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 executive VP 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 do with access to the Internet and nothing to do with net neutrality." He says there are 40 companies competing for 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.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.