CEO of Netflix Reed Hastings says, We Paid Comcast Because of No Strong Net Neutrality

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, pictured at the company's headquarters in Los Gatos, Calif., Friday, May 16, 2008, wrote a blog post calling for strong net neutrality rules. IMAGE: PAUL SAKUMA/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, pictured at the company’s headquarters in Los Gatos, Calif., Friday, May 16, 2008, wrote a blog post calling for strong net neutrality rules.
IMAGE: PAUL SAKUMA/ASSOCIATED PRESS

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings has issued something of a veiled threat in a blog post published on Thursday — the U.S. needs to instate strong net neutrality rules or pay-for-interconnection deals like the one it signed with Comcast will become common.

In the post, Hastings lays out how his streaming video service has suffered due to the lack of “strong” net neutrality rules.

“This weak net neutrality isn’t enough to protect an open, competitive Internet; a stronger form of net neutrality is required,” he wrote. “Strong net neutrality additionally prevents ISPs from charging a toll for interconnection to services like Netflix, YouTube, or Skype, or intermediaries such as Cogent, Akamai or Level 3, to deliver the services and data requested by ISP residential subscribers. Instead, they must provide sufficient access to their network without charge.”

Interconnection helps alleviate network congestion that can hamper data-heavy services. Hastings admitted that Netflix recently paid Comcast to make an interconnection between its networks.

“Netflix believes strong net neutrality is critical, but in the near term we will in cases pay the toll to the powerful ISPs to protect our consumer experience,” he wrote. “When we do so, we don’t pay for priority access against competitors, just for interconnection. A few weeks ago, we agreed to pay Comcast and our members are now getting a good experience again.”

The blog post comes as the Federal Communications Commission works to rewrite the net neutrality rules that were struck down by a D.C. Court of Appeals.

Previous net neutrality rules did not touch on interconnection and peering, which BTIG Research called “the Internet Issue of 2014.”

Comcast responded to the blog post, issuing a comment from David L. Cohen, executive vice president of Comcast.

“There has been no company that has had a stronger commitment to openness of the Internet than Comcast,” Cohen wrote. “We supported the FCC’s Open Internet rules because they struck the appropriate balance between consumer protection and reasonable network management rights for ISPs. We are now the only ISP in the country that is bound by them.”

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Source: Mashable.com | Jason Abbruzzese

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