Pingree Says Comcast-Netflix Peering Deal Is Net Neutrality Threat

Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-Maine), onetime head of Common Cause, said in an op ed Thursday that her online survey on whether the pubic wants to see a merged Comcast/Time Warner Cable ( had drawn 4,500 responses, all but 300 of which opposed it.

A petition on had drawn 158,165 signatures at press time.

To be fair, both the petition and a link on the survey say, flatly, that the merger is bad for consumers, will raise prices and threatens network neutrality, all of which Comcast just as flatly denies.

Pingree has also written the FCC and the Justice Department about her concerns.

In her op ed, Pingree suggests that Comcast's peering agreement with Netflix was a threat to network neutrality and defies the very spirit of the Internet.

Comcast EVP David Cohen, in an interview for C-SPAN, points out that peering arrangements, though mostly free, helped build the Internet. "[Peering arrangements] have nothing to to with access to the Internet and nothing to do with net neutrality." He says there are 40 companies competing to wholesale access to Comcast's broadband." He says peering agreements have been around since the beginning of the Internet and are part of how it functions.