Source: Roger Yu / USA Today
Netflix has agreed to pay Comcast to ensure that its movies and TV shows stream more quickly, the latest evidence of a shift in the balance of power in favor of Internet service providers and the likelihood of rising prices for consumers.
Emboldened by a mid-January federal appeals court ruling that eliminated “net neutrality” rules, which had prohibited Internet providers from prioritizing content, Comcast and others cable companies are showing signs they will take a more aggressive stance in how content streams through their “pipes.”
Calling it “a mutually beneficial” agreement, Netflix, whose content accounts for nearly a third of evening Internet traffic, and Comcast, the nation’s largest Internet provider and cable operator, said Sunday the deal will provide Comcast customers “a high-quality Netflix video experience for years to come.” Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Proponents of net neutrality have warned that broadband providers — mostly cable and satellite companies — will seek payment from content providers for quicker streaming without bottlenecks but still favor movies and TV shows made by their own subsidiaries or partner companies. Internet providers’ changing priorities could result in higher fees for consumers as content providers — having to pay to ensure smooth streaming — pass on the cost to end-users.
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