Netflix attacks ‘toll taking’ from ISPs, warns against Comcast merger

NetflixBuilding4Netflix has reiterated its opposition to the merger of US cable giants Comcast and Time Warner Cable by arguing that a merged entity could place “toll taking” on content providers above the interests of consumers.

In a blog posting, Netlfix’s vice-president of content delivery, Ken Florance, said that Netflix’s deal to pay for access to Comcast’s network was not comparable to the charges it paid to global CDN providers as Comcast did not offer transit services to other networks but was effectively charging Netflix for access to to to its subscribers.

“Comcast is double dipping by getting both its subscribers and internet content providers to pay for access to each other,” said Florance.

Florance said that a competitive transit market could not ensure access to Comcast’s network because to reach consumers CDNs and transit providers had to hand over their traffic to Comcast, a terminating ISP that faced no competition.

“Netflix agreed to pay Comcast for direct interconnection to reverse an unacceptable decline in our members’ video experience on the Comcast network,” said Florance.

“These members were experiencing poor streaming quality because Comcast allowed its links to Internet transit providers like Level3, XO, Cogent and Tata to clog up, slowing delivery of movies and TV shows to Netflix users.”

He said that Netflix did not pay fees for access to other ISPs in the US and elsewhere, and used its own Open Connect CDN to interconnect with ISPs.

“In fact, Netflix has a mutually beneficial relationship with nearly every ISP in every market where we provide service. But this is less the case for the largest ISP in the US, Comcast, which is trying to become even larger by acquiring Time Warner Cable,” he said.