Netflix now has direct peering arrangements with the top four US ISPs, after sealing another paid interconnection deal with Time Warner Cable.
TWC joins Comcast, Verizon Communications and AT&T, and all four have also been involved in on-going disputes related to peering and Netflix backbone provider Cogent Communications. Last summer, Cogent accused Verizon of delaying upgrades to the ports through which the two companies exchange Internet traffic.
"Cogent is not compliant with one of the basic and long-standing requirements for most settlement-free peering arrangements: that traffic between the providers be roughly in balance," Verizon said at the time. "When the traffic loads are not symmetric, the provider with the heavier load typically pays the other for transit. This isn't a story about Netflix, or about Verizon 'letting' anybody's traffic deteriorate. This is a fairly boring story about a bandwidth provider that is unhappy that they are out of balance and will have to make alternative arrangements for capacity enhancements, just like any other interconnecting ISP."
Emphasising that he is not willing to enter into paid peering arrangements, Cogent Communications CEO Dave Schaeffer has publically offered to resolve the impasse with the ISPs over Netflix and other streaming platforms, by paying the capital cost required for these companies to upgrade the connections (as well as Cogent's own costs) to ensure adequate capacity to deliver quality service.
Between these disputes and the fact that Verizon effectively eviscerated the FCC's ability to enforce net neutrality when it won a Supreme Court case in the matter in January, Netflix maintains that end user quality has suffered. So, it has signed direct, paid, interconnection deals (instead of the more typical settlement-free peering arrangements) with ISPs.
It's not something that CEO Reed Hastings is happy about.
"Though they have the scale and power to do this, they should realise it is in their long-term interest to back strong net neutrality," he said in a blog. "While in the short term Netflix will in cases reluctantly pay large ISPs to ensure a high quality member experience, we will continue to fight for the Internet the world needs and deserves."