By Sahil Patel
AT&T is now the third major broadband provider in the US that Netflix has struck a paid connection, or peering, deal with.
Confirming an earlier report by Mashable, AT&T said that it actually had a deal in place with the streaming video giant in May, the effects of which will be evident in the coming days.
“We reached an interconnect agreement with Netflix in May and since then have been working together to provision additional interconnect capacity to improve the viewing experience for our mutual subscribers,’’ said AT&T spokeswoman in the statement. “We’re now beginning to turn up the connections, a process that should be complete in the coming days.”
In recent months, Netflix has been signing such deals with internet providers to ensure that its subscribers aren’t stuck with long buffering times, or poor-quality streaming. The streaming company has been reluctant to pay for these peering arrangements, but argues that it has no choice if it wants to provide a top-notch streaming experience.
Cutting similar paid deals with Comcast and Verizon, Netflix has lobbied the FCC to pass regulations that would prevent these services from charging fees for interconnection agreements. Broadband providers, meanwhile, argue that Netflix, which is responsible for a large bulk of downstream internet traffic, should pay its fair share of the cost for delivering video over the web.
The FCC, meanwhile, is investigating such peering arrangements as part of its effort to craft new net neutrality rules.