Comcast and Netflix: The Beginning of the End for Net Neutrality?

Created: 27 February, 2014
Updated: 14 October, 2022
2 min read
Comcast has set net neutrality advocates buzzing after

striking a deal with Netflix to allow that company faster video streaming.

While something like this would have been unheard of just last year, a federal court's ruling in January struck down the Federal Communication Commission's long-standing rules on net neutrality. Net neutrality, in brief, prevented Internet providers from giving better service to higher-paying customers which would put smaller customers at a disadvantage. The theory was that someone blogging from a laptop should be able to get information out on the Internet just as easily and efficiently as a major company, ensuring an unrestricted flow of ideas.

"Now that people have access to high-speed Internet services, they’re doing more than simply surfing websites and sending email," said Tim Karr, senior director of Strategy Free Press. "They’re watching videos, listening  to music, sharing photographs, basically everything we used to do via various media is all happening now via the Internet."

But, the very technology that creates such opportunities may also create a hunger for profit.

"Since this transformation, since people started watching television via their high speed Internet, you’re seeing the most powerful players in media, which in this day and age are large cable companies, trying to take back control over the Internet," Karr said.

It's worth noting, however, that the Comcast/Netflix deal is not the first of its kind. As Mashable recently showed, Comcast already has an established business selling this kind of access. Such transactions have been kept on the down low -- so the Netflix deal is just a more publicized example of what has already been happening.

Of course, just because something has been happening doesn't mean it's necessarily good for all parties involved. If taken far enough, this kind of behavior could put a crimp in entrepreneurship.

"Losing out are start-up companies that want to be the next Netflix or the next YouTube and now will have to pay these new carriage fees in order to get access to cable companies' customers," Karr said. "Most start-ups in the business won't be able to afford that cost."

By contrast, Wired Enterprise writer Robert McMillan argued that Comcast will be conscious of public opinion and the threat of government regulation, and so will take steps to self-regulate.

IVP Existence Banner

Perhaps only time will tell if this is the start of the apocalypse net neutrality advocates have long feared, or just a transition into a thriving new business model. One thing is certain -- the world is watching.

Photo Credit: Eric Blattberg / VentureBeat


Latest articles

US Capitol
Only 5% of Voters Will Decide Who Represents VA's 5th District
Last week, Virginia’s GOP held primaries for the upcoming House elections in November. As of today, the results for the state’s 5th congressional district are still too close to call....
26 June, 2024
6 min read
Frank Barry
Bloomberg Editor Frank Barry: 'We've Designed a Government for Dysfunction, Polarization, and Extremism'
Bloomberg editor and author Frank Barry bought an RV and drove across the Lincoln Highway, the first transcontinental highway to connect the coasts, to explore the diverse landscape and people of the United States. ...
24 June, 2024
2 min read
Kennedy: My Exclusion from CNN Debate is ‘Undemocratic, Un-American, and Cowardly’
US voters awoke Thursday to the news that the June 27 CNN presidential debate stage had been set. The network had its promotions ready for two candidates -- and only two candidates....
21 June, 2024
4 min read