Charter Communications has Netflix's support for its $55 billion proposed acquisition of Time Warner Cable after promising the streaming service settlement-free "peering" through 2018. Peering, according to The Internet Peering Playbook, is a local routing optimization method that allows two networks to exchange traffic without incurring transit fees. On Tuesday, Charter reportedly filed a document with the FCC stating that it wouldn't charge any website for faster access until at least December 31st, 2018. Netflix also filed a document stating that it would not oppose the acquisition as it had last year's Comcast-TWC merger.
Surprisingly, these sorts of deals don't appear to violate the FCC's new net neutrality rules. While the FCC does have newfound authority to intercede in these sorts of cases, the Open Internet regulations specifically do not apply (.pdf page 10, paragraph 29) to interconnection peering operations. "While we have more than a decade's worth of experience with last-mile practices, we lack a similar depth of background in the Internet traffic exchange context," the FCC reasons. "Thus, we find that the best approach is to watch, learn, and act as required, but not intervene now, especially not with prescriptive rules." Hopefully the commission will have seen enough by the end of 2018.
[Image Credit: Associated Press]