Last week Senator Al Franken (D-Minn.) sent a letter to entertainment streaming service Netflix asking the company to weigh in on the proposed merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable. This week Netflix gave its opinion… to shareholders.
"If the Comcast and Time Warner Cable merger is approved, the combined company’s footprint will pass over 60 percent of U.S. broadband households," Netflix CEO Reed Hastings wrote in a letter to shareholders, adding, "Comcast could control high-speed broadband to the majority of American homes."
Of course, Comcast was quick to fire back at Netflix.
"Netflix’s opposition to our Time Warner Cable transaction is based on inaccurate claims and arguments," Comcast spokeswoman Jennifer Khoury said in a statement. "There has been no company that has had a stronger commitment to openness of the Internet."
Netflix also took shots at plenty of other Internet service providers, including AT&T. Hastings said that AT&T’s "fiber-based U-verse has lower performance than many DSL ISPs, such as Frontier, CenturyLink and Windstream" and that "reinforces our view that connectivity to the broader Internet is critical to the quality of experience consumers receive."
On top of all that, Netflix announced a rate hike for new customers from its currently monthly pricing of $7.99. The hike will be a dollar or two more.
"Our current view is to do a one or two dollar increase, depending on the country, later this quarter for new members only," Hastings wrote, noting that existing customers would remain at the $7.99-per-month rate "for a generous time period." That would certainly indicate that even current subscribers can expect an increase in the monthly fee at some point.