Netflix is the world’s largest Internet television provider, with over 48 million users who watch more than one billion hours of shows per month. Today, they have responded to the FCC’s open debate on the proposed net neutrality rules, urging for the protection of the open Internet model as is.
Netflix believes, as we do, that allowing paid prioritization will quickly turn the Internet into more of a closed platform, like cable television, and will ultimately inhibit forward innovation. Netflix also pointed out, similar to the D.C Circuit court in the affiliated Verizon case, that the FCC should reclassify broadband Internet access as a telecommunications service with all rights that come with those open communication laws.
Here is the executive summary, printed in verbatim, from the Netflix filing:
Adopting strong net neutrality is the best way to support the virtuous circle of increasing
investment in broadband networks and the applications that drive the demand for faster,
more affordable Internet access. To ensure that the Internet continues to grow as
platform for consumer choice and economic growth, the Commission should use all the
statutory and non-statutory tools at its disposal to adopt strong open Internet protections.
Netflix urges the FCC to protect openness, not only on the last mile, but also at the point
of interconnection to the last mile. Failing to address interconnection abuse by
terminating Internet Service Providers (ISPs) will undermine the efficacy of any open
Internet or consumer protection rule that the Commission adopts in these proceedings.
As important as they are, last-mile protections are insufficient if ISPs can move
discriminatory conduct to interconnection points with content providers.
The “commercially reasonable” standard proposed by the Commission appears neither
clear enough nor strong enough to protect an open Internet. The Commission’s proposal
would, for the first time since the beginning of the commercial Internet, authorize an ISP
to charge content providers for prioritized access to consumers. By endorsing the
concept of paid prioritization, as well as ambiguous enforcement standards and processes,
the Commission’s proposed rules arguably turn the objective of Internet openness on its
head—allowing the Internet to look more like a closed platform, such as a cable
television service, rather than an open and innovative platform driven by consumers and
the virtuous circle. Given this, no FCC rules would be preferable to rules endorsing paid
priority deals on the Internet.
The Commission should adopt clear and strong open Internet protections that prevent
blocking, interconnection access tolls, unreasonable discrimination, and paid
prioritization on any point in the network controlled by the terminating ISP.
Transparency rules should be augmented to require ISPs to provide meaningful, real-time
disclosures of network performance and congestion to keep the public properly informed.
The Internet is at a crossroads. Down one road—a road defined by the Commission’s
failure to put in place meaningful open Internet rules—is an Internet that looks more like
cable TV, one characterized by legalized discrimination, carriage disputes,
gamesmanship, and content blackouts which harms consumers. Down another road is a
scalable, more affordable, and open Internet built on strong network neutrality rules and a
policy of settlement-free interconnection to last mile ISP network.
Netflix urges the FCC to focus on policies that will set the foundations for the Internet’s
long-term growth. No rules would be better than rules legalizing discrimination on the
Learn how you can also send the FCC your comments here.