Netflix Working Against Net Neutrality, Says FCC Commissioner

Netflix Working Against Net Neutrality, Says FCC Commissioner
NFLX Photo by Matt Perreault

Netflix is accused of seeking ways to grab fast lanes for own videos despite the fact that the streaming company is advocating a level Internet playing field.

