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Netflix signs a peering agreement with AT&T

Third major carrier deal as net neutrality consultation continues
Wed Jul 30 2014, 17:15

NETFLIX HAS SIGNED a peering agreement with another major telecom carrier in the US.

AT&T joins Comcast and Verizon in offering direct connections between its servers and the Netflix system. Financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed, but it is understood that the deal was negotiated in May and is just beginning to come into operation.

In a statement, AT&T said, "We're now beginning to turn up the connections, a process that should be complete in the coming days."

Despite having signed these agreements, Netflix chief Reed Hastings has called for there to be no change in current net neutrality rules, saying that he has entered into them temporarily and reluctantly.

At present, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the agency of the US government that manages the media, is analysing 780,000 comments received from members of the public regarding its plans to end net neutrality in favour of a system allowing paying organisations to receive priority service.

In a response to a comment submitted by one INQUIRER writer, and probably everyone else, FCC chairman Tom Wheeler said, "I'm a strong supporter of the Open Internet, and I will fight to keep the internet open. Thanks again for sharing your views with me."

The use of direct peering between internet carriers and Netflix is designed to reduce the level of buffering caused by traffic congestion at internet exchanges. Instead of going "through" internet exchanges, peered traffic bypasses them altogether.

This differs slightly from the FCC proposals, which would see traffic through internet exchanges graded according to "importance", by which it actually means "amount paid for privileged quality of service". µ


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