Comcast, the Company That Extorted Netflix into Paying for Faster Broadband, Complains Partners Are Extorting Them

Comcast, the company that lords over you from their tower above Philadelphia and strives to make your life a nightmare, is sad. That’s because they’re claiming that their business partners and rivals are “extorting” them to try to get better deals in exchange for support in Comcast’s proposed merger with Time Warner. The New York Times even printed the world’s most obvious statement: “Comcast said many of the media and tech companies that have urged regulators to block or add conditions to the deal were doing so out of their own business interests.” How shocking.

Comcast claimed that “accusations from its rivals and business partners were spurious, typically coming after Comcast refused to ‘grant various self-interested requests’ made after the deal was announced.” That’s shady business — but business nonetheless — and a practice I’m sure Comcast is very familiar with. One of the main opponents of the merger (and main offenders of the claimed “extortion”) is Netflix, whom, if you remember, was extorted by Comcast to keep their speeds up.

Voila_Capture 2014-06-06_10-25-28_AM

Remember that? [The dip represents the period of time just before Netflix started paying Comcast.]


Comcast had accused Netflix of trying to shift its own costs to other companies. Netflix said on Wednesday that the merger was “clearly not ‘great’ for consumers” because of Comcast’s increased control over the market for high-speed residential Internet access. The company noted that it had “grudgingly” paid Comcast for better performance, a “precedent that remains damaging for consumers (who ultimately pay higher costs) and for other innovative businesses (that can be held over the barrel by Comcast to do the same).”

“It is not extortion to demand that Comcast provide its own customers the broadband speeds they’ve paid for so they can enjoy Netflix,” Jonathan Friedland, a Netflix spokesman, said in a statement. “It is extortion when Comcast fails to provide its own customers the broadband speed they’ve paid for unless Netflix also pays a ransom.”

The legitimate concern many of these companies have, however, is that if the merger goes through, and Comcast/Time Warner is the main provider in so many markets, they can charge customers and networks whatever they damn well please, because monopoly.

Discovery Communications said their concern is with Comcast’s ability “to impose onerous terms that jeopardize the ability of independent programmers like Discovery to continue investing in a diverse portfolio of content and brands.” And I think, in general, in a battle between the Discovery Channel and Comcast, I’m going to side with the Discovery Channel.

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  • Crossing Broad Memes September 25, 2014 at 4:14 pm

    Classifies standard sports discussion as boring.

    Writes a boring post about boring business deals that belongs on CNBC.

    • Kyle Scott September 25, 2014 at 4:24 pm

      I’d argue that discussing the line of a football game is more boring than the likelihood of the monster company towering over our city basically controlling everything online and most of the stuff you watch.

      • UglyFox29TrafficSlut September 25, 2014 at 4:48 pm

        Then maybe you should have a business blog instead of a sports blog.

  • mayor from animal house September 25, 2014 at 4:19 pm

    You using my police, my sanitation people, and my Oldsmobiles free of charge. So, if you mention extortion again, I’ll have your legs broken.

  • Gary the no trash cougar September 25, 2014 at 4:20 pm

    The Discovery Channel; home of such quality educational television as Naked and Afraid, 18 car shows per day, something about fishing, Shark Week!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (!!!!!!!!!) and possibly Mythbusters… (now without that pesky woman!)

  • Windmill Jeff September 25, 2014 at 5:01 pm

    Why is Jeeves pictured in this post!? Jeeves get home immediately, there’s wash to be done.

  • Steve Sanders September 25, 2014 at 5:01 pm

    Is Jim a real person ?

  • DirecTV NFL Sunday Ticket! September 25, 2014 at 6:25 pm

    I fuckin’ despise Scumcast! Any fool that subscribes to them deserves what they get!

  • Delmon Young is 29 yrs old today September 25, 2014 at 8:21 pm

    Be thankful Comcast did not leave Philly from NYC …which it could’ve.
    Skyscrapers, massive jobs, a commitment to Philly, a corp that gives Philly major clout in global business, the new tech building (which will be the tallest in the US outside Chicago and NYC) will bring tons of tech-start up companies and generally very smart people to work and live in our city. … The big picture people!
    Philly needs Comcast… so pipe down.

    • Delmon Young is 29 yrs old today September 25, 2014 at 8:23 pm

      Correction: Young turned 29 on the 14th. Amazing… dude looks like he’s 50+.
      Typo: “did not leave Philly for* NYC.

    • Your Mother September 26, 2014 at 9:48 am

      So you say this is a symbiotic relationship? We should just accept them slowing down internet speeds purposely to extort Netflix who will rent you movies cheaper than Comcast will even though they arent also in your pocket for cable tv, phone, and internet to begin with? Actually what they pulled there should be against the law, but since it’s not we have the choice to change our providers and bitch about it. Comcast is getting a little big for it’s britches Mamma says. Lets let them know it.

      • Delmon Young Fan Club member September 26, 2014 at 10:00 am

        This is what I’m saying. If it wasn’t Comcast… it would be some other media giant… in some other city …doing the same exact BS. I hate my cable bill, I’m not thrilled with Comcast’s service … or any wrongdoing here.
        However! I’d much rather have that corporate behemoth based in MY city, where it pays taxes, employees thousands, and has made a huge commitment to the bettering of Philly, then say …have this hypothetical corp based out of NYC, Chicago, Seattle, SF, Boston ….or everywhere.
        Tech/business analysts are already viewing Philly as a future “Silicon Valley- East” for tech starts, media technology, and other such industries (medical science). Comcast ….and CHOP and Penn Medicine/UPenn are the titans here. We need these industries. It is companies like Comcast and universities that fueling the economic recovery and dare I say – “renaissance” of our city.
        So …. like I said, big picture people.

        • You Mother September 26, 2014 at 10:33 am

          They are still raping us. We should let our rapists think we’re happy with it because they “help” the local economy, IE “support” us somehow? Will Hayden is that you? Jerry Sandusky? Or are you just a victim of Stockholm syndrome? Seriously, let’s bitch about it and let them know this shit is not going to fly or they will keep doing this until they squash more competition and then they can really screw us good. That’s all I have to say about this.

          • Delmon Young Fan Club member September 26, 2014 at 10:57 am

            Ok, hypo here:
            Comcast leaves the city, up and gone!… towers empty, thousands jobs lost in Philly, tax revenues all gone, and global business leaders again put Philly way in the rear view mirror behind nyc, chi-town, boston, SF, Seattle etc….; as Comcast moves into a shiny new tower in Midtown Manhattan. ….. you prefer that??

            Look new regs against some of these business practices is totally fine by me.

            But when people here …. hear ‘Comcast’ and immediately say, “I hate them, they are the devils, evil …etc etc” …. that’s just narrow-minded.

  • Chris Spielman September 26, 2014 at 9:29 am

    Man, get off of this comcast smear campaign. It doesn’t count as journalism if you just have a blind-hatred hard on for one company.

    • blue89 September 26, 2014 at 9:42 am

      “Blind hatred” towards Comcast? Do you know what the word blind means? Typically a smear campaign usually requires that the person or organization has a good reputation or anything to “smear”, genius.

      • Chris Spielman September 26, 2014 at 9:54 am

        wtf are you talking about? someone doesn’t have to have a good reputation in order to have a smear campaign against them.

      • Chris Spielman September 26, 2014 at 9:55 am

        and yes, it is blind hatred if you just hate everything a company does no matter what

  • Not Mikey Miss September 26, 2014 at 10:56 am

    What a bunch of hogwash. You really should leave your personal feelings out of your reporting. Comcast didn’t extort Netflix into paying for higher broadband. Netflix just pays Comcast to peer directly into Comcast’s network, rather than peering with Level 3. Netflix still pays for peering either way, this deal just cuts out the man in the middle.

  • This blog is worse than ever September 26, 2014 at 6:12 pm

    Look at Fat-Fuck Cohen and his multi-faceted chin. You’d think with the billions he has stolen from not only Comcast customers, but from Philly taxpayers (there still are some taxpayers in Philly, no?) he could afford some plastic surgery. I’m surprised George Lucas hasn’t sued him for using Jabba the Hutt’s likeness without permission!

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