In what had been a standoff
-- one in which subscribers of both companies were caught in the crossfire -- Netflix was the first to blink by agreeing to pay the ISP for faster speeds. The two media giants inked a multi-year deal that should ensure less buffering and higher quality Netflix streams to Comcast subscribers.
Customer complaints from Comcast subscribers regarding poor quality Netflix streams during peak hours reached a fever pitch in recent weeks. Anecdotal evidence around the web suggested Comcast was throttling Netflix traffic. It was an issue of which company should be paying for the increased demand for bandwidth, though some also surmised Comcast was using the recent net neutrality ruling in its favor to prevent subscribers from ditching cable TV service in favor of Netflix.
Image Source: Netflix
According to a report in the Los Angeles Times
, Comcast has agreed to treat all online traffic equally as part of the deal with Netflix, meaning it will no longer throttle traffic and give its own video preferential treatment. The deal is said to run through 2017 and would apply to Time Warner Cable
if the merger goes through.
Subscribers will benefit from this deal in the short term, though it's a complicated issue. Some analysts believe Netflix will ultimately pass on the cost of the deal to its subscribers. In addition, Netflix just set a dangerous precedent by giving in to Comcast's demands and paying a fee to have its traffic treated equally.