Comcast tries to charge fee to Level Three; net neutrality and Netflix

Ok, so here’s the deal – Comcast, whom we all love dearly, has decided they want to charge Level 3, the company that helps stream Netflix, to deliver content to their own customers.  Wait, what?  Yup.  Check it:

On November 19, 2010, Comcast informed Level 3 that, for the first time, it will demand a recurring fee from Level 3 to transmit Internet online movies and other content to Comcast’s customers who request such content. By taking this action, Comcast is effectively putting up a toll booth at the borders of its broadband Internet access network, enabling it to unilaterally decide how much to charge for content which competes with its own cable TV and Xfinity delivered content. This action by Comcast threatens the open Internet and is a clear abuse of the dominant control that Comcast exerts in broadband access markets as the nation’s largest cable provider.

Grasping straws are we, Comcast?  This is kind of the opposite of what we were worried about when the whole net neutrality debate started, but it’s equally disturbing.

Yesterday Level 3, rightfully so in my opinion, lodged a complaint with the FCC.  The FCC, basically, wants more facts on the matter.  When the net neutrality debate started, we were worried our internet providers would charge us extra for content.  Here they are charging other providers because they are “seeking to burden it (Comcast) with extra Internet traffic without compensation”.  That’s a direct quote.  Make no mistake, this is a direct threat to net neutrality and the open internet.  The next few days and weeks would be a nice time to start paying attention, it you’re not already,  as the FCC plans to finalize the net neutrality proposal.

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