How Deep Will the FCC Dig Into Netflix’s Deals With Verizon and Comcast?

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) wants details. The federal agency isn’t after the latest Orange Is the New Black spoiler; it wants the details of Netflix’s (NASDAQ:NFLX) deals with Verizon (NYSE:VZ) and Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA). It also wants the details of all similar deals content providers make with Internet providers.

The agency has jurisdiction over the “peering deals” as they are called. How Netflix paid Comcast so that Netflix would stream faster is a textbook example of one. Netflix and Verizon have a similar deal, but Verizon still remains one of the slowest ISPs for streaming Netflix so far. The terms of these and other peering deals have been kept secret from the public. Prompted by both of these recent deals, the FCC requested information about Netflix’s two deals and that of other peering deals.

As FCC Chair Tim Wheeler mentions the three companies by name in the news release, it’s pretty obvious that it sparked the federal interest. Wheeler said: “To be clear, what we are doing right now is collecting information, not regulating. We are looking under the hood,” said Wheeler in the release. “Consumers want transparency. They want answers. And so do I.”

Google, Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, and Facebook have also made similar deals with Internet providers, reported The Huffington Post. As with Netflix’s two deals, the terms of these deals have not been made known to the general public.