Netflix Paying Comcast for More “Direct Access” to Customers
Well, it looks like the first internet service provider to blink on net neutrality isn’t Verizon but Comcast. Comcast announced a deal with Netflix that allows Comcast customers more direct access to Netflix servers. However, the Wall Street Journal reports that Netflix is paying for that more direct access to their customers.
The speed of Netflix streaming on various ISPs has become a major story on tech sites over the last week. Conveniently enough, that also coincides with the release of the second season of Netflix’s signature original series, House of Cards. A recent report by research group BTIG shows that Netflix streaming speeds for both Comcast and Verizon had been dropping over recent months. Time Warner Cable and Charter have seen speeds remain steady but with a Comcast/TWC merger being mulled, who knows if Time Warner customers will be able to enjoy Netflix much longer.
For their part, Comcast says that Netflix “receives no preferential network treatment” under the terms of this agreement. It is said to be a literally more direct connection between Comcast and Netflix through the internet that allows for faster speeds.
This is sort of what people were worrying about with the death of net neutrality. Granted, the concerns were that the ISPs would charge the customers directly for access rather than charging the websites to get to the customers. The issue now becomes if this gets so common that the websites pass on charges to customers with higher subscription rates or more ads. It’s the same thing but the charges come from someone other than the ISP on behalf of the ISP.