updated 09:53 am EDT, Wed August 20, 2014
Deal marks fourth major deal with Internet service providers
Netflix has signed a new peering deal, this time with Time Warner Cable. The deal now gives the video streamer interconnection deals with Internet service providers that cover about 68 percent of all the broadband customers in the US. Notably, the 32 percent it doesn't have deals with are smaller providers - largely carriers that have pro-net neutrality views, and haven't been found to limit or slow down Netflix traffic for users.
"Time Warner Cable reached an agreement with Netflix in June, and we began the interconnection between our networks this month," confirmed Netflix in a brief statement about the deal. Terms of the deal were not made public.
The deal mirrors similar peering arrangements Netflix has with Comcast, AT&T, and Verizon. The concept of these deals is currently being investigated by the US Federal Communications Commission in parallel with the chairman's net neutrality "fast lane" proposal, which seems to codify such deals.
Ironically, the deals - which critics have referred to as blackmail by the carriers - have had limited success in alleviating congestion between some of the networks. While a deal signed with Comcast nearly immediately improved the experience for users, an arrangement with Verizon didn't help matters much, and some users continue to see a poor video stream quality.
Comcast says that the company "welcomes this review, which will allow the commission full transparency into the entire Internet backbone ecosystem and enable full education as to how this market works." It is unclear as to whom Comcast wants to educate, presumably the public -- as Chairman Wheeler is a veteran of the cable industry and, indeed, a former lobbyist for it. Comcast and Time Warner Cable are in the process of a merger, and it is unknown what effect the merger will have on the signed deals, or Netflix speed overall.