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Comcast says Netflix is free to express opinions, but the opinions should be based in fact

Back in February, a deal was reached that would see Comcast acquire Time Warner in a purchase worth $45.2 billion. Before that deal closes, there are a number of regulatory approvals that are needed. As with most major acquisitions, companies come out for and against the deal.
In the case of the TWC/Comcast acquisition, Netflix has come out strongly against the deal. Netflix says that the internet faces a threat from the largest ISPs driving up costs for everyone else as they seek the biggest profits possible.
Netflix wrote, "If the Comcast and Time Warner Cable merger is approved, the combined company’s footprint will pass over 60 percent of U.S. broadband households, after the proposed divestiture, with most of those homes having Comcast as the only option for truly high-speed broadband (>10Mbps). As DSL fades in favor of cable Internet, Comcast could control high-speed broadband to the majority of American homes."
"Comcast is already dominant enough to be able to capture unprecedented fees from transit providers and services such as Netflix. The combined company would possess even more anti-competitive leverage to charge arbitrary interconnection tolls for access to their customers. For this reason, Netflix opposes this merger."
Comcast responded to Netflix's claims writing, "Netflix's opposition to our Time Warner Cable transaction is based on inaccurate claims and arguments."
Comcast and Netflix have a deal in place now that saw Netflix speeds for Comcast customers improve after Netflix and Comcast signed the agreement. Comcast went on to say that Netflix approached it for the deal and that if it doesn't like the terms, there are a number of other companies that Netflix could work with.
Comcast added, "Internet interconnection has nothing to do with net neutrality; it’s all about Netflix wanting to unfairly shift its costs from its customers to all Internet customers, regardless of whether they subscribe to Netflix or not."

Sources: Comcast, Netflix (PDF)

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By BioHazardous on 4/22/2014 9:05:34 AM , Rating: 3
"Internet interconnection has nothing to do with net neutrality; it’s all about Netflix wanting to unfairly shift its costs from its customers to all Internet customers, regardless of whether they subscribe to Netflix or not."

Pretty sure that's what all cable companies do with their Cable TV packages. Make me pay $50 to get the one channel worth watching while subsidizing 200 other channels I don't care about.

RE: Hypocrisy
By Arsynic on 4/22/2014 9:38:06 AM , Rating: 3

We all pay higher cable rates to subsidize niche channels like BET and LGBT channels.

RE: Hypocrisy
By syslog2000 on 4/22/2014 5:51:54 PM , Rating: 2
As much as I despise Comcast and its cable ilk this niche channel bundling is largely not their fault, it is the fault of the content providers like ESPN, Discovery, HBO etc. Especially content providers with real clout like ESPN. They will essentially tell the cable company that they *will* provide the 3 niche channels in addition to their main one.

RE: Hypocrisy
By inperfectdarkness on 4/24/2014 5:19:14 AM , Rating: 2
And what do you think Time Warner is? JUST an ISP? LOL!

TW has a bevy of content in its own right. Vertically integrated companies like TW are extremely bad news for consumers, due to the lack of market competition.

I don't get why anyone could fall for Comcast's arguments. An ISP network is an ISP network--regardless of where the traffic comes from or where it is going to. Netflix may have a big footprint in that traffic pattern, but having the company pay MORE for it is unethical.

And it won't stop there. At the end of this rabbit hole is an internet sales model where individual end-users are each subjected to tiered pricing in order to access the content that each ones (or worse, the ABILITY to access said content at all).

And yet the GOP still opposes Net Neutrality...only to wonder why it remains so unpopular.

RE: Hypocrisy
By AntiM on 4/22/2014 10:40:31 AM , Rating: 5
All I know is that this merger is NOT good for the American consumer. Everyone on the planet knows this. But somehow, through hook and crook, bribery and treachery, this deal will more than likely be approved.

RE: Hypocrisy
By extide on 4/23/2014 2:22:13 PM , Rating: 2
100% agree with this guy. UGH!

RE: Hypocrisy
By Flunk on 4/22/2014 11:11:18 AM , Rating: 2
I like how they want to be paid by everyone along the way, their customers, the companies their customers request data from, their ISPs. The greed is ridiculous and it's all because the technology is too new for anyone on the supreme court to understand it in even a cursory way.

