Netflix has reportedly been faster since it started paying Comcast for direct access to its cable network in February, according to the streaming service's speed reports. But will the deal pass on additional costs to consumers?
According to Netflix's February report, Comcast customers streamed Netflix video at an average of 1.68 megabytes per second (Mbps), an improvement of 11 percent from last month, according to CNN Money.
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Netflix said in a statement on Feb. 23 that its deal "will provide Comcast
's U.S. 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," the statement continued.
Prior to the deal, Netflix used third party providers like Cogent Communications to provide streaming services to Comcast customers.
ArsTechica.com reported that the average on Comcast
was above 2Mbps as recently as SeptemberNetflix's 1.68 Mbps, but it had gone down each month until Netflix decided to pay Comcast for a direct connection to its network.
Some industry experts say the deal was a result of a federal appeals court ruling in January, which did away with "net neutrality" rules that prevented internet companies from slowing and speeding up bandwidth for certain customers, according to USA Today.
"We now have an Internet service provider telling content providers that the only way its service can work is if you pay an extra fee," Michael Weinberg, vice president of digital advocacy group Public Knowledge, said. "The Internet service provider is injecting itself into the relationship between Netflix and its customers."
Comcast, along with other cable providers, have long claimed that Netflix unfairly eats up its bandwidth, especially in peak TV viewing hours. During prime time, Netflix can account for as much as a third of Internet traffic.
Comcast, with its 23 million subscribers, is the country's largest Internet service provider. Netflix has more than 44 million members in 41 countries.
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