Level 3 protests fees to deliver Netflix movies to Comcast customers

Level 3 Communications' (Nasdaq: LVLT) fight with Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA) over having to pay the cable giant a fee to deliver movies to its residential customers adds yet another example of how incumbent service providers continue to try to maintain control over what traverses their last mile networks.  

This fight with Comcast comes only a month after Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX) named it as its content delivery network (CDN).

Concerned that Netflix's customers would suffer service degradation, Level 3's Chief Legal Officer Thomas Stortz said in a statement that it only agreed to pay Comcast's fees after being told by Comcast "to take it or leave it."

Stortz added that Comcast's requirement to pay a toll every time a subscriber seeks non-Comcast content "violates the spirit of the open Internet." 

Joe Waz, senior VP-external affairs and public policy counsel for Comcast countered in a statement that the cable operator would be happy to hammer out a deal with Level 3, adding that Level 3 is sending five times more traffic over Comcast's network than Comcast sends over its network.

"We are happy to maintain a balanced, no-cost traffic exchange with Level 3. However, when one provider exploits this type of relationship by pushing the burden of massive traffic growth onto the other provider and its customers, we believe this is not fair," Waz said.

The timing of the Level 3/Comcast debate comes as speculation continues to mount that the FCC could vote on net neutrality at its meeting later next month. Although Level 3 added that it has encouraged telecom regulators again take on the cable giant neither Comcast nor Netflix would comment on the issue.

For more:
- Reuters has this article
- Here's FierceCable's take

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