Comcast Takes Aim At Online Videos

Cable provider Comcast appears to be taking aim at online video sites, and has demanded that Internet Service Provider Level 3 pay the company fees in order to transmit Internet online movies and other content to Comcast customers. The move, which has big potential ramifications for online video sites like Hulu, streaming video services from Netflix, and others, Level 3 said that Comcast had demanded fees for transmitting content which competes with its own, cable TV and Xfinity delivered content.

Describing the move as a "clear abuse of the dominant control that Comcast exerts in broadband access markets", Level 3 said that in essence, Comcast is "putting up a toll booth" at the borders of its broadband Internet access network, allowing it to "unilaterally" decide how much to charge for content competing against its own cable services. Level 3 said it agreed to the terms, under protest, in order to ensure customers did not experience disruptions--however, that it believes Comcast's position violates "the spirit and letter" of the FCC's proposed Internet Policy principles and other open Internet principles.