According to a reports from a number of credible sources, it looks as though Comcast has had just about enough of streaming content providers, or more to the point, Netflix. Back on November 19th, the company, which is no stranger to bullying high-bandwidth users, informed Level 3 Communications--the contractor responsible for making Netflix’s streaming magic happen--that they would be forced to pay a toll for the privilege of being able to transmit content to end-users on their network. The broad strokes of the story are that Level 3 gave into Comcast’s demands in order to ensure uninterrupted Netflix service to the millions of Comcast users who rely upon the streaming service for the few hours of media-enabled escapism that their day affords. However, looking deeper into the issue, the Devil is most certainly in the details.
During their third quarter earnings conference held by Comcast yesterday, it was revealed that the company's fortunes were looking pretty rosy: Revenue has increased by 7%, operating cash flow and income had gone up and best of all, the was reportedly sitting on $1 billion in cash. With things running so smoothly, you'd think it would be business as usual and cable boxes for everyone. According to the company's CEO, this won't be the case for long. Comcast has seen the future of content delivery, and for them at least, it's a future that belongs to devices like the iPad.
It’s been framed as a fight for freedom but Net Neutrality is really a battle of business models. The outcome will almost certainly affect We The People’s wallets or/and Internet experience so we’d best keep a wary eye on everyone who is trying to “help” us.