Netflix and Comcast have reached an agreement set to smooth out the streaming of Netflix content to the cable company’s customers. Comcast customers have been reporting poor streaming quality and slow load times for Netflix over the past few months. This agreement settles a dispute between the two that included accusations of throttled traffic.
Netflix has agreed to pay Comcast for direct access to its broadband network, the agreement was reveled in a joint announcement that did not disclose the terms of the deal.
Comcast and Netflix today announced a mutually beneficial interconnection agreement that 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. Netflix receives no preferential network treatment under the multi-year agreement, terms of which are not being disclosed.
The two companies have been in a locked dispute over the cost of delivering Netflix streams over Comcast’s network for years. Previously Netflix went through intermediaries to deliver its streams, now with the “paid peering” deal Netflix will be allowed to connect directly to Comcast’s network. While Netflix has wanted to directly connect to the network for free the cable company sought compensation due to the huge volume of traffic that Netflix customers create (30 percent of all U.S. broadband traffic).
In recent months the dispute had been elevated when Comcast customers saw that their connections to Netflix had been degraded, resulting in poor streaming quality. Netflix then released data last month showing that the average Netflix streaming speed had declined 27 percent since October, bringing in claims of throttled traffic. Other providers such as AT&T and Verizon have also denied Netflix direct access to their networks, so this deal will likely foster similar agreements with these providers.
Although the two companies are saying that Netflix is not receiving any special treatment there is a growing concern that this deal may be a setback to Net neutrality, which aims to prevent broadband providers from discriminating against internet traffic traveling over their connections.
Written By: Sam Watkinson