Netflix‘s CEO Reed Hastings doesn’t hesitate when it comes to voicing his opinion, and he has had quite a bit to say about net neutrality and related issues. He has once again taken up a pen and put his thoughts out for all to hear, this time zeroing in on large ISPs and the mergers that create them.
In the recent past, Netflix has thrown in the towel and entered into peer agreements with some of the nation’s biggest ISPs, forking over payment to improve its subscribers’ streaming experience. It has done so “reluctantly”, Hastings pointed out. He went on to say, “The next Netflix won’t stand a chance if the largest US Internet service providers are allowed to merge or demand extra fees” from companies like Netflix.
Only a few of the biggest service providers in the United States charge Netflix for a direct connection, and says Hastings: “Why would more profitable, larger companies charge for connections and capacity that smaller companies provide for free? Because they can.”
Not surprisingly, Hastings — and, subsequently, Netflix — opposes Comcast’s attempt to acquire Time Warner Cable, saying that Comcast has already used its position to strong-arm Netflix into paying access fees. By absorbing TWC, Comcast would be even better positioned to “wield this power”, and threaten the nature of the Internet.
To help combat this, the FCC has to stop focusing “only on last-mile connections”, and expand its attention to include what goes on “further upstream”. It is a do-or-die perspective, and Hastings drive his point home when he asserts: “It would be better to have no rules than the ones being proposed — which simply legalize discrimination on the Internet.”