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BREAKING: Netflix Under Attack

BREAKING: Netflix Under Attack

Just as FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski is set to announce this week whether or not the agency will fulfill President Obama’s pledge to protect the open Internet and codify Net Neutrality, comes news that underscores just how critical this issue is. 

According to the New York Times, Level 3 Communications, which helps deliver Netflix’s streaming movie service, accused Comcast of demanding a new fee that puts Internet video companies at a competitive disadvantage.  Level 3 compared the new fee to an online tollbooth that penalizes consumers who choose to access movies and video programming through avenues other than traditional cable providers. 

That means that Comcast customers who chose to stream video through Netflix will be charged a fee for a service that has traditionally been free of charge should they chose to watch video online.  Comcast levied the fee with little ability for Netflix to do anything other than agree.  The result would be an increase in Netflix fees an  The option, according to reports, was that Comcast would block the streaming video entirely.

According to Thomas C. Stortz, chief legal officer for Level 3, Comcast’s actions “demonstrate the risk of a ‘closed’ Internet where a retail broadband Internet access provider decides whether and how their subscribers interact with content.”

While this is definitely bad news for consumers, it may be just what was necessary to get the FCC to act on the Net Neutrality issue.  It certainly demonstrates immediate overreach by Comcast and there is no reason to think other cable providers won’t follow suit.

In the meantime, public interest groups have increased calls to the FCC to stop this type of abuse.  You can join in those calls and help keep the Internet free and open to all.

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photo courtesy of Mr. Thomas via Flickr

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39 comments

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7:23AM PDT on Jun 17, 2011

I got rid of Comcast a long time ago. I have much better service and no issues with Verizon Fios, for a much lower monthly payment.

12:54PM PST on Dec 26, 2010

Thanks for the article...

3:44PM PST on Dec 11, 2010

you can vote with your dollars all you want and Comcast won't care...the company that will be penalized will be netflix....the real problem is one of monopolies...by charging more/different/additional fees, Comcast is in control of the monopoly and who will get to view what on which system...obviously...their greed is showing and they are flexing their corporate "i am god" muscles....if the feds don't step in and stop it...we will all be stuck and comcast will be calling the shots and setting the prices with no competition.....if you really want to harm comcast...i'd suggest dumping their stocks you own...but then that would require that a lot of people dump their stocks...and there will be those among us who are greedy enough to buy those stocks....and comcast still wins...

11:59AM PST on Dec 3, 2010

I have Comcast and don't really like it. But have limited choices. But if I'm charged more for Netflix I will change internet providers. If everyone does the same thing, Comcast will get a clear message that customers WILL vote with dollars.

Anyway, That's my two cents.

3:16PM PST on Dec 2, 2010

Ugh! Net neutrality please! How could comcast even get it in their skulls to think about doing this to their customers?

7:23AM PST on Dec 2, 2010

Once again the government and legislature siding with the area of business that already makes the most money (and can therefore buy off the most judges/politicians.

Is this really a surprise to anyone? Come on now. This is not news, this is how governments work these days. If you have the money, they will pass the laws for you.

1:27AM PST on Dec 2, 2010

I think Comcast needs to be broken up like AT&T was years ago. Too big for their own good....

11:43PM PST on Dec 1, 2010

I don't like comcast but I surely do like netflix. I pay enough already. Just do the right thing and give us Net neutrality.

6:37PM PST on Dec 1, 2010

To Edward Craig. Why support Netflix? It's the principle of the matter. If Comcast can start charging their customers a fee to watch Netflix, then what will stop Comcast from charging for other websites that you may want to look at. Will they start charging you to get on AOL, YAHOO, Expedia, WebMD, Wikipeddia, etc? Very possible if they get away with this one.

2:59PM PST on Dec 1, 2010

All part of denying certain people access to news and information.

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