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Netflix: Comcast is charging us for access to our subscribers

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.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

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. 


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