Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.
For 30 million Americans, binge-watching just got a whole lot easier. Comcast, the country's largest Internet provider, has reached an agreement with Netflix, in which the online video service will pay Comcast for direct access to its customers. That means that the choppiness and pauses that have been reported by Netflix subscribers over recent months will be a thing of the past.
Some observers believe that the deal might change the landscape of the Internet forever. In the past, content providers have not had to pay for access to a broadband provider's customers. But, with Netflix responsible for almost 30% of all Internet traffic during peak hours, broadband behemoths like Comcast have gained leverage over services like Netflix.
The deal raises questions about what is known as "net neutrality," the principle that Internet providers should treat all online data equally. In a joint statement, the companies said, “Netflix receives no preferential network treatment under the multiyear agreement.” Details of the deal were not released, but it's believed to include yearly payments by Netflix of millions of dollars.
Some fear that the added chunk of change to Netflix's annual budget might mean increased fees for users. It might also mean lower budgets for the company's many original series. Season three of House of Cards for example, is expected to be shot with an iPhone camera and set entirely in Kevin Spacey's basement. Damn you, Comcast. Damn you. (The Verge)