Netflix adds Time Warner Cable to its pay-for-faster-play list

Now there are four major ISPs being paid by Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) to speed its over-the-top streaming video to subscribers. Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC) has signed an interconnection agreement with the SVOD service, similar to Netflix's earlier deals with AT&T (NYSE: T), Verizon (NYSE: VZ) and Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA).

"We reached an agreement with Time Warner Cable in June and began the interconnection between our networks this month," Netflix stated tersely in a brief press release.

Time Warner Cable confirmed the agreement as well, but neither side provided further details about the deal other than to say that the implementation is ongoing.

Of course, Netflix has complained somewhat bitterly about having to sign interconnection deals that give its traffic preferential treatment on ISPs' last-mile networks. It filed comments with the FCC in July and, according to a second filing, met with FCC officials on July 28.

"By endorsing the concept of paid prioritization, as well as ambiguous enforcement standards and processes, the commission's proposed rules arguably turn the objective of Internet openness on its head--allowing the Internet to look more like a closed platform, such as a cable television service, rather than an open and innovative platform driven by consumers and the virtuous circle," Netflix said in its 28-page July comments.

Netflix wants the FCC to apply Title II regulations from the Telecommunications Act of 1996 in its Open Internet rules.

In comments filed July 30, Netflix compared a subscriber's request for OTT content to a telephone call on a plain old telephone system: the caller--in this analogy, the subscriber--pays for the phone call, no matter who does most of the talking. A "terminating access monopoly" (e.g. the last-mile provider) charging an additional access fee wouldn't be allowed under telecom regulations. Therefore, Netflix said, "The Open Internet rules must ban such demands for payment."

Despite apparently resigning itself to making these interconnection deals, Netflix and its customers haven't all seen improvements in their video stream. The provider was involved throughout the summer in a much-publicized, blog-based spat with Verizon, after Netflix streaming speeds over its FiOS network failed to improve--and in fact fell, on average.

Verizon FiOS ranked twelfth on Netflix's July speed index, averaging 1.61 Mbps when it came to streaming the SVOD service's videos. That's the same spot it held in June, after sliding from tenth place in May and from eighth place in April.

Verizon said that Netflix, and its transit providers Level 3 and Cogent, were trying to route its traffic through peering points that weren't able to handle large amounts of streaming data. Netflix denied that this was the case.

The two companies are working out their connection issues, Verizon said a few weeks ago, albeit in a less public environment.

Meanwhile, it's clear that despite what Netflix says about paid peering and its apparent evil, the company is still taking a lead role in the pay-for-play game.

Netflix July 2014 speed index

Netflix's July speed index shows Verizon and Comcast's speeds unchanged from June. (Source: Netflix blog)

For more:
- GigaOm has this story

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