“We reached an interconnect agreement with AT&T in May and since then have been working together to provision additional interconnect capacity to improve the viewing experience of our mutual subscribers,” Netflix chief communications officer Jonathan Friedland said in an email. “We’re now beginning to turn up the connections, a process that should be complete in the coming days.” AT&T issued a similar statement.
Netflix has objected to paying ISPs these kinds of interconnection fees, arguing that they’re tantamount to arbitrary “tolls” for gaining access to a provider’s customers — and advocating for a “strong” form of net neutrality. The company has lobbied the Federal Communications Commission to reclassify broadband as a telecommunications service, which would give the agency authority to impose new price controls and enact other regulations.
Comcast and Verizon have said that paid-peering deals like the ones they have with Netflix are par for the course, and a standard way the Internet bandwidth market works. The ISPs contend that that Netflix — which represents upwards of one-third of downstream broadband traffic during peak periods — is seeking to avoid paying its fair share for the cost of delivering video over the Internet.
The pact between AT&T and Netflix was first reported by Mashable.