Comcast & Netflix In Net Neutrality Row: Now Will You Care About Net Neutrality?

*Now* do you people understand why Net Neutrality isn’t merely some thing that Slashdot-dwelling sysadmins argue about during lunchtime? Surely you’ve heard by now that Comcast, one of the largest Internet Service Providers in the U.S., has been fiddling with Netflix traffic? But no, Net Neutrality isn’t worth defending, right?

The story goes that Level 3 Communications, which handles Netflix’s Internet traffic, says that, all of a sudden, Comcast started demanding more money to accept said traffic. Comcast says it’s merely a commercial dispute—if you want us to pass this traffic over to our customers, you’ll have to hand over X more dollars than we used to charge&mash;and that it has nothing to do with Net Neutrality.

Which, of course, is syncretic nonsense.

A sort of, “We’re threatening to use our position as a major ISP to extract more RENTS~! in order to carry your traffic. This has nothing to do with Net Neutrality, honest.”


Level 3 said as much in a statement yesterday:

With this action, Comcast demonstrates the risk of a ‘closed’ Internet, where a retail broadband Internet access provider decides whether and how their subscribers interact with content.

The problem is that there really doesn’t seem to be an easy way out of this mess. Clearly streaming media is taking over the world, but there’s one problem: bandwidth isn’t free, and that’s Comcast’s biggest complaint. If you want Comcast to carry this or that stream, then you can’t expect Comcast to do so at a loss, right?

Granted, I’ve no idea how much it costs Comcast to run and maintain a broadband network, but I recognize that they’re in business to make money.

If nothing else hopefully more people will now recognize what’s at stake: among other things, your ability to stream the content of your choosing.

People only care about things when it happens in their backyard, right? Well here you go.