Why did Netflix pay Comcast to stream its videos faster? Because Netflix was losing customers.

com netThat’s according to a petition Netflix filed to the Federal Communications Commission this week in opposition to Comcast’s (CMCSA) proposed mega-merger with Time Warner Cable (TWC).

In February, Netflix reluctantly agreed to pay Comcast to directly connect to its network. Prior to the direct connect, Netflix delivered its videos to Comcast customers via third parties, including Cogent Communications (CCOI). But Comcast customers experienced abysmal Netflix speeds — among the worst in the country.

Netflix speeds became so slow in December 2013 and January 2014 that customers grew irate, Netflix said in its petition. Calls made to Netflix’s customer support center about slow-loading videos more than quadrupled during those months.  More