Netflix agrees to pay AT&T to ensure smooth video downloads

WASHINGTON Tue Jul 29, 2014 6:37pm EDT

The Netflix logo is is shown on an ipad in Encinitas, California, April 19,2013.  REUTERS/Mike Blake

The Netflix logo is is shown on an ipad in Encinitas, California, April 19,2013.

Credit: Reuters/Mike Blake

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Video streaming service Netflix has agreed to pay U.S. broadband provider AT&T Inc to ensure smooth delivery of Netflix content to Internet users, the companies said on Tuesday.

The announcement of the deal, struck in May, comes as Netflix has been waging a public campaign against such fees, which they present as tolls, and calling on the Federal Communications Commission to review the market.

Having brokered this so-called interconnection agreement, AT&T and Netflix are now working to build out new network connections for Netflix content to be delivered directly to AT&T's servers "to improve the viewing experience for our mutual subscribers," the companies' representatives said.

"We're now beginning to turn up the connections, a process that should be complete in the coming days," AT&T spokesman Michael Balmoris said.

This marks the third such agreement Netflix struck with major U.S. Internet service providers in recent months after it revealed similar traffic exchange agreements with Verizon Communications Inc in April and Comcast Corp in February.

Consumers have also complained to the FCC about an ongoing spat between Netflix and major Internet providers, saying they are experiencing slow download speeds for Netflix video.

Both sides accuse each other of causing a slowdown in Internet speeds by the way they route traffic.

Financial terms of such interconnection agreements are secret. The FCC last month moved to privately review the current deals, though did not indicate specific plans to regulate that part of the market.

(Reporting by Alina Selyukh; Editing by David Gregorio and Cynthia Osterman)

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