After rumors started boiling to the surface on Friday, yesterday Comcast and Netflix announced that they had signed an interconnection agreement that will give Netflix subscribers on Comcast’s network improved streaming video experiences.
While the agreement does put Netflix closer to Comcast subscribers via regional interconnection points, it doesn’t allow Netflix to have its own servers on site.
“Comcast Corporation and Netflix today announced a mutually beneficial interconnection agreement that will provide Comcast’s U.S. broadband customers with a high-quality Netflix video experience for years to come,” the two companies wrote in yesterday’s statement. “Working collaboratively over many months, the companies have established a more direct connection between Netflix and Comcast, similar to other networks, that’s already delivering an even better user experience to consumers, while also allowing for future growth in Netflix traffic. Netflix receives no preferential network treatment under the multi-year agreement, terms of which are not being disclosed.”
The direct connection also helps Netflix future proof the delivery of more 4K content and increased titles in its library. The agreement doesn’t provide Netflix more capacity per se, but does offer more throughput by opening more ports.
The deal has nothing to do with Netflix’s Open Connect platform whereby ISPs, including Cox Communications, Google Fiber, Cablevision and Cox Communications, allow Netflix to cache its video content on the edge of their networks. Since it’s a transit agreement, it also has nothing to do with Net Neutrality.
Large ISPs have similar interconnection agreements in place with Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Yahoo and other large online entities.
Comcast and Netflix’s agreement started to coalesce in January at the CES conference in Las Vegas, but the negotiations had been ongoing for months at that point.
Starting Friday, Netflix users in some of Comcast’s footprint saw improved streaming once the regional interconnection points started to come online. Using trace routes, online forum users noted that Netflix was connecting with Comcast directly instead via a third party such as Cogent.