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Netflix moves up into cable channel status amidst net neutrality upheaval

It has been a week of news for the Internet and cable companies due to the F.C.C. proposal to allow ‘fast lane’ status to some cable companies. Now, Netflix the player that introduced streaming TV and the hit “House of Cards” series will grow up and be a cable channel on Monday, reports The Washington Post on Thursday evening.

Special Screening Of Netflix's "House Of Cards" Season 2- Red Carpet
Photo by Kevin Winter

Netflix can now be like HBO, the channel that it aspired to copy, but allow its subscribers to continue to watch the streaming video service as an ordinary cable channel. It may come to a cable box if you have access to one of three cable companies, CN Communications, Atlantic Broadband and Grande Communications.

There are about 820,000 subscribers spanning over 9 nine states and Washington D.C. on those three cable companies, where you can watch your programs as an alternative to the computer, tablet or smartphone. Previously, the smash hit, “House of Cards” which began on Netflix in 2013 was viewed on one of those Internet devices. Now, members of those three cable services can go to the Netflix channel, download the app and begin viewing the streaming broadcast of a TV show, such as, “Lie to Me” or the James Bond “Skyfall” movie.

Netflix has already been able to strike a deal in the past with cable-TV boxes in England, Denmark and Sweden. Finally Netflix has arrived and has made the inroad it has desired for access to the U.S. market. The different areas in the U.S. for Netflix’s 36 million subscribers require a cable box or some other console video game player in order to access Netflix programs.

Netflix will be considered just like any other channel of cable-TV but it relies on high-speed Internet to deliver the video program to a subscriber of the cable company. “It’s a watershed moment,” according to David Isenberg, Atlantic's chief marketing and strategy officer and it signals a new generation in TV viewing much like HBO did in its beginnings in the ‘70’s.

Now, where does this place Netflix in the recent proposal by the F.C.C. to determine a reasonable benefit of a potential fast lane in the Internet for cable firms? It does not have any special fast lane access with the F.C.C. proposal that was presented on Wednesday and led to a slew of new lobbying in Washington D.C. Netflix spokesperson, Joris Evers, commented on this and stated that there is a reported arrangement in negotiation between Apple and Comcast at this time.

In regards to pricing for customers, Netflix plans to raise its prices by $1 or $2 by July to new customers. HBO has always been guarded its old TV shows, as the “Sopranos” and “The Wire” and will not license to any Internet video service. However, HBO shows can be streamed through a service offered by Amazon.com Inc.’s Prime shipping service announced this week.

It has been a difficult relationship between Netflix and Comcast as the framework for a deal was set during CES 2014 event in Las Vegas. The final deal was struck in late Feb. and is a so-called ‘paid peering’ deal, which connects Netflix's network to Comcast's directly. Since that time Netflix has opposed Comcast's proposed $45 billion purchase of another major cable-TV service, Time Warner Cable Inc.

Netflix viewers will still need to sign up for Netflix on the agreed upon cable companies in order to view it. There will not be a hook into Comcast if the Time Warner Cable Inc. deal closes unless another surprise change in relations occurs between Netflix and Comcast.