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Time Warner Cable Cries Foul Over Netflix’s CDN

17 Jan, 2013 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Time Warner Cable says Netflix is restricting select streaming content to its subscribers unless the No. 2 cable operator uses its proprietary content delivering network (CDN).

Netflix, during the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, unveiled new 3D programming and Super HD content only available through its Open Connect CDN. The Los Gatos, Calif.-based rental service is seeking to distribute the majority of its streaming data via Open Connect instead of more expensive third-party CDNs, including Akamai, Limelight and Level 3.

The CDNs now deliver more than 80% of Netflix’s streaming data.

Netflix says ISPs can use Open Connect without cost. New York-based Cablevision recently signed on to Open Connect, one of the first multichannel video distributors to do so.

TWC, which is negotiating with Netflix for SVOD service, contends Netflix is strong-arming ISPs into adopting Open Connect or risk not receiving select programming.

“While they call it ‘Open Connect,’ Netflix is actually closing off access to some of its content while seeking unprecedented preferential treatment from ISPs,” Time Warner Cable said in a statement to Multichannel News. “We believe it is wrong for Netflix to withhold any content formats from our subscribers and the subscribers of many other ISPs. Time Warner Cable’s network is more than capable of delivering this content to Netflix subscribers today.”

The SVOD leader has made the cost of delivering streaming content to subscribers via third-party ISPs an issue for some time. CEO Reed Hastings elevated the rhetoric last year when he complained about data usage rates for his Comcast ISP on Facebook.

Netflix spokesperson Jonathan Friedland said the service is not denying subs access to content. He said mandating access to 3D and Super HD content through Open Connect is cheaper to Netflix, and no additional cost to an ISP.

“We hope Time Warner [Cable] will join the many major ISPs around the world who are participating in Open Connect to reduce costs, minimize congestion and improve data delivery to enhance the consumer experience,” Friedland said.

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