The mixed signals continue from Netflix. They loudly voice support for strong net neutrality, yet keep paying cable companies for a direct connection and faster streams. They’ve already paid Comcast, Verizon and AT&T. This week we learn Time Warner Cable is the latest to get paid by Netflix for direct access.
According to a Netflix spokesman, this will be the last deal in the U.S. “Just a handful of US ISPs have required these access tolls, with Time Warner being the last of the four,” said the spokesman.
Netflix is in a tough spot right now. Net neutrality is a must, and Netflix is an ardent supporter. But, ISPs will fight tooth and nail now that they have been paid by Netflix. Netflix could decide not to pay them, but then they would have to worry about losing customers.
It’s funny. ISPs claim Netflix is clogging their networks, yet a little cash seems to fix the problem. Funny how that works.
Reed Hastings wrote an article for Wired yesterday as part of their Save the Net series. In it Hastings writes, “It’s worth noting that Netflix connects directly with hundreds of ISPs globally, and 99 percent of those agreements don’t involve access fees. It is only a handful of the largest U.S. ISPs, which control the majority of consumer connections, demanding this toll. Why would more profitable, larger companies charge for connections and capacity that smaller companies provide for free? Because they can.”
Hastings ends his article saying they would be better off with no rules than the ones being proposed. These rules “simply legalize discrimination on the internet.”