If Comcast is providing internet access to their customers that includes the bandwidth used to stream the data their customers have requested back to them, it's that simple.

Long live the DSL !
By Dr of crap on 4/22/14, Rating: 0
RE: Long live the DSL !
By Rukkian on 4/22/2014 11:04:39 AM , Rating: 2
I much prefer dsl, but in many places, the speed is just not there. Where I live, Centurylink will only offer 12m/758k or 20m/768k, which is just not enough for my wife to work from home, as the uplink makes voip work like crap.

We had to switch to cable (for an extra 5/month intro rate, going to 20/month in a year) just because they wont up the speed on dsl.

My brother lived in the same city as me, and less than 1 mile away, and dsl offered 40m/20m for $10 less per month due to it being on fiber.

I think DSL is a better technology if the companies would just get off their arses and get the speed up to a comparable level - doesn't even need to the same speed, as ping times are typically much better on DSL.

Mergers like this will only make matters worse, as there will be less competition.

RE: Long live the DSL !
By Jonwww on 4/22/2014 2:45:42 PM , Rating: 2
DSL is an older & limited technology. I believe what you're saying is good is Fios or some variation of that, completely different technology. Only similarity is that they're both offered from the company.

RE: Long live the DSL !
By Dr of crap on 4/23/2014 12:52:14 PM , Rating: 2
Nope DSL fiber optic line - 20mps - at a reduced rate from my provider - $30. And it does all I ask of it at the present time. I can also upgrade to 40mps, so there room for expansion if I need.

Go ahead and pay Comcast's higher rate.
As I said DSL for me thanks.

RE: Long live the DSL !
By wempa on 4/23/2014 4:17:53 PM , Rating: 2

Has DSL technology improved much over the years ? Back when I researched it, you had to be within a few miles of the CO to get any halfway decent speed. I was living in a place that was 5 miles away and the best they could do was like 192K/192K (if I remember correctly). It definitely wasn't worth it for me.

Future billing
By siconik on 4/22/2014 10:22:30 AM , Rating: 4
ISP should just cut to the chase:

Future Comcast Bill:
- 20Mb-down/3Mb-up: $49.99
- "Wait, you actually want to use that bandwidth?" surcharge: $39.99

RE: Future billing
By Flunk on 4/22/2014 11:13:38 AM , Rating: 2
My current ISP offers a 175/175Mbps fiber connection... with a 300GB/month bandwidth limit. Paying for everything twice seems to be the way of the future.

RE: Future billing
By Solandri on 4/22/2014 5:10:44 PM , Rating: 2
Bandwidth caps are just hard-coding the fact that you're paying for partial (shared) bandwidth. 300 GB at 175 Mbps represents 3.9 hours of downloads at full speed, or 1/190th of a month. So you're paying for 1/190th of a full 175 Mbps connection.

An OC-3 gives 155 Mbps, and costs about $15,000/mo - $40,000/mo. I'm gonna go out on a limb and guess that you're paying a bit more than 1/190th that for your 175 Mbps connection, or about $95/mo - $240/mo? That's exactly why you have a 300 GB/mo bandwidth cap - because you're only paying about 1/190th what a dedicated 175 Mbps connection would cost.

By iworkforisp on 4/22/2014 9:53:50 PM , Rating: 4
I keep seeing people repeat the same incorrect points over and over again everywhere but nobody ever corrects those points.

If Netflix connects directly to Comcast they will not be double billed by both Comcast and their ISP. They would bypass paying their ISP and pay Comcast instead.

Once they send their data directly to Comcast bypassing their ISP how would their ISP even measure their direct communication let alone bill them for it?

Next up, as long as the fee being charged for the direct connection is reasonable it's a win win situation for both Netflix, ISP's, and Customers. Netflix saved money by not paying their ISP, the ISP's get at least something in exchange for providing the connectivity directly, and customers get faster speeds.

Lastly, I don't work for Comcast but I am fairly certain Comcast was not throttling Netflix traffic. I believe Comcast offered a paid peering agreement to expand connectivity with the CDN that was carrying Netflix traffic and the CDN did not want to agree to buying any new ports which was responsible for the congestion. I believe like Netflix they wanted the connectivity completely free.

