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Internet Giants Spar Over Fees

Published on November 29, 2010
by Jessica E. Vascellaro

Netflix Inc.’s broadband partner is in dispute with Comcast Corp. over who should pay to handle an expected surge in online videos piped over the cable company’s network.

Level 3 Communications Inc., which this month unveiled a deal to help Netflix store and stream its movies, accused Comcast of imposing new fees for delivering videos and other content to the cable giant’s customers. Comcast quickly fired back that Level 3 was seeking to burden it with extra Internet traffic without compensation.

The dispute fans the flames of the so-called net neutrality debate over how to handle Internet traffic. Federal regulators, who have yet to adopt rules that require Internet service providers to treat similar types of traffic equally, are set to decide this week whether to vote soon on proposed new guidelines.

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