Netflix: Comcast is charging us for access to our subscribers

Netflix: Comcast is charging us for access to our subscribers

Summary: Netflix is paying Comcast but not happy about it as it ramps the war of words over net neutrality and last mile tolls. Comcast responds and says Netflix degraded its own traffic.

TOPICS: Networking

Netflix's war of words with Comcast over net neutrality, paying for a fast lane on the Internet and the fees it's forking over to stream its content is picking up.

Earlier this week, Netflix, which agreed to pay Comcast fees to improve service to joint customers, said it was opposed to the cable giant's purchase of Time Warner Cable. Comcast fired back and said Netflix didn't have its facts right. Toss in Federal Communication Commission comments about how it'll approach its so called Open Internet rules and there are more than a few moving parts.

netflix isps


Welcome to round 2. In a blog post, Netflix's Ken Florance, vice president of content delivery, made the case against tolls from the likes of Comcast again.

The key points:

  • Netflix paid Comcast for direct interconnection to improve service.
  • These fees were required because Comcast "allowed its links to Internet transit providers like Level3, XO, Cogent, and Tata to clog up, slowing delivery of movies and TV shows to Netflix users."
  • Comcast isn't carrying Netflix traffic over long distances, but is serving as a roadblock.
  • "Comcast is not charging Netflix for transit service. It is charging Netflix for access to its subscribers. Comcast also charges its subscribers for access to Internet content providers like Netflix. In this way, Comcast is double dipping by getting both its subscribers and Internet content providers to pay for access to each other."

Netflix's argument is likely to be echoed by Amazon. Amazon's video streaming service has slowed to a crawl on Verizon FioS, my cable provider.

Comcast fired back with its own blog post:

As we and other industry observers have already noted, Netflix’s decision to reroute its Internet traffic was all about improving Netflix’s business model. While it’s understandable for Netflix to try to make all Internet users pay for its costs of doing business (as opposed to just their customers), the company should at least be honest about its cost-shifting strategy. 


Topic: Networking

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  • I don't get it

    Netflix pays for Internet backbone access. Comcast customers pay for Internet backbone access.

    Asking for more money for traffic from Netflix through to these subscribers seems entirely unwarranted on that basis alone: all of the traffic has already been paid for.

    Why hasn't Comcast simply been tried, convicted, and "put in prison" (corporations are people, right?) for this robbery already?

    Obviously we have a bought and paid for legal system since they weren't smacked down on this. We all know what's going on here: Comcast is worried that its overpriced cable TV monopoly is under competitive challenge.
    • Because they can

      A lot of politicians have decided that net neutrality is not something the US government should enforce. This is one of the consequences. Perhaps you should find out what your US Senators and Representatives think about this.
      John L. Ries
    • Not impressed, Netflix.

      I'm kind of the mindset here that if Netflix needs FASTER SPEEDS to offer it's own service to broadband customers, it could definitely help Comcast out by buying a shovel and helping to build the network Netflix wants.
      donald duck 313
      • How is that applicable?

        Comcast is responsible for providing bandwidth to its customers. Does it really matter what a Comcast customer accesses over the internet?

        In your view it seems like you think Comcast should be able to not only charge Netflix a fee to help build their network, but every other internet content provider as well.

        If Comcast can slow down traffic from Netflix to force them to pay more then they can do it to anyone.
    • Thats the reason....

      Thats the should support internet service providers like,cablevision optimum services,and others internet have the choice to switch.give the fingers to verizon,comcast and the others ISP`s.NETFLIX pay to have their services pay YOUR ISP.TO Provide the service to you.with cablevision the minimun speed is 15mbit why netflix has to pay for something that you and they pay already???? this is all have OPTIONS.let then kill thenselves.
  • Seriously Unethical

    This is a really serious thing that's going on! Why the hell isn't there a law against what is happening? Making Netflix pay money in order for customers to get better service in my opinion is immoral, unethical and in my book illegal (although its not, yet).
    Pollo Pazzo
    • Well, Netflix isn't telling the whole truth.

      Netflix is leaving one key piece of information out, and that is this-

      HD content is just fine. Netflix is paying to deliver Ultra-HD content (commonly known as 2K and 4K) This Ultra-HD stream requires double the bandwidth for reliable, non-buffered delivery.

      Netflix negotiated a long-term contract for 2K and 4K content. It didn't have to; but it wanted to ensure its service wasn't rendered obsolete when the new TV sets hit the market.
      donald duck 313
  • Hypothetically

    Allowing Netflix UNLIMITED bandwidth at all times could have an impact on the speed of the network for other uses, right?

    (This is actually a serious question, not a defense of one side or the other)
    luke mayson
    • It would only be "unlimited" if COMCAST customers use it...

      If there were no customers then it wouldn't matter WHAT bandwidth Netflix could have.

      Comcast is charging Netflix for the bandwidth that COMCAST customers are trying to use... Thus double dipping.
      • Not Asking About Ethics

        Only about network performance. Nothing about money or laws or anything like that.
        luke mayson
        • Well, when Comcast explicitly slows Netflixs traffic

          It is usually called extortion.

          The network is already there. The bandwidth is already there. Comcast already has users.

          What difference does it make to Comcast WHERE those users want to go? If Comcast needs more bandwidth to satisfy its customers, then Comcast needs to upgrade its networks.

          Just that Comcast wants to extort more money.

          It would be a different story if Netflix needed more bandwidth and couldn't get it from its ISP. In that case Netflix could then get an ADDITIONAL connections to other ISPs. At that point, Netflix is a customer of those ISPs, and is paying for its bandwidth to those ISPs.

          I believe that is the path Google took - and Google does need the bandwidth.
  • Comcast bait and switch...

    So Comcast advertises incredibly fast internet speeds and uses this marketing to drum up more business.
    Yet when customers actually try to use the bandwidth they've been promised and paid for, Comcast balks and blames Netflix.
    So, basically, Comcast does not provide the service customers paid for.
    If you have another choice, why on earth would you stay with Comcast?
  • You got what you paid for

    I bet If I took a snapshot of any you whiners who claim you are not getting the bandwidth you paid for with I bet I find your claims unfounded. You are promise speed to the last mile not to particular website. It is like buying a Porsche 911 Carrera and complain you not getting the 179 mph speed you are promised because you only drive it during rush hour in Los Angeles. The problem is when you and 10,000+ are tiring to access Netflix at the same time . You are exceeding infrastructure of the backbone. If Netflix limited video to 360p or limited the number of users to 1000 there would not be a problem.
    Now when the highways are congested, municipalities are turning to making HOV lanes into pay lanes; the drive can uses the congested general purpose lanes or pay a little extra for a fast less congested lane. This is no difference what Comcast is doing with congestion cased by streaming.
    Netflix is acting spoiled brat expect telecoms and cable to build out and foot the bill for the congestion netflix is causing. Netflix need a time out.
    • No....

      No, They need to invest on their networks to HANDLE the traffic.with cablevision they can,why concast CAN NOT ??? if you sell unlimited internet service @ 25mbit @ $40.that means you can download any data type unlimited.
      and with cablevision:
      RCN 110 Mbps High-Speed Internet @ 49,95 (NO CONTRACT)
      i`ts all about i said in the other post,let then (verizon,Concast) kill thenselves.
      • why we can not edit,post pic or videos here o ZDNET?

        why we can not edit,post pic or videos here o ZDNET?
        comcast with m not n.