Why wait for net neutrality to be killed by the FTC? With Netflix responsible for 33% of the downstream traffic in the U.S., the company is looking to keep speeds up. On the heels of the Comcast deal, Netflix has signed a deal with Verizon to provide a direct connection between its servers and Verizon’s network.
Though they are signing deals with ISPs, Netflix is continuing to demand strong net neutrality rules. While a powerhouse in the online streaming content wars, Amazon fired its own salvo when it signed as the exclusive provider of HBO streaming content. Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix, is a strong supporter of the ‘last mile’. Under this, users would get equal access to websites.
If the FTC backs this view, it would make the Verizon and Comcast deals unnecessary. The question is, will they? The proposed rules already have a fast lane baked in. To avoid a tiered Internet, the citizens of the Internet will probably have to go the SOPA protest route. The hypocrisy of political parties is staggering when it comes to this issue.
Republicans are quick to attack net neutrality on one hand, but say that small businesses are the backbone of America. Who do you think gets hurt in a tiered Internet? Speed is one of the biggest factors in conversions.
As for President Obama? Expecting him to live up to his campaign promise of net neutrality without significant pressure is laughable at best. We do need net neutrality, and not so Netflix can avoid accessing the bond market to fuel their fast lane deals.
As for the stock, Netflix has been under pressure as of late as momentum stocks are the first to get hit in a bearish setting on Wall Street. Investors have the stock trading slightly higher on the day, but its three-month performance is decidedly negative. If Comcast gets the rubber stamp on the TWC deal, at least Netflix will avoid another deal.
If Netflix is actually pro-net neutrality, maybe they should quit creating the environment for killing it. Once the dollars start flowing, it becomes increasingly difficult to turn back the clock.