In this week's "wouldya look at that" category, Comcast's ranking on the monthly Netflix Speed Index rose yet again, climbing from No. 4 to No. 3 in average streaming speeds among major U.S. Internet service providers for April. The MSO's ranking leapt from its near-basement ranking of 11 th place after signing a peering deal with the online video service in late February.
Add the number 1 to Netflix subscription prices, no matter which country you're in: the subscription video on demand (SVOD) provider confirmed that it will raise rates by $1 in the United States, £1 in the United Kingdom, and €1 in the European Union countries it currently serves.
Don't turn attention away from older viewers just yet: Over the top viewing by seniors over 55 is continuing to swing upward, a Centris report says, with subscriptions to services like Netflix increasing from 18 to 24 percent of 55-to-64-year-olds in the fourth quarter of 2013.
DVR pioneer TiVo stands out in the burgeoning device space because its subscribers can get "everything" on a single device, CEO Tom Rogers told investors at a Miami conference, including online video content in the wake of TiVo's recent deals with cable operators including Suddenlink and Grande Communications to provide access to Netflix through their set-top boxes.
Level 3 Communications, a major wholesale provider to content companies like Netflix, has accused five unnamed U.S. ISPs and one European ISP of abusing their market power to effectively put a limit on the amount of traffic the transit provider can route over these ISPs' last mile networks.
Netflix appears to be working its way down the list of top ISPs in ensuring it can deliver directly to its subscribers over their networks. AT&T Chief Technology Officer John Donovan, during a Brookings Institution panel discussion, said the carrier is "in discussions with Netflix" regarding an arrangement that is likely similar to deals the online video provider struck this month with Comcast and Verizon.
The FCC's still-unseen "Open Internet" proposed rules that represent the agency's third try to craft net neutrality regulations have come under enormous criticism even before they've been formally unveiled. Media reports have suggested that the FCC would allow ISPs to create "fast lanes" for content companies willing to pay, subject to a still-nebulous "commercially reasonable" standard. Consumer advocates fear that would undercut a core principle of net neutrality--that users should get equal access to all content regardless of where it comes from--and that it could stifle innovation and increase costs for consumers.
It's easy to feel somewhat torn by Netflix's recent moves to pay Comcast and now Verizon for better access to their broadband subscribers. On one hand, as a FiOS subscriber, I should see better quality video and fewer buffering messages when binging on MST3K and catching up on Walking Dead. On the other hand, as a concerned citizen, I should be really, really worried about the precedent Netflix is setting just as the FCC completes its third revision of net neutrality rules.
Netflix has signed a new interconnection agreement with Verizon in an effort to improve the experience it can provide to users that leverage the service provider's fiber to the home (FTTH) network for access to the streaming video service.
Netflix has stepped up the argument in favour of 'strong net neutrality', even as it negotiates connectivy deals with ISPs on both sides of the Atlantic to ensure decent services for its end-users. It's a war of words that will continue, and there is clearly a great deal at stake for both sides. However, beyond the commercial bun fights over who should pay and how, much more needs to be clarified; the devil with net neutrality is in the detail.