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Also: NCTA prez says usage-based pricing keeps broadband costs in check; SCTE calls off 2013 Canadian Summit; Comcast X1 simplifies the remote

Netflix: We're Not Seeking Special Treatment

Jeff Baumgartner
LR Cable News Analysis
Jeff Baumgartner
1/18/2013
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Welcome to the broadband and cable news roundup, T.G.I.F. edition.

  • Responding to Time Warner Cable Inc.'s criticism of Netflix Inc.'s Open Connect program, the streaming giant said its proposed peering arrangement with ISPs isn't about asking for special treatment, but about cutting down delivery costs and reducing network congestion. "Open Connect provides Netflix data at no cost to the location the ISP desires and doesn't seek preferential treatment," the streaming giant said, in a statement. Time Warner Cable is in discussions to join Open Connect, which Netflix requires before it will allow subscribers to access its library of "Super HD" content, but complained that the policy actually closes off access to some of Netflix's content "while seeking unprecedented preferential treatment from ISPs." Netflix, which already counts Cablevision Systems Corp. as an OpenConnect member, added that it hopes TW Cable "will join the many major ISPs around the world who are participating in Open Connect to reduce costs, better minimize congestion and improve data delivery to enhance the consumer experience." (See TW Cable Slams Netflix's 'Super HD' Policy and Netflix Connects with Cablevision.)
  • Netflix has been a big critic of data caps and usage-based pricing, viewing them as weapons to keep over-the-top video competitors in check. The topic of such policies came up Thursday during a panel at a Minority Media and Telecommunications Association event that featured National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) President and CEO Michael Powell. He said cable's interest in usage-based pricing models have less to do with bandwidth management, and more to do with operators getting a handle on the costs of providing broadband services, reports Multichannel News. "Our principal purpose is how to fairly monetize a high fixed cost," Powell said with respect to emerging usage-based broadband policies.
  • The Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE) has cancelled this year's Canadian Summit and the board is reviewing plans for the event "for 2014 and beyond," the Society announced in an email to members on Thursday and via its website, citing general changes in the cable industry's landscape and "continued economic uncertainties." In the place of this year's event, the SCTE is working on a new, travel-free format to provide Canadian members with technical and educational content tailored for the region. SCTE said it will announce details about that "in the very near future," noting that it will be offered for free to all Society members.
  • The Philadelphia Inquirer took Comcast Corp.'s X1 service for a test run and remarked that the MSO's next-generation video platform's redesigned, simplified remote control cuts down the number of buttons to 29, compared with 53 on the older remote. Comcast formally introduced X1 to the Philadelphia area this month, marking the sixth market so far to get the IP-capable service, which features a cloud-based user interface and access to a slate of interactive applications. (See Comcast's X1 Flies Into Philly.) — Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable
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