Netflix was a major opponent of Comcast's bid to acquire Time Warner Cable, but it's a lot more amenable to TWC's latest partner. In an FCC filing today, Netflix argued for letting the telecommunications company merge with Charter Communications. The deal, which values Time Warner Cable at $78.7 billion, would see a company called New Charter replace Time Warner Cable as the second largest cable provider in the country. It would also extend Charter's new no-fee interconnection policy through the end of 2018 — and that's the part Netflix is really interested in.
"Charter's new peering policy is a welcome and significant departure from the efforts of some ISPs to collect access tolls on the internet," writes Netflix. If the merger goes through, web companies will get the same treatment on the old Time Warner Cable network. "Netflix believes that this new policy and the commitment to apply it across the 'New Charter' footprint is a substantial public interest benefit and will support scaling the internet to support consumers' growing demand for online services and help foster continued innovation across the internet ecosystem."
Netflix has very publicly feuded with internet service providers over how to support its heavy traffic load. It's argued that the direct connection between web services and ISPs should fall under net neutrality policy, preventing companies like Comcast, Charter, or Time Warner Cable for charging for access. Last year, though, it struck a deal with Comcast to deliver its video more smoothly, then signed similar agreements with Time Warner Cable and other ISPs. While net neutrality's popularity gave Netflix an ideological boost, this particular decision is all about business.