Report: Despite Deal With Netflix, Comcast Likely to Seek Payment from Cogent

Earlier this week we reported that Netflix would pay cable operator Comcast to get direct access to its customers, but that may not be the end of Comcast extracting payments from companies who need access to their broadband infrastructure.

According to an Ars Technica report, Comcast may also seek a payment from Cogent, the network operator that distributes Netflix video and other traffic. This is according to Cogent's CEO. Cogent's role in passing that Netflix traffic to Comcast will likely be reduced or potentially eliminated.

"They want everybody who they can possibly extract a payment from to pay them, even though the traffic that is reaching their customers has been paid for by their customers," Cogent Communications CEO Dave Schaeffer told Ars today.

Comcast and other ISPs have been demanding money from Cogent and similar companies which they have exchanged traffic with in the past for free. Another company similar to Cogent, Level 3, agreed to pay Comcast "under protest" after a dispute in 2010.

Even if zero Netflix traffic flowed between Cogent and Comcast, Schaeffer says that he doesn't expect Comcast to drop its demands for payment.

"For other customers, yes, obviously not for Netflix because there would be no Netflix traffic," Schaeffer said. "They would look to extract a payment from us for other customers who are sending traffic to the customers of Comcast."

That's likely because Cogent's customers include YouTube owner Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and its subsidiary Skype, and eBay, among others.

Plus, as the LA Times notes in one article, "Google Inc., Amazon.com Inc. and Yahoo Inc. already pay for such access to broadband providers like Comcast."

Ars has a lot more on this thorny issue in this article.

The real question for consumers is, how do these fees affect their pocket books; certainly the cost of those fees has to come from somewhere.

Source: Ars Technica

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