It hasn’t been a good year for net neutrality. Following a D.C district court decision that severely weakened the traffic equity provisions of a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) law, Internet providers gained the ability to charge more for services and programs that consume more bandwidth. Following that ruling, the harbinger of deals to come was struck on Feb. 23, with video provider and noted bandwidth hog Netflix signing a deal with Internet service provider Comcast to improve the speed its service receives.
According to the press release, the deal has been in the works for many months, and while the press release associated with it was short on details and financials, it does say that the deal will be multi-year and will not give Netflix preferential treatment over any other information on its infrastructure.
That being said, according to a Bloomberg article, a party close to the matter has stated that the deal will cost Netflix, “millions of dollars annually to deliver its content more efficiently.”
Consumer advocates are concerned that partnerships between content creators and Internet service providers will inevitably find their way to consumers. While the FCC has stated that it will not seek to repeal the decision of the DC District court that shot down the original net neutrality rules, but rather strive to make newer, stronger regulations.
The Netflix deal also comes as Comcast is currently in the process of acquiring Time Warner Cable, which would combine the two single largest cable providers in North America, and give them possession of a vast majority of the internet infrastructure in the United States.
For more on net neutrality and communication check out these stories: