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The "Huh, What?" Files

November 29, 2010 20:56:53.913

Update: - It's become clear that Comcast wants to charge Level 3 for customer requests for video (et. al.) that are not based on their XFinity system - so if a Comcast customer uses NetFlix, or streams from iTunes (etc), then Comcast wants to toss a tollbooth on that content. This is understandable, even if it is incredibly stupid.

Let's say that Level 3 told Comcast to go fish, and Comcast then broke all non-XFinity services on their network. Exactly who do they think would take the PR hit for the services that their customers pay for and wouldn't be able to receive? Here's a hint - none of their customers have even heard of Level 3, and Level 3 isn't the one with the phone lines that would start lighting up when this happened...

Original post below

I'm sure this makes sense to someone at Comcast, but for the life of me, I can't figure it out:

  • Comcast offers on-demand movies via cable and net streaming (via their xfinity service)
  • Now Comcast says that the backbone provider delivering the video, Level 3, needs to pay them
  • Huh?

Comcast has demanded that broadband backbone provider Level 3 Communications pay it a recurring fee for delivering video traffic to Comcast customers, Level 3 said Monday.

So... do they want people to use this new service, or not? Why do they even bother offering it? Here's what they have to say about the fee:

Comcast said it would cut off its own customers' access to the movies and other Web traffic unless Level 3 paid the fee, Level 3 said in a press release.

I think Level 3 should just call their bluff, and say "sure, go ahead. Make our day".

Update: Comcast, masters of PR that they are, have followed up on their major east coast outage with a release calling Level 3 liars. I still say that Level 3 should just drop the traffic on the floor and let Comcast take the blame.

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posted by James Robertson


Relying on press releases

[Bob] November 30, 2010 7:38:33.047

A wonderful example of "he said, she said." Both sides have put forth an interpretation that makes them look good and demonizes the other side. I don't think there's enough transparency to say where the truth lies - which is maybe the most troubling aspect of this whole thing.

Comcast, Et Al

[W^L+] December 2, 2010 21:35:13.455

I think the biggest thing is that some of Comcast's customers have no alternative for obtaining "high speed" connections. Regardless of whose fault this mess is, customers could significantly add to the pressure to settle if they could switch to another provider who could manage to deliver their Netflix content.

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