Netflix does seem to be trying to avoid paying any more at all to deliver their traffic and using net neutrality as their excuse but Net Neutrality is not about demanding a free ride and getting it.

It is NOT illegal nor should it be for an Internet Service Provider to charge for use of that service. The only people who actually believe that have a limited understanding of the situation and Netflix is willfully benefiting from that ignorance and helping to spread it. Net Neutrality is a serious matter and doesn't need Netflix hijacking it to sling FUD for financial gain. I can't believe no major tech bloggers have called Netflix out for this but I suspect people close enough to know what's really happening are also too close to speak openly on the matter.

With that said, I don't want to see the TWC/Comcast merger happen either.

By SAN-Man on 4/22/2014 9:19:17 AM , Rating: 2
I quit all services from Time Warner earlier this year - and have 15/3 internet service from the local phone company now.

The two worst companies in the US deserve each other.

By Reclaimer77 on 4/22/14, Rating: -1
RE: Argh!
By BRB29 on 4/22/2014 9:12:12 AM , Rating: 5
Netflix is an online service.

I pay for high bandwidth internet service so i can enjoy online services like netflix. Else, why would I need 50mbps connection?

Now the ISP wants to double dip and charge netflix.

The ISP's main function is to provide internet service at the speed they advertised!!! not whatever they feel like giving me.

This is shady business to the core. It should not be legal.

RE: Argh!
By Mitch101 on 4/22/2014 10:05:03 AM , Rating: 2
I'm not sure how they get away with this. Cable clearly advertise a better internet experience if you purchase a higher speed internet connection when they are throttling the service at the other end.

I would like to know when the someone is going to address the $15.00 fee I have to pay because Im not a Cable Subscriber. How is this fee legal if they are in 3 service offerings?

Time Warner and Comcast are in 3 business areas. Phone, Internet, and cable. Because I don't subscribe to cable I have to pay a fee for a service I'm not interested in getting from them? How is it they are able to expand their service offerings and force you to pay for one you may not have an interest in getting from them?

Cable is still a localized Monopoly for many its not like you have a choice. How is this still legal today when phone companies had to give up their localized monopolies ages ago?

RE: Argh!
By Rukkian on 4/22/2014 11:12:20 AM , Rating: 1
While I don't like the charge, I also see nothing wrong with it. It is not really a charge, it is a discount if you buy more stuff from them. That is common in many businesses. You buy more from somebody, you can get a discount.

RE: Argh!
By Mitch101 on 4/22/2014 2:49:02 PM , Rating: 2
I could see a line fee of maybe $3.99 but $180.00 a year is theft. It was also labeled as a Non-Subscriber Fee. AT&T doesn't fine me $15.00 a month if I don't subscribe to U-Verse.

RE: Argh!
By Dr of crap on 4/22/2014 9:36:26 AM , Rating: 2
Netflix offers a service. There are a lot of sites that offer a service. ISPs, just like cell phone providers, want all the customers that they can get, but if you actually want to use that service as you want then they will restrict your ability to use that service!

Talk about not backing your claims up with data, just Comcast stated Netflix didn't have with its objection to the merger.

RE: Argh!
By Jonwww on 4/22/2014 2:41:02 PM , Rating: 2
Talk about not backing your claims up with data, just Comcast stated Netflix didn't have with its objection to the merger.

I think Comcast said that Netflix didn't have an objection to the arrangement between Netflix & Comcast for the data issue (mainly because Netflix wasn't really left with any choice but to pay the money), not the merger.

RE: Argh!
By Lonyo on 4/22/2014 9:43:43 AM , Rating: 2
And what are Comcast trying to do? They already charge customers and their customers account for ALL FO THE TRAFFIC USED. The simple fact is they want to pass the cost of delivering bandwidth onto the customer. And then they want to pass the cost of delivering bandwidth onto the services the customer is trying to access.

If the ISP can't deliver the bandwidth they promised to their users, maybe the problem is with how much they are charging their customers for their internet access. If they didn't forsee that high bandwidth products would be highly sought after by the customers they were trying to attract with high speed internet products... then who knows what they were trying to do.

