Since Netflix gave into Comcast’s demands for payment in exchange for a promise to deliver movies smoothly over the Internet to Netflix’s customers, speeds on Comcast for Netflix users have rocketed upward. Speeds on the larger service providers have been decreasing steadily since last fall, but following the deal, Comcast restored all the speed that Netflix had lost and much more in the space of a couple of months. Netflix might also have to pay Verizon and AT&T a similar fee to ensure that its customers enjoy reasonable speeds when they are watching films. Presumably, Netflix would eventually pass those fees on to its subscribers in the form of higher rates.
As the Federal Communications Commission considers new rules on whether service providers can charge popular Web sites additional fees to carry their traffic, advocates for consumers worry that deals like Netflix’s with Comcast will become common throughout the industry.
The graph above is by The Washington Post’s Christopher Ingraham. The data are from Netflix. Click below to continue reading about the principle known as net neutrality.