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Netflix Tech Partner Accuses Comcast of Putting Up Toll Booth'




Level 3 Communications, a technology service provider whose clients include Netflix, is accusing broadband and cable company Comcast of threatening the open Internet by demanding a recurring fee for transmitting movies and other content to consumers. Thomas Stortz, chief legal officer for Level 3, said Comcast notified Level 3 Nov. 19 that its demand for payment was take it or leave it. Level 3 agreed to the terms, under protest. By taking this action, Comcast is effectively putting up a toll booth at the borders of its broadband Internet access network, enabling it to unilaterally decide how much to charge for content which competes with its own cable TV and Xfinity delivered content, Stortz said. This action by Comcast threatens the open Internet and is a clear abuse of the dominant control that Comcast exerts in broadband access markets as the nation's largest cable provider. A request for comment was not immediately returned by Comcast. Level 3 operates a broadband backbone network that independent online content providers use to transmit movies, games and sporting events to consumers. When Comcast customers order content, Level 3 transmits it to Comcast for delivery.


For links and more stories visit the new Streaming Media section at HomeToys.com
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by HopefulFred /forum/post/19570622


Am I wrong to interpret this as a clear violation of a net neutrality policy? or maybe net neutrality is a concept only applicable to public consumers...

It seems to me it is.
 

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Unbelievable.

Netflix should refuse and see how many people will leave Comcast because of its inability to provide access to viable internet resource. "Initiatives" like that should be killed when they just appear. It would be clear reason to switch to another internet provider for me.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Victor /forum/post/19572140


Unbelievable.

Netflix should refuse and see how many people will leave Comcast because of its inability to provide access to viable internet resource. "Initiatives" like that should be killed when they just appear. It would be clear reason to switch to another internet provider for me.


I would love to switch from Comcast to some other provider... the only problem is the only other thing around is crappy DSL.


So Comcast is charging Netflix directly? Does that mean we are going to end up with another price hike from Netflix?


I understand why Comcast is doing this, many customers don't want or need the cable service since they have streaming options. I only purchase Internet services from Comcast, no TV, no phone. Netflix is the only service provider with reasonable rates. Comcast costs $70 a month for Internet, AT&T costs around $200 a month for two phones and Netflix is still less than $20 a month.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by ComputerCowboy /forum/post/19572638


I would love to switch from Comcast to some other provider... the only problem is the only other thing around is crappy DSL.


So Comcast is charging Netflix directly? Does that mean we are going to end up with another price hike from Netflix?

I just got an email a few days ago from Netflix stating they were raising their monthly subscription prices by a buck or two. But they are also going to offer an instant streaming sub only (no physical discs mailed) for half that cost.
 

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Its easy to jump on comcast for this one, but after I looked into it more, i dont think thats the case. This issue is alot more complicated then these news headlines are letting on.



Level 3 and Comcast have had a peering agreement. This essentially means that they share each others pipes in order for both of their customers to get the smoothest online experience. With the levels of traffic in the past, this was a roughly equal sharing agreement. Level 3 - on average - carried the same amount of data for Comcast as Comcast carried for Level 3. This does not include data traveling from Level 3's network to users on Concasts Network and vice versa. It only includes pipe cross-national (and in some cases international) pipe sharing.


So something must be different now.


Netflix signed on with Level 3 for all their bandwidth needs. Seeing that Netflix now uses roughly 25% of the worlds domestic internet bandwidth, this dramatically increased Level 3's traffic usage, and tipped the scales on the peering agreement with Comcast. Suddenly Comcast was carrying much more of Level 3's data than Level 3 was carrying for Comcast. Again, this does not include data originating from Netflix and going to home Comcast users, but simply the sharing of their large long distance pipes.


Comcast thought this wasn't fair, and demanded that Level 3 pay for the difference in bandwidth usage in the sharing agreement. Seems reasonable enough.



So yeah, this isnt about blocking Netflix or charging the consumer something more to access such services. It seems to me that its an attempt by L3 to co-op the Net Neutrality fever to use against Comcast.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by trooper11 /forum/post/19573920


So yeah, this isnt about blocking Netflix or charging the consumer something more to access such services. It seems to me that its an attempt by L3 to co-op the Net Neutrality fever to use against Comcast.

I see what you're saying, but why does the article say that they want L3 to pay for the bandwidth used by streaming movies on their network? Do you figure that's creative writing or isn't it a discrimination of one kind of internet traffic over another?


For the record, I am a generally (not happy about bandwidth caps) very satisfied internet-only customer of Comcast, in a market where AT&T is the only real competition.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by HopefulFred /forum/post/19574128


I see what you're saying, but why does the article say that they want L3 to pay for the bandwidth used by streaming movies on their network? Do you figure that's creative writing or isn't it a discrimination of one kind of internet traffic over another?


For the record, I am a generally (not happy about bandwidth caps) very satisfied internet-only customer of Comcast, in a market where AT&T is the only real competition.

well i dont see any direct quotes in the article that have Comcast saying that. it seems to me its the assumption of the journalist based on what L3 is saying.


the reason i buy that its not becuase of Netflix specifically is becuase i have a feeling comcast would be trying to renegotiate this regardless of what was causing the uptick in bandwidth L3 is pushing over Comcast's pipes. It just happens that Netflix is the source.


Comcast doesnt feel that they should take on a much bigger load on their pipes (versus what L3 takes on their pipes for Comcast) for free.
 

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As with anything that involves more expense, the consumer will eventually feel the pain at some point on the food chain. This is likely a good indication of what the future holds .. as CATV subscriptions decline due to easy availability of streaming, the lost revenue will attempt to be made up somehow ..


Unfortunately for the consumer, the ISP's hold a pretty strong lock on that business, so there are little is any alternatives ..


And here I thought that streaming would eventually cut my cable cost ..
 

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part of the issue is also that netflix is a direct competitor to VOD services offered by comcast, which is where the net neutrality debate picks up.


if comcast is an information service, it has no obligation to carry a competitor's data on their network, nor to essentially backstop the netflix business model by providing the means to deliver their product or service at their own expense. it's unlikely the FCC will characterize comcast as a common carrier.


Level 3 was too agressive in their pursuit of netflix's bandwidth business, without considering the implications in their peering agreements, and now they're hoping to make this a "comcast hates netflix" issue, rather than a "massive disparity in traffic sharing" issue.


analysts have been warning for weeks now, and moreso since the streaming-only option was offered, that netflix was going to hit a brick wall as soon as the cable and fiber companies realized that they were subsidizing the netflix business model with their bandwidth and infrastructure at essentially no cost to netflix or its partners.


what this means to customers is, either Level 3 eats the cost (unlikely), netflix is forced to raise their prices (also unlikely), or comcast and the other providers will not only raise their rates, but institute caps and tiered service plans (most likely), since this is what they've wanted to do for quite awhile now but could never find a scapegoat or sacrificial lamb to offer up to their subscribers as the 'enemy'.


that's my take on it, at least. they tried to convince us that torrent traffic was the enemy, but nobody bought it, and that led to the whole net neutrality discussion. now they have netflix, and that might work for them.


one way or the other, consumers will pay more at some point in this food chain.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by trooper11 /forum/post/19573920


Seeing that Netflix now uses roughly 25% of the worlds domestic internet bandwidth

Unfortunately, whats going to end up happening is a volume cap similar to European internet plans. Prices will go down for casual surfers, and way up for high volume users.


Netflix doesnt really want this, and the carriers dont either. Even more grossly abusive, is the fact that your 5% top users are using a 30-40% share of the local traffic in an area. If not higher. Its coming, and its going to suck if you use the net for large files.
 

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yeah this pretty much flies in the face of open/net-neutrality if I'm reading it correctly. Of course there's always more to the story, but I hope the proper authority steps in before it goes too far.
 

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Sorry Folks Net Nuetrality has been dead since April 2010... http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...040600742.html ... look who the ruling was in favor of.


Netflix is the first target in Comcast's newest business model. Don't think for a minute this is about set top boxes vs online streaming this is about Comcast developing an entirely new market for revenue and Level 3 is the first customer.


Next Comcast will set it's sights on all those peering with them including Google, Facebook, Akamai, AT&T, Qwest, etc. If you want to peer with us, you'll pay is the model and it has nothing to do with end users.
 

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If I'm paying Comcast for up to 250 GB of data per month, why should I have to pay again if that data comes from Netflix rather than Hulu?


The FCC really needs to deny Comcast's proposed takeover of NBC Universal.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by hcben00 /forum/post/19575873


If you want to peer with us, you'll pay is the model and it has nothing to do with end users.

I'm afraid it will have end result costs for end users ..
 

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Nearly every broadband connection in the US is controlled by a company that also delivers TV signals to homes. And on top of that they own a ton of media content this all adds up to a monopoly on broadband content to the consumer. Don't ever expect these companies to give up their death grip on the control of media to the home.


Useful Interent TV is nothing more then a dream.
 
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