Dial Zero
A look at what's surprising, silly, scary or stupid in telecommunications and data

Monday, February 24, 2014

Netflix and Comcast do a deal for better streaming

Without FCC-imposed "Net Neutrality," Netflix and Comcast have established a more direct connection that’s already delivering an "even better user experience to consumers," while also allowing for future growth in Netflix traffic. Netflix receives no preferential network treatment under the multi-year agreement.

Terms were not disclosed, but the Wall Street Journal said that Netflix will pay Comcast for the speedy service. Reuters said this deal will "
open the possibility that more content companies will have to shell out for better service."

According to NPR, "Netflix had 33 million U.S. streaming subscribers at the start of the year and accounts for about one third of all traffic at peak times on the Internet, according to research firm Sandvine. As the video steaming company has grown, Internet service providers like Comcast have pushed the company for more structured deals to enable its content to be transmitted smoothly and reduce the strain on their networks. Netflix is already experimenting with different rate plans that charge slightly more for households that want to stream its shows and movies on four different screens simultaneously. Comcast was ranked as the 14th fastest Internet service provider in January, according to a table on Netflix's website. By connecting directly to Comcast's network, Netflix should be able to boost the quality and speed of its video streaming as it adds more customers and prepares to start streaming its content in the ultra high definition format this spring. Other large Internet companies such as Google already pay broadband providers a fee to enable more direct connections. Comcast is the nation's number-one pay TV and Internet provider under its XFINITY brand. The company said earlier this month that it had agreed to acquire Time Warner Cable for $42.5 billion in stock."

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