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
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.