Netflix has reached a deal with Comcast, the USA’s largest ISP, to “established a more direct connection” between their networks.
The terms of the agreement, including whether and how much Netflix has agreed to pay Comcast, have not been disclosed, although some commentators refer to the deal as a “paid peering” arrangement.
The new arrangement follows the release of data showing a drop in Netflix streaming performance to Comcast and Verizon customers over the past three to four months. Cogent, a major transit provider for Netflix, and Verizon have been widely reported as being in a bitter dispute over whether Cogent should pay Verizon for accepting Netflix traffic.
Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam welcomed the news, confirming that he was in direct negotiations with Netflix and expressing confidence that he could persuade Netflix to pay for access to Verizon’s network.
The deal has prompted some concern among network neutrality advocates, who are already up in arms over Comcast’s planned acquisition of Time Warner Cable. However, the networks have stated that “Netflix receives no preferential network treatment under the ...agreement”.
Comcast Corporation and Netflix, Inc. today announced a mutually beneficial interconnection agreement that will provide Comcast’s US broadband customers with a high-quality Netflix video experience for years to come. Working collaboratively over many months, the companies have established a more direct connection between Netflix and Comcast, similar to other networks, 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 of which are not being disclosed.
— Comcast/Netflix joint press release
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