The burden is already on customers. The ISPs are just trying to make sure it stays off them by charging both ends, the customer and provider.

RE: Argh!
By Lonyo on 4/22/2014 9:47:46 AM , Rating: 2
Also, it's services like Netflix that make people want Comcast's more expensive higher speed products. Lose Netflix and maybe fewer people would want Comcast, but Comcast want to both charge one of the main drivers of their products while also charging the people who want their internet service for that product. And they are getting away with it as well.

Comcast offer NOTHING beyond being the only way for some people to get high speed internet. Netflix is why people want Comcast's high speed internet. Cut off all of the high bandwidth services, suddenly no one needs a high bandwidth internet connection... so suddenly no one wants to use Comcast and they will settle for their lower bandwidth DSL or other available service.

Comcast need Netflix as much as Netflix needs Comcast. That's why Comcast are trying to make sure Netflix needs them more by having a near monopoly in many areas and the majority of the US high speed internet network coverage.
Hence why Netflix have a problem with it.

RE: Argh!
By drlumen on 4/22/2014 12:03:42 PM , Rating: 1
Apparently, you don't realize that Netflix also has an ISP and they pay through the nose for bandwidth. The fact that they are having to now pay Comcasty/TWC is like paying protection money to a bunch of goombas.

Comcast/TWC is not below twisting their arm to make a point.

But, this is ok with you?

RE: Argh!
By kamk44 on 4/22/2014 12:36:50 PM , Rating: 2
Netflix is paying Comcast to a) bypass the ISP arrangement and dump their data directly into the backbone and b) help pay for the hardware and maintenance to ensure their huge amount of traffic makes it to the consumer in a timely fashion. The arrangement is good for both Netflix and Comcast and good for those that do not subscribe to Netflix. As for Netflix's argument that the merger is bad I can see their point. The larger a company is and the more control they have the harder they are to reasonably deal with. At least if the two are kept separate and if they work together to keep contract prices high then they can be hauled into court.

RE: Argh!
By Jonwww on 4/22/2014 2:33:31 PM , Rating: 2
The arrangement is good for both Netflix and Comcast and good for those that do not subscribe to Netflix

The arrangement is really only good for the Comcast shareholders. If they hadn't been throttling Netflix's data in the first place Netflix wouldn't have to pay the extra money.

I don't recall Netflix needing this arrangement with any other ISPs? And as others have already said, the speeds were corrected way to fast for Comcast to have done any kind of upgrades like they said were needed, enough time to un-throttle them, yes. Granted Comcast is the largest one but if their system is as great as they claim there should be no issues with all that data.

RE: Argh!
By kamk44 on 4/22/2014 4:35:39 PM , Rating: 2
The part that cuts out out third party vendors and essentially makes Comcast Netflix's ISP by letting them hook directly to CC's backbone is good for Netflix customers who are also Comcast customers (of which I am one). Why pay someone like Level 3 who is maxed out and causing a bottle neck when you can just pay Comcast and give them the data directly? As for the second part, which is where "extra money" comes in, I agree that Comcast strong armed Netflix by unnecessarily throttling Netflix data...but the underlying issue is still there. Who should bear the burden of paying for infrastructure when a few companies/sites are responsible for a large portion of the data? Comcast and the backbone providers? That is really saying everyone since the costs will be passed on. How about Netflix and it's users? The solution appears to be somewhere in between.

RE: Argh!
By KFZ on 4/22/2014 12:40:41 PM , Rating: 2
So Netflix ponied up money to CC and one week later there are reports that service performance has improved dramatically. One week, when CC has cried wolf from its straw house infrastructure.

There's no way enterprise upgrades have rolled in that amount of time. CC is a swindler and ideally it's time the feds to investigate. Forget the merger, it's time to kick doors down.

RE: Argh!
By kamk44 on 4/22/2014 12:55:27 PM , Rating: 1
That's because a major bottleneck was removed now that Netflix can put their data straight into Comcast's lines without using a third party. Also because Comcast stopped throttling Netflix data which they should never have done to begin with (not that they care about net neutrality).

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