Comcast, Netflix reach interconnection deal

The agreement comes after Netflix publicly released data showing a decrease in streaming speeds to broadband customers

Comcast and Netflix have agreed to a multiyear deal that will speed streams from the video service to Comcast's U.S. broadband customers.

The deal was confirmed by the companies Sunday, but details were not provided.

"Working collaboratively over many months, the companies have established a more direct connection between Netflix and Comcast, similar to other networks, thats already delivering an even better user experience to consumers, while also allowing for future growth in Netflix traffic," the statement from the companies said. "Netflix receives no preferential network treatment under the multi-year agreement, terms of which are not being disclosed."

However, The Wall Street Journal cited anonymous sources in a report Sunday that Netflix is paying Comcast as part of the deal, which follows the public release of data from Netflix showing that video-streaming performance via Comcast and Verizon had been dropping. Streaming speeds from Netflix to Comcast fell 27 percent since October of last year, according to the data from Netflix.

Netflix had also asked that Comcast connect to the Netflix network free, but according to the Journal, Comcast wanted to be paid because of the heavy traffic load that Netlix customers would bring to the broadband operator's network. Under terms of the deal, Netflix won't be allowed to put its service in Comcast data centers, but will have to connect to Netflix servers at centers operated by other companies, the Journal reported.

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings sought the deal to keep streaming speeds to Comcast customers from becoming a bigger problem, the Journal said, citing "people familiar with the situation."

Neflix had been relying on Cogent Communications as a conduit for its "primary" route to the Comcast network, but "the connection was starting to become overwhelmed with Netflix traffic, congesting traffic and leading to slower Netflix streams for Comcast Internet users," the Journal reported.

The agreement between Netflix and Comcast could pave the way for additional deals between the streaming service and other U.S. broadband providers, sources told the Journal.

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Nancy Weil

IDG News Service
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