Netflix boss calls for net neutrality to be strengthened

Netflix co-founder and CEO, Reed Hastings

Netflix co-founder and CEO, Reed Hastings

Netflix founder and CEO Reed Hastings has called for net neutrality to be “defended and strengthened” in order to protect an open, competitive internet.

In an official blog post, Hastings said that internet service providers must provide “sufficient access to their network without charge,” claiming that failure to do so would create a poor consumer experience and harm smaller internet service companies.

“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,” said Hastings.

He claimed that while some major ISPs in the US already practise strong net neutrality, others have constrained Netflix’s performance through a “lack of sufficient interconnectivity.”

“Once Netflix agrees to pay the ISP interconnection fees, however, sufficient capacity is made available and high quality service for consumers is restored. If this kind of leverage is effective against Netflix, which is pretty large, imagine the plight of smaller services today and in the future,” said Hastings.

He added that “roughly the same arbitrary tax is demanded from the intermediaries such as Cogent and Level 3, who supply millions of websites with connectivity.”

The comments follow Netflix’s recent deal with Comcast that saw the OTT service pay for direct access to Comcast’s network in order to deliver a better quality service to the ISP’s subscribers.

“Without strong net neutrality, big ISPs can demand potentially escalating fees for the interconnection required to deliver high quality service. The big ISPs can make these demands – driving up costs and prices for everyone else – because of their market position,” said Hastings.

“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.”

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