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.
“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.
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.