Comcast Wants to Kill Netflix!: Sign This Petition

November 30, 2010 at 9:02 pm (Pixelated) (, , , , , , , , , , )

In the role of "Comcast": Taro the Shiba Inu -from flickr user _tar0_

Many news outlets are reporting that Comcast (or Kabletown, for you Liz Lemon-heads out there) is attempting to pressure a Content Delivery Network called Level 3 into paying for each bit (piece of information) carried on Comcast’s network.    

Since Level 3 is set to begin supporting Netflix’s streaming service, this means that Level 3 may be forced to pass the extra cost onto Netflix, who will, of course, pass that cost onto customers.

If we review the following facts, it becomes clear who to root for in this battle:

  1. Comcast benefits from what amounts to a legal monopoly.  Decades ago, cable companies argued that the massive infrastructure costs associated with wiring whole cities for cable should entitle them to monopolize those wires- even LONG after the costs had been recouped.  No matter where you are in the United States, you pretty much have 1, and ONLY 1, choice for cable provider.  And no customer in the history of cable service, has EVER seen their monthly bill decrease.
  2. Broadband Internet speeds in the United States are pitiful.  According to this list, the US is currently 31st, behind Russia, Bulgaria, and the Republic of Moldova.  So speed increases have slowed in recent years, but prices have not.  In fact, researchers at MIT released a report in September, expressing surprise at the stagnant (and hence, high) prices that have moved very little since 2004, even though the providers should have more than paid off their upgrades. 
  3. A Comcast win here strikes a blow to Net Neutrality.  Today, it’s paying more for Netflix.  Tomorrow, it’s paying more for CBS, ABC or other non-Comcast owned networks.  Maybe it’s paying more for iTunes or YouTube.  No matter what, it means consumers will pay more- and probably receive less.

You can sign a petition here to express your displeasure to the FCC.

(In the interests of fairness, here’s a link to Comcast’s response to this story.)

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