We’re not gonna say it was due to this bit of complaining we did 10 days ago, but Netflix and Comcast have reached a deal that will reportedly ensure TV shows and movies are streamed smoothly to customers to both media giants. It’s the first deal Netflix has reached with an Internet service provider, and while this is good news for many, it’s concerning news for all, as it throws some serious Wesson oil on the slope of net neutrality and the principle of all data being treated equally.
But that’s a story for another time. For now, let’s focus on this unusual deal (announced on a Sunday!). Both companies say it will immediately result in better streaming service for existing Netflix/Comcast customers, as well as allow for the expected growth of Netflix streaming users. They also say the arrangement is already paying dividends with faster downloads and better bitrates.
It’s a huge announcement, especially on the heels of Comcast’s proposed purchase of Time Warner Cable. Comcast is the nation’s number-one pay TV and Internet provider, while Netflix has some 33 million U.S. streaming subscribers. There’s been no word on how much Netflix is coughing up here, but odds are that it will leak out soon. For a few years now, both companies have accused each other of needing to step their games up to provide a quality streaming service. Will the costs be passed onto its customers? Will Netflix pay other providers for similar services?
This joint statement is all we have to go on at this point:
Comcast Corporation and Netflix, Inc. today announced a mutually beneficial interconnection agreement that will provide Comcast’s U.S. broadband customers with a high-quality Netflix video experience for years to come. Working collaboratively over many months, the companies have established a more direct connection between Netflix and Comcast, similar to other networks, that’s already delivering an even better user experience to consumers, while also allowing for future growth in Netflix traffic. Netflix receives no preferential network treatment under the multi-year agreement, terms of which are not being disclosed.
HD-Report singled out Comcast recently for its Netflix service (ranking 14th out of 17 ISP companies in Netflix’ own speed test), but it seems like the cable/ISP giant has won this standoff.