×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Netflix Chief Hastings: Comcast and Other Internet Providers Should Give Us Free Access

Comcast EVP responds that interconnection fees are a market-based solution to bandwidth issues

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings last month agreed to pay Comcast for direct connections to the cable giant’s Internet networks. But he isn’t happy about it.

The exec issued a call for a “strong” form of net neutrality that would prohibit broadband service providers like Comcast and AT&T from demanding payments from content companies like Netflix.

In a blog post published Thursday, Hastings argued that a new form of net neutrality is needed that “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.”

SEE ALSO: Why Hollywood Should Be Watching For Robust Net Neutrality Rules

Instead, according to the Netflix topper, “they must provide sufficient access to their network without charge,” Hastings wrote.

“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,” Hastings wrote. “A few weeks ago, we agreed to pay Comcast and our members are now getting a good experience again. Comcast has been an industry leader in supporting weak net neutrality, and we hope they’ll support strong net neutrality as well.”

In response, Comcast exec VP David L. Cohen, who oversees the company’s public-policy strategy, issued a statement contending that “there has been no company that has had a stronger commitment to openness of the Internet than Comcast.”

What Hastings called “weak” net neutrality were the previous FCC rules that an appeals court struck down in January. Those prohibited ISPs from blocking or degrading traffic based on source. But Comcast is still bound to abide by those rules until 2018, under its agreement with the U.S. government in connection with its deal for NBCUniversal.

Cohen said the agreement between Comcast and Netflix was “an amicable, market-based solution to our interconnection issues.”

“The Open Internet rules never were designed to deal with peering and Internet interconnection, which have been an essential part of the growth of the Internet for two decades,” he said. “Providers like Netflix have always paid for their interconnection to the Internet and have always had ample options to ensure that their customers receive an optimal performance through all ISPs at a fair price.”

SEE ALSO: Netflix CFO: Comcast Bandwidth Deal Doesn’t Change Our Economics

FCC chairman Tom Wheeler last month said the commission would seek to create new rules for net neutrality. But what form those take remains to be seen. Hastings’ missive today, while it did not explicitly advocate government intervention, appears aimed at pushing the Netflix agenda in the public debate.

Internet service providers say that Netflix consumes an excessive amount of bandwidth on their networks, and that Netflix isn’t entitled to unfettered access to their networks (in an industry arrangement known as settlement-free peering) because it dumps far more data on ISPs than it receives. Netflix’s streaming service accounts for about one-third of downstream Internet traffic during peak periods.

But Hastings contended that interconnection fees — like those Netflix is paying to Comcast — are an “arbitrary tax” that broadband providers are charging simply because they have the market clout to do so.

“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,” the Netflix CEO wrote.

More Digital

  • Roku headquarters

    Roku Aims to Top $1 Billion in Revenue in 2019, Beats Holiday Quarter Earnings Expectations

    Roku wants to become a billion-dollar company in 2019. The streaming device maker told investors Thursday that it projects to generate between $1 billion and $1.025 billion this year. Roku made this announcement as part of its Q4 earnings release, which showed that it exceeded the market’s expectations for the holiday quarter. The company reported [...]

  • Vice Media

    Vice Media Taps Joe Simon as Chief Technology Officer (EXCLUSIVE)

    Joe Simon has been tapped as chief technology officer at Vice Media. The newly created role will include oversight of data analytics, engineering, information technology, media operations, media technology, post production, and systems management. Prior to Vice, Simon spent three years as Encompass Digital Media’s chief operating officer. Previously he held the chief technology officer [...]

  • att_logo

    AT&T Suspends YouTube Ad Spending as Boycott Over 'Pedophilia' Videos Scandal Widens

    AT&T, one month after it thought it was safe to advertise on YouTube again, said it is pulling all advertising spending from the world’s biggest video platform. The telco joins a boycott by marketers alarmed by the discovery that a secret group of child predators has been using YouTube to make sexual comments about kids. [...]

  • VR Pop-Up Opens Doors in Manhattan

    Future of Storytelling Pop-Up VR Arcade Is Coming to Manhattan

    Manhattan is getting a location-based virtual reality (VR) pop-up, courtesy of Future of Storytelling: The temporary Story Arcade will open its doors in the Starrett-Lehigh building this coming Saturday, and host a number of VR experiences, including Felix & Paul Studio’s “Traveling While Black,” Fable’s “Wolves in the Walls” and MWM Interactive’s immersive theater VR [...]

  • Amy Winehouse

    Amy Winehouse Hologram Tour Canceled Over 'Challenges and Sensitivities'

    Amy Winehouse will not be “Back to Black” in a holographic live tour after all. The late British singer, who died in 2011, was to be featured in a stage show slated to launch near the end of 2019. But the producer of the show, BASE Hologram, has indefinitely postponed plans for the Winehouse show, [...]

  • Jennifer Lopez

    Jennifer Lopez Joins TikTok App to Promote NBC's 'World of Dance'

    Jennifer Lopez is the latest celebrity to hop on TikTok, the short-form video app owned by Chinese internet giant ByteDance — more proof of the app’s growing traction, and reflective of media companies’ desire to reach its young-skewing base. Lopez had a very specific aim: to get fans excited about “World of Dance,” the NBC [...]

  • HTC Vive Announces Focus Plus VR

    HTC Vive Announces Focus Plus VR Headset With Dual 6DoF Controllers

    HTC Vive revealed its latest standalone virtual reality headset on Thursday. The Vive Focus Plus upgrades the company’s existing headset by incorporating dual six-degrees-of-freedom (6DoF) controllers, promising users the same freedom as PC VR devices. Adding the second controller will also make it easier for developers to port existing PC VR content, while making it [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content