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Comcast's 'internet toll' from Netflix good or bad for subs?

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Did you know? Last month Netflix decided it would pay off huge Internet service providers (ISPs) like Comcast to make its service better for customers, but it's clear that the popular streaming company doesn't want to be forced to cut similar deals in the future.

In a measured and strongly worded article issued Thursday, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said that "net neutrality must be defended and strengthened," calling out giants like Comcast and Verizon for bad behavior. Hastings took to his company's blog to call for Washington and the Federal Communications Commission to pass stronger net neutrality rules so that Netflix doesn't have to keep paying "Internet tolls" to powerful ISPs to deliver its content to consumers.

The blog post is part of Netflix's effort to support the FCC's enforcement of an open Internet, known as net neutrality. The agency is in the process of drafting new anti-discrimination rules. Technically, the FCC's net neutrality rules would not affect the deal signed in February between Netflix and Comcast.

What Hastings called "weak" net neutrality were the previous FCC rules that an appeals court struck down in January. Those prohibited ISPs from blocking or degrading traffic based on source. But Comcast is still bound to abide by those rules until 2018, under its agreement with the U.S. government in connection with its deal for NBCUniversal.

As any Netflix/Comcast sub knows, service improved when the video streaming service agreed to pay a premium to Comcast. We note that Comcast is currently attempting to take over Time Warner Cable thus giving it even more leverage over program services. Good for subscribers..or bad?

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