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Level 3, Comcast Announce End to Netflix-Toll Dispute in Very Short Statement

July 17, 2013 - News

In what may be the shortest corporate statement ever issued, Level 3 Communications and Comcast say they "have resolved their prior interconnect dispute on mutually satisfactory terms. Details," they added, "will not be released."

The July 16 statement refers to a nasty dispute that started in 2010 when Comcast told Level 3 it had to pay a fee to deliver Netflix content. Level 3 charged Comcast with violating network neutrality rules, calling the demand "a clear abuse of the dominant control that Comcast exerts in broadband access markets."

“Comcast is effectively putting up a toll booth at the borders of its broadband Internet access network, enabling it to unilaterally decide how much to charge for content which competes with its own cable TV and Xfinity-delivered content," Thomas Stortz, Level 3’s chief legal officer at the time, said in a company statement.

Comcast responded by saying Level 3 “misportrayed" the companies’ commercial negotiations as being about delivering particular types of traffic. Joe Waz, Comcast’s then-senior vice president for external affairs, told Reuters that Level 3 was trying to save money on network fees so it could undercut rivals in the competitive Content Delivery Network (CDN) market.

"We are happy to maintain a balanced, no-cost traffic exchange with Level 3. However, when one provider exploits this type of relationship by pushing the burden of massive traffic growth onto the other provider and its customers, we believe this is not fair," Waz said in 2010.

Apparently, though, the two companies have reached a deal that satisfies them both. Comcast said as much in a statement it issued separately from Level 3. The cableco said it worked with Level 3 "to reach a new, mutually satisfactory interconnect agreement that strengthens our partnership and we look forward to working together in the future.” 

We'll likely just never know the terms.

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