A recap: last week Level 3 said that Comcast was putting up an internet “toll booth”, charging Level 3 for the traffic it would send to Comcast’s subscribers. Comcast countered that as Netflix’s new network provider, Level 3 would end up directing more traffic to Comcast’s servers—to levels that apparently merit payments.
The cable provider insists that their new “tolls” fall under existing and widely accepted industry agreements, and that Level 3’s moves to support its new contract with Netflix amount to “stealing bandwidth”.
Now Level 3 has shot back, claiming that Comcast is trying to frame the issue as “a peering dispute” that will let it “make many millions of dollars from Internet backbone carriers that bring requested content to Comcast for delivery to Comcast’s subscribers”. Level 3 insists that their relationship with Netflix has nothing to do with their objections to Comcast’s “toll”, but only a wish that Comcast “comply with the nondiscriminatory procedures that [it] has historically complied with and is required to follow.”
Level 3 also points out the obvious—that “traffic going to Comcast subscribers is much greater than traffic coming from Comcast subscribers” and “Comcast’s status as the nation’s largest provider of consumer broadband service enables Comcast to force Level 3 to pay the ‘toll’ Comcast has demanded.” The salient point of Level 3’s statement is that Comcast is trying to change the “market rules... unilaterally”, using their status to push changes to the system for a lucrative result.