If you don’t believe the proposed Comcast/Time Warner merger will make Comcast an even bigger threat to net neutrality, you probably haven’t heard the whole story. As Comcast attempted to lay out the benefits of the $45.2 billion merger yesterday before Congress – a deal which would corral up to 40 percent of all U.S. Internet subscribers under one umbrella – the CEO of another powerful Internet player, Cogent’s Dave Schaeffer, put in a tenacious argument as to why the merger could be extremely dangerous.
Internet backbone operator Cogent has long expressed its displeasure with Comcast’s demands for payment in exchange for accepting Netflix video and other traffic. Comcast has argued that the data Netflix sends into its network creates an imbalance that should be rectified by payments from Netflix and its transit providers like Cogent. Netflix decided to pay Comcast—but Cogent has held out. Today, Cogent CEO Dave Schaeffer made a different argument, saying that Comcast is the one who should be paying for connectivity. He did so while testifying in front of a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Comcast’s planned acquisition of Time Warner Cable. Schaeffer pointed to the fact that Comcast is not considered to be a so-called “Tier 1” network.