Last week I posted on the Level3 Comcast Netflix dispute. This is where, despite an existing peering arrangement, cable operator Comcast wants to charge Level 3 for carrying Netflix traffic over its network to Comcast customers (hope you followed that one).
Calls have now been made by New America Foundation, Media Access Project and Free Press for the US Authorities to investigate this deal and to consider taking a regulatory position in respect of how such network deals are constructed.
The developing issue is that Comcast, with it’s 16 million cable customers is also a provider of content and that it has notionally been losing customers to alt content provider Netflix. By charging Level 3 additional costs for providing cable customers with access to Netflix content the assertion is that Comcast is potentially harming the market and breaking (unwritten) net neutrality rules.
I’m not commenting here – just reporting. Comcast is pointing to significant cost increases associated with carrying Netflix traffic. This is is going to be an interesting one to follow and the ultimate outcome could well represent a significant milestone in the history of the internet.