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After Comcast deal, Netflix may need to renegotiate with Verizon and AT&T

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By Liana B. Baker and Lisa Richwine

(Reuters) – Netflix Inc, which agreed to pay Comcast Corp for faster video delivery, may have to make similar arrangements with other broadband providers to make sure its customers get trouble-free access its streaming movies and TV shows.

Verizon Communications’ chief executive said on Monday he expects Netflix will pay the telecom company for faster speeds after Netflix customers complained about slow connections to stream TV shows and movies with Verizon’s FiOS service.

AT&T spokesman Mark Siegel said in a statement on Monday that “we’re in discussions with Netflix to establish a more direct connection between our networks, similar to agreements we have with others, so that AT&T broadband customers who use Netflix can enjoy an even better video experience.”

Talks with telecom companies that provide broadband Internet access gained momentum after Sunday, when Netflix agreed to pay Comcast Corp for faster speeds.

Evercore Partners analyst Alan Gould said the agreement with Comcast removed uncertainty and likely involved small payments since Netflix agreed voluntarily to the arrangement.

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“This is probably a template for the deal that will get done with other broadband providers,” said Gould, who has an “equal weight” rating on Netflix shares. “We are assuming the payments are not going to materially change the business model.”

Netflix shares rose 3.4 percent to a record $447.

Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam said on CNBC, where he discussed Verizon’s talks with Netflix, that the two companies have been in negotiations for a year.

These deals hinge on whether Netflix can set up direct access to Verizon, known as an “interconnect agreement,” rather than go through a third party. Verizon provides millions of U.S. customers with its FiOS broadband service and Netflix speeds have slowed on that network in recent months, leading to complaints.

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Many providers including Cox, Cablevision and Google Fiber directly connect to the Netflix network through a service the streaming company developed called Open Connect. Those providers have not seen their speeds deteriorate in recent months.

But others, including AT&T and Verizon, have opted not to use Open Connect.

Shares of Cogent Communications, one of the companies that took care of the Internet traffic exchange between the Comcast and Netflix networks, fell 7 percent on Monday as investors worried that these deals would take away Cogent’s business.

Cogent’s chief executive Dave Schaeffer played down the effect of the Comcast-Netflix agreement on its business and reaffirmed the company’s annual revenue forecast.

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“It doesn’t mean that revenue goes away from Cogent. It just means that some of the growth in revenue may not occur through us,” he said.

McAdam, the Verizon CEO, spoke out in favor of telecom companies signing deals with Netflix.

“It shows you don’t necessarily need a lot of regulation in a dynamic market here. Doing these commercial deals will get good investment and good returns for both parties,” McAdam said.

Asked about discussions with Verizon or other providers, Netflix spokesman Joris Evers said “we talk to all major ISPs all the time to make sure Netflix users get the best possible experience.”

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(This version of the story corrects the analyst rating on Netflix in paragraph 6.)

(Reporting by Liana B. Baker in New York, Lisa Richwine in Los Angeles and Diane Bartz in Washington; Editing by Sophie Hares and David Gregorio)

[Image: “Teenagers enjoy movie night watching laptop” via Shutterstock]

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Trump jumped to Speaker Pelosi’s defense in marathon Fox News interview

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In a strange twist, President Donald Trump appeared to defend House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during an interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity Wednesday.

Hannity began by saying to Trump that he believes Pelosi has lost control of her own party, as officials like Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Ilhan Omar (D-MN) continue to call for impeachment.

"I say Nancy Pelosi is the speaker in name only," Hannity told Trump, calling Ocasio-Cortez the real start.

But what Trump said was the unusual point.

"I think Nancy Pelosi probably has control of it, I hear different things, but I think she does," Trump said, appearing to defend the Speaker. "She knows what she's doing. We will see how it all comes out."

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Trump spokesperson goes down in flames up against progressive reporter: ‘All you do is lie!’

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President Donald Trump's spokesperson Kayleigh McEnany went down in flames up against Cenk Uygur of The Young Turks during a CNN panel Wednesday.

McEnany went on to try and spin the president as some sort of great leader for Black Americans. She said that the campaign is very "proud" of the president's record on issues involving people of color.

"He also just said he wouldn't change his position on the Central Park Five," cut in Cuomo.

McEnany tried to cut in, but Cuomo cut in. "Now, he said we'll leave it at that. Come on."

"Chris, you come — come on, you," McEnany shot back. "We've been talking about the Central Park Five and racism and all of these things going back to the 2016 election, problem -- American people didn't believe it."

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‘It’s just insane’: MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow breaks down the Trump administration’s latest Russia scandal

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On Wednesday, MSNBC's Rachel Maddow delved into the latest stunning revelations surrounding Maria Butina, the admitted Russian agent at the heart of a plot to infiltrate the National Rifle Association and the Republican Party — and the connections to a high-ranking State Department official in charge of arms negotiations with Russia.

"Josh Rogin at the Washington Post reports tonight that Maria Butina also turned up at the wedding of Mike Pence's national security adviser," said Maddow. "Mike Pence's national security adviser, Andrea Thompson, got married that summer of 2017, first summer of the Trump Administration. She's got that awesome new job. Getting married and Maria Butina was at the wedding. Why was she at the wedding? U.S. Person One, her boyfriend, Paul Erickson, was officiating the wedding. Oh. It also turns out that the man who Mike Pence's national security adviser, the man who Andrea Thompson was marrying at the wedding that day, he had recently given Paul Erickson $100,000."

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