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Neflix to pay Comcast for faster, smoother streaming: Will Comcast deliver?

Daily Ticker

When the announcement was made Sunday that Netflix (NFLX) would pay Comcast (CMCSA) for faster, reliable service for its subscribers, reactions were mixed.

Related: Next up for Netflix? More profits

Some were concerned about its impact on net neutrality--the ability for consumers to access any content they choose without restrictions imposed by their Internet provider. Others said it could impact the government's approval of Comcast's bid to buy Time Warner Cable (TWC) because it illustrates the growing power of Comcast, the nation's largest cable operator.

The Daily Ticker's Henry Blodget says the Netflix/Comcast agreement is none of the above. "It's not a big deal," says Blodget. He describes it as a "back-end deal" that simply removes the middleman that Netflix paid to access Comcast's broadband network. Now Netflix will get direct access to Comcast's broadband network by connecting its own servers to Comcast.

Related: Comcast and Time Warner Cable merger: What it means for consumers

Details about how much Netflix will pay Comcast compared to what it's been paying middlemen weren't disclosed but Blodget says he doesn't think the cost is a big one and Netflix "could possibly pay less" than it's been paying.

The big question is willl Netflix consumers get better, faster service? The average speeds of Netflix's prime-time streams to Comcast subscribers reportedly fell 27% from October to January, according to The Wall Street Journal. Netflix hopes the direct connection to Comcast will eliminate the traffic jams that caused those delays.

Tell us what you think, especially if you're a Comcast AND Netflix subscriber, in the comment section below!

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