A PYMNTS Company

US: Comcast uses Netflix deal to aid TWC buyout plans

 |  February 24, 2014

Comcast, which recently revealed plans to acquired Time Warner Cable, has sparked a new round of debate over its landmark agreement made with online streaming service Netflix, say reports, as consumer groups voice concerns over Comcast’s market strength and ability to use its position against smaller rivals.

Reports say just 10 days after Comcast made the announcement of its $45 billion plans to acquire TWC, Netflix said it paid an undisclosed sum to Comcast to ensure quality content delivery by gaining direct access to Comcast’s broadband network.

Comcast confirmed the deal with Netflix, but assured that “no preferential network treatment” would be given to the streaming company.

Financial details of the deal were undisclosed.

Consumer groups and industry watchdogs are reportedly concerned the deal exposes Comcast’s strength over industry rivals.

According to Internet rights lobby group Free Press president Craig Aaron, Comcast’s deal with Netflix appears to be a method for Netflix to assure a constructive relationship with the cable giant before it gets too dominant, and that Comcast likely looked to “silence a major critic” of its proposed merger with TWC ahead of regulatory scrutiny.

Net neutrality

Comcast is held under net neutrality rules that require the company to treat all Internet traffic equally. That is, Netflix streaming must be just as fast as a content streaming from other services, including Comcast-owned Xfinity.

Such net neutrality rules were set in place following Comcast’s merger with NBC Universal in 2011.

That net neutrality agreement expires in 2017, say reports.

Full Content: The Guardian

Want more news? Subscribe to CPI’s free daily newsletter for more headlines and updates on antitrust developments around the world.