Netflix Fears ‘Internet Tolls’

The company wants to expand federal rules on Internet speeds.

A sign is posted in front of the Netflix headquarters on January 22, 2014 in Los Gatos, California. 
National Journal
Brendan Sasso
Add to Briefcase
See more stories about...
Brendan Sasso
March 20, 2014, 4:43 p.m.

Net­flix is call­ing for new fed­er­al reg­u­la­tions to en­sure it doesn’t have to pay ex­tra fees to de­liv­er high-qual­ity video streams to its cus­tom­ers.

In a blog post Thursday, Net­flix CEO Reed Hast­ings warned that without gov­ern­ment in­ter­ven­tion, ne­go­ti­ations between Web ser­vices and In­ter­net pro­viders over con­nec­tion deals could res­ult in the kinds of black­outs that already plague cable tele­vi­sion.

Last month, Net­flix agreed to pay for dir­ect ac­cess to Com­cast’s net­work. The agree­ment en­sured smooth stream­ing for Com­cast sub­scribers who watch Net­flix, but it was the first time the Web video com­pany had ever had to pay for such a dir­ect con­nec­tion deal. Hast­ings called the fee that Com­cast de­man­ded an “ar­bit­rary tax.”

“If this kind of lever­age is ef­fect­ive against Net­flix, which is pretty large, ima­gine the plight of smal­ler ser­vices today and in the fu­ture,” Hast­ings wrote in the blog post.

The Net­flix chief ex­ec­ut­ive urged the Fed­er­al Com­mu­nic­a­tions Com­mis­sion to bar In­ter­net pro­viders from “char­ging a toll” for in­ter­con­nec­tion deals.

The FCC en­acted net neut­ral­ity rules in 2010 that re­quire In­ter­net pro­viders to treat all In­ter­net traffic equally, but the rules nev­er covered in­ter­con­nec­tion deals like the one between Net­flix and Com­cast.

The FCC is cur­rently try­ing to re­work its net neut­ral­ity rules after a fed­er­al court sided with Ve­r­i­zon in Janu­ary and tossed out the old rules.

Hast­ings ar­gued that the FCC should ex­pand the new rules to en­sure that Web ser­vices have free ac­cess to In­ter­net pro­viders’ net­works.

“The es­sence of net neut­ral­ity is that [In­ter­net ser­vice pro­viders] such as AT&T and Com­cast don’t re­strict, in­flu­ence or oth­er­wise meddle with the choices con­sumers make,” he said. “The tra­di­tion­al form of net neut­ral­ity which was re­cently over­turned by a Ve­r­i­zon law­suit is im­port­ant, but in­suf­fi­cient.”

In a state­ment, Com­cast claimed it is a strong sup­port­er of net neut­ral­ity but that the rules were nev­er in­ten­ded to deal with In­ter­net con­nec­tion deals.

“Pro­viders like Net­flix have al­ways paid for their in­ter­con­nec­tion to the In­ter­net and have al­ways had ample op­tions to en­sure that their cus­tom­ers re­ceive an op­tim­al per­form­ance through all ISPs at a fair price,” Dav­id L. Co­hen, Com­cast’s ex­ec­ut­ive vice pres­id­ent, said in a state­ment.

“We are happy that Com­cast and Net­flix were able to reach an am­ic­able, mar­ket-based solu­tion to our in­ter­con­nec­tion is­sues and be­lieve that our agree­ment demon­strates the ef­fect­ive­ness of the mar­ket as a mech­an­ism to deal with these mat­ters.

What We're Following See More »
TRUMP CONTINUES TO LAWYER UP
Kasowitz Out, John Dowd In
3 days ago
THE LATEST

As the Russia investigation heats up, "the role of Marc E. Kasowitz, the president’s longtime New York lawyer, will be significantly reduced. Mr. Trump liked Mr. Kasowitz’s blunt, aggressive style, but he was not a natural fit in the delicate, politically charged criminal investigation. The veteran Washington defense lawyer John Dowd will take the lead in representing Mr. Trump for the Russia inquiry."

Source:
ALSO INQUIRES ABOUT PARDON POWER
Trump Looking to Discredit Mueller
3 days ago
THE LATEST

President Trump's attorneys are "actively compiling a list of Mueller’s alleged potential conflicts of interest, which they say could serve as a way to stymie his work." They plan to argued that Mueller is going outside the scope of his investigation, in inquiring into Trump's finances. They're also playing small ball, highlighting "donations to Democrats by some of" Mueller's team, and "an allegation that Mueller and Trump National Golf Club in Northern Virginia had a dispute over membership fees when Mueller resigned as a member in 2011." Trump is said to be incensed that Mueller may see his tax returns, and has been asking about his power to pardon his family members.

Source:
INCLUDES NY PROBE INTO MANAFORT
Why Yes, Mueller Is Looking into Trump Businesses
3 days ago
THE LATEST

In addition to ties between Russia and the Trump campaign, Robert Mueller's team is also "examining a broad range of transactions involving Trump’s businesses as well as those of his associates, according to a person familiar with the probe. FBI investigators and others are looking at Russian purchases of apartments in Trump buildings, Trump’s involvement in a controversial SoHo development in New York with Russian associates, the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow, and Trump’s sale of a Florida mansion to a Russian oligarch in 2008, the person said. The investigation also has absorbed a money-laundering probe begun by federal prosecutors in New York into Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort."

Source:
Mueller Expands Probe to Trump Business Transactions
3 days ago
THE DETAILS

Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team is "is examining a broad range of transactions involving Trump’s businesses as well as those of his associates", including "Russian purchases of apartments in Trump buildings, Trump’s involvement in a controversial SoHo development with Russian associates, the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow and Trump’s sale of a Florida mansion to a Russian oligarch in 2008."

Source:
ANALYSIS FROM CBO
32 Million More Uninsured by 2026 if Obamacare Repealed
3 days ago
THE LATEST

"A Senate bill to gut Obamacare would increase the number of uninsured people by 32 million and double premiums on Obamacare's exchanges by 2026, according to an analysis from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. The analysis is of a bill that passed Congress in 2015 that would repeal Obamacare's taxes and some of the mandates. Republicans intend to leave Obamacare in place for two years while a replacement is crafted and implemented."

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login