In a blogpost published today, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings is speaking out against net neutrality saying that a strong case can be made for a fair and equal internet. We all know it has been a long and ridiculous fight that has shown a serious bias in favor of corporations. In spite of overwhelming public outrage, net neutrality has essentially been demolished thanks to the defeated case against it by the FCC.
This weak net neutrality isn’t enough to protect an open, competitive Internet; a stronger form of net neutrality is required, the post said, referencing certain ISPs that maintain this neutrality in spite of a legal ability to exploit streaming services.
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.
Recently, Netflix’s service has been cut down in performance thanks to ISPs like Comcast that are unabashed about their extortion. Once they paid the exorbitant fees to restore service, the stream was once more opened and users were able to get the results they had paid for.
Some big ISPs are extracting a toll because they can — they effectively control access to millions of consumers and are willing to sacrifice the interests of their own customers to press Netflix and others to pay. Though they have the scale and power to do this, they should realize it is in their long term interest to back strong net neutrality. While in the short term Netflix will in cases reluctantly pay large ISPs to ensure a high quality member experience, we will continue to fight for the Internet the world needs and deserves.
This is the true irony of the situation. Comcast in particular has been pissing off its customers for years. I am a reluctant member of that camp, as I have no other choice in my area. But new services are popping up all the time, many independent. Where they open availability, people flock to drop their ISP. Now Google is taking Fiber to new areas, which is further losing Comcast customers.
Now that ISPs like AT&T are getting on board with this, they are isolating their own paid subscribers more and more. They may have a market share now, but it won’t be more than a few years before that hold loosens. Then the businesses will crumble.
It can’t come soon enough.