The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has reported that it is currently looking into a paid peering agreement that Netflix has made with Comcast and Verizon, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler announced. The revelations are part of Netflix's continued efforts against what are being dubbed as "fast lanes" whereby companies can pay Internet Service Providers (ISP) for faster uploading and streaming speeds.
Netflix, along with a number of other top tech companies, including Google, have voiced their opposition against such moves by ISPs and has complained to the FCC over the way in which ISPs and others are charging streaming companies like Netflix.
According to Wheeler, the FCC does have "broad authority" in these matters, but added that the agency is in the midst of gathering data before entering into a full investigation or making any regulatory rulings.
"To be clear, what we are doing right now is collecting information, not regulating," he said.
Comcast has said that the FCC has had the agreement with Netflix for a number of months, although the FCC had not stated publicly whether they did, in fact, have the documents before this week's public statement on the matter.
The FCC and Wheeler has said that the agency is currently looking into this and other agreements in order to determine whether customers are getting the Internet service they are paying for, something that many Netflix users have said they are not, as a result of fast lanes making streaming more difficult.
The FCC has received much criticism from Netflix and others in recent months over those fast lanes, which many analysts say that if they are allowed to proliferate net neutrality and overall Internet access for all could be threatened.
"Consumers pay their ISP and they pay content providers like Hulu, Netflix or Amazon... Consumers must get what they pay for. As the consumer's representative we need to know what is going on," Wheeler said after an FCC meeting today.
"I have therefore directed the Commission staff to obtain the information we need to understand precisely what is happening in order to understand whether consumers are being harmed... We have received the agreements between Comcast and Netflix and Verizon and Netflix. We are currently in the process of asking for others."
For now, it is a waiting game for Netflix and others, to see whether the FCC will move against fast lanes or if they will throw their regulatory support behind larger corporations who have the means to pay for better service for users.