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Broadband

by Karl Bode


Filed Under:
acquisition, deals, fcc, interconnection, peering

Companies:
charter, netflix



Netflix Now Supports Charter Merger After ISP Promises Not To Screw Up The Internet...For A Measly Three Years

from the promises-with-expiration-dates dept

Charter Communications is desperately trying to avoid the same fate that befell Comcast's doomed acquisition of Time Warner Cable. As noted recently, Charter hired long-standing net neutrality advocate Marvin Ammori to craft its promise to adhere to (most) of the FCC's new net neutrality rules for three years, regardless of whether the rules are overturned in court. Charter's also promising to avoid the implementation of usage caps and overages during that same time period, something most ISPs are hungrily eyeing in order to protect legacy TV revenues from Internet video.

But Charter's also now taking things one step further. In a new filing with the FCC, Charter declares the company will avoid screwing up the Internet for a whopping total of three years, and provide free interconnection to any large content or transit provider that adheres to certain traffic load and point of presence (POP) criteria. Three years obviously will go by in a flash, and the laundry list of criteria is long, giving Charter ample room (like any good merger condition) to wiggle over, under and around a notable chunk of the promise.

Still, the promising was enough to make Netflix happy, the company stating in their own filing with the FCC that getting free interconnection for three years was enough for them to be willing to sign off on the industry's latest mega-merger:
"This new policy and the commitment to apply it across the ‘New Charter’ footprint is a substantial public-interest benefit and will support scaling the Internet to meet consumers’ growing demand for online services and help foster continued innovation across the Internet ecosystem. Accordingly, Netflix supports the proposed Charter Time Warner Cable transaction if it incorporates the merger condition proposed by Charter."
If you recall, Netflix and transit operators have spent the last two years accusing last mile ISPs of intentionally letting transit points degrade in order to kill settlement-free peering and force Netflix into costly new direct interconnection deals. The problem is since both sides keep these business deals aggressively private, there hasn't been enough hard data to prove it (even though we're getting closer). Regardless, the mere threat of real net neutrality rules (you remember, the rules that were supposed to destroy the Internet) appear to have put the kibosh on a large chunk of this ugly infighting.

Needless to say, Netflix's approval appears to have come relatively cheap, but real consumer advocates I've spoken to are far from impressed with the three year window on any of Charter's promises, even with Ammori's involvement. As such they're pushing hard to either have the condition length extended significantly (five years or higher) or blocked altogether, since promising to play nice isn't worth all that much if your promise has an expiration date. It's worth reminding readers that while Charter's whispering sweet nothings in the ears of regulators and Netflix, it's simultaneously suing to destroy the FCC's new neutrality rules, ensuring that there's no mechanism in place to police Charter once the promised window for good behavior closes.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Jul 2015 @ 10:33am

    > If you recall, Netflix and transit operators have spent the last two years accusing last mile ISPs of intentionally letting transit points degrade in order to kill settlement-free peering and force Netflix into costly new direct interconnection deals

    Yeah, while signing those expensive deals in secret anyway.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Karl Bode (profile), 16 Jul 2015 @ 11:10am

      Re:

      Sure, though Netflix claims they needed to pay because they were starting to lose customers:

      http://recode.net/2014/08/27/the-netflix-case-against-comcast-in-one-chart/

      "Now, in his FCC statement, Florance says that Netflix’s Comcast customers noticed, and complained, and in some cases quit paying for Netflix.

      “For many [Comcast] subscribers, the bitrate was so poor that Netflix’s streaming video service became unusable,” he writes, then notes that Comcast reps eventually told subscribers to take their beef to Netflix. “Those customers complained to Netflix and some of them canceled their Netflix subscription on the spot, citing the unacceptable quality of Netflix’s video streams and Netflix’s inability to do anything to change the situation.”

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Not a name, 16 Jul 2015 @ 11:08am

    I wouldn't be surprised if Netflix supported more of these deals...it may cost them a bit more, but with so many new streaming services popping up, it will be more of a burden on these competitors that don't have the resources Netflix does.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    techflaws (profile), 16 Jul 2015 @ 12:13pm

    Snd Netflix's opinion is relevant because...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 16 Jul 2015 @ 5:25pm

    An empty promise and $5 will get you a cup of coffee

    Any company that feels it needs to 'promise' to behave(for a set amount of time at that) is doing nothing less than admitting that they absolutely plan on acting badly the second they feel they can get away with it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    dr evel, 16 Jul 2015 @ 6:05pm

    cummon netflix

    change your transmission method to allow complete or mostly complete downloading on the receiving end. Heck, even peer to peer to allow the signal to come in from multiple locations (read: impossible to throttle, since no idea where they are coming from in advance) oh, and quit knuckling under to the ISPs. and oh again, note that Amazon is starting to have more things available to stream then you do....

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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