are correct, auto_immune.

    The only thing that has happened is that Netflix has less hops to Comcast for their content delivery. And it has nothing to do with this article's erroneous title of "throttling".

  1. EstaNightshift

    MacNN Staff

    Joined: 07-19-12

    The Netflix speed dropped after the Supreme Court struck down key provisions of Net Neutrality.

    More traffic from Netflix and super-congested networks all of a sudden, coincidentally, the day after the ruling? I don't think so.

  1. auto_immune

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: 05-29-08

    Originally Posted by GrendelmonView Post

    You are correct, auto_immune.

    The only thing that has happened is that Netflix has less hops to Comcast for their content delivery. And it has nothing to do with this article's erroneous title of "throttling".



    Yeah, like every post in every thread on this forum is directly related to the thread title - you are being a bit pedantic there, don't you think? :p

    Anyway, my post WAS relative to your post (Feb 24, 2014, 04:27 AM). You claim Netflix got screwed, but (using your own words) "there is no evidence anywhere, let alone any news report ANYWHERE that says this is the case".

    My information is from a reputable source, and reports that Netflix got a better deal from Comcast for a direct connection than they were paying Cogent to relay the data - less hops AND lower price. Quite the opposite of getting screwed.

    Also, not a bad precedent, bad deal, or bad anything.

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