By now we've all heard of the upcoming merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable. Many feel that this merger should not happen, and now Netflix has officially filed a petition to the FCC demanding that it not allow Comcast and Time Warner Cable to proceed.
If TWC and Comcast merge, it would create the largest broadband cable provider in the US, controlling about two thirds of the market. Without a doubt, the company would start to look an awful lot like a monopoly, which is against the public's interest, as a company of that size with that much power can be used to abuse its position and its subscribers.
Comcast's defense against this argument is that it doesn't compete with Time Warner Cable anyway, because they do not operate in the same service areas. Of course, that doesn't change the sentiment of a single cable provider controlling two thirds of the cable broadband in the US into a good thing.
Naturally, Netflix likely also has its own reasons for not wanting the merger to go through. In a market where the ISPs are in a position to decide which traffic gets priority network access and which doesn't, the way that a company like Netflix can survive is by having its subscribers spread out over a various number of ISPs throughout the country. Aside from strongly supporting an open Internet via net neutrality, it is therefore certainly not in Netflix's interest to have the majority of its subscribers access its services through a provider that it doesn't get along with very well.
Just a couple of days ago Netflix also agreed to pay Time Warner Cable in order to improve the service to its subscribers over the TWC network. It did the same for AT&T a while back, as well as two other large cable broadband providers.
Netflix does not want to resort to these deals if possible, but for the time being they do appear to be a necessary evil for the time being. If the FCC decides to reclassify broadband access as a telecommunications service, it will disallow ISPs to prioritize certain data packets, which in turn makes it illegal for ISPs to charge content providers like Netflix for equal access to their networks.
So in the public's best interest, there are two decisions that the FCC needs to make: stop the merger, and reclassify broadband access as a telecommunications service. What we're curious about is why it is taking so long for this conclusion to be reached if the majority of the population is wondering why any thought has to be put into this decision at all.