The Federal Communications Commission is advancing an investigation (that it formally announced back in June) into how network interconnection problems affect the quality of Internet service. At that time the FCC said that it had obtained the paid peering deals Netflix signed with Comcast and Verizon. Today the FCC asked another six Internet service providers and content providers for copies of similar agreements, according to what an FCC official told Ars Technica this week. The FCC is expected to announce more details this fall but that sad truth is that most of the details on these deals will probably never be made public.
The FCC also says that it is "meeting with others to understand all the angles of interconnection," and that the commission is examining the "competitive dynamics" of the market, and "taking time to hear the different viewpoints about the state of interconnection today from the different actors in the ecosystem."
Interestingly enough, Ars Technica points out that it filed a Freedom of Information Act request to the FCC on June 16 to obtain details on the Netflix deals. Those requests were denied on the grounds that the information is protected.
"Verizon, Netflix, and Comcast filed requests for confidential treatment of the agreements in their entirety," the FCC's response to Ars said. "In support of its request for confidential treatment, Comcast asserts that, if its agreement were disclosed, competitors would gain valuable insight into the parties' business practices, internal business operations, technical processes and procedures, and information regarding highly confidential pricing and sensitive internal business matters to which competitors otherwise would not have access."
What this means is that the down and dirty details of these deals will never fully become public.
You can read Ars Technica's full report here.