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FCC looking into Internet peering complaints from Netflix, consumers

Grant Gross | June 16, 2014
The U.S. Federal Communications Commission is looking into complaints from Netflix and some Internet backbone providers that several large broadband providers have been refusing for years to upgrade their backbone connections as a way to slow video traffic that competes with their own services.

The FCC is not suggesting that any one company is at fault, Wheeler said. "But George has gone to the heart of the matter: What is going on and what can the FCC do on behalf of consumers?" he added. "Consumers pay their ISP and they pay content providers like Hulu, Netflix or Amazon. Then when they don't get good service they wonder what is going on."

Netflix applauded Wheeler's request for more information. "We welcome the FCC's efforts to bring more transparency in this area," spokesman Joris Evers said by email. "Americans deserve to get the speed and quality of Internet access they pay for."

Verizon urged the FCC to refrain from regulating the peering arrangements. "Internet traffic exchange has always been handled through commercial agreements," spokesman Ed McFadden said by email. "This has worked well for the Internet ecosystem and consumers. We are hopeful that policy makers will recognize this fact and that the Internet will continue to be the engine of growth of the global economy."

Comcast welcomes the FCC's attention on peering arrangements, the company said in a statement.

"Internet traffic exchange on the backbone is part of ensuring that bits flow freely and efficiently and all actors across the system have a shared responsibility to preserve the smooth functioning and highly competitive backbone interconnection market," the company said. "We welcome this review, which will allow the commission full transparency into the entire Internet backbone ecosystem and enable full education as to how this market works."

 

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