By Daniel Frankel, FierceCable, August 27, 2014
Saving its harshest critique, after months of sturm und drang, for its final, "official" rebuke of the proposed Comcast/Time Warner Cable merger, Netflix called on the FCC to reject the deal.
The essentials of the streaming service's argument break down this way: Globally, Netflix sends its video traffic over the networks of 99 percent of Internet service providers without having to pay an interconnection fee.
The only ISPs it does have to pay are large conglomerates in the U.S.-- AT&T, Verizon, Comcast, and Time Warner Cable. Merging the latter two will only exacerbate the excessive market power they use to undermine net neutrality.
"Unsurprisingly, given their dominance in the cable television marketplace, the proposed merger would give Applicants the ability to turn a consumer's Internet experience into something that more closely resembles cable television," reads Netflix's filing, which was hand-delivered to the Federal Communications Commission in time for the Monday public commentary deadline on the merger.
"The combined entity would have the incentive and ability -- through access fees charged at the interconnection points and by other means
-- to harm Internet companies, such as online video distributors ("OVDs"), which Applicants view as competitors," Netflix adds.
Netflix's condemnation highlighted a cacophony of merger dissent directed Monday to the FCC, with Dish Network, Consumers Union and Common Cause among the rivals and non-profits filing rebukes to the regulatory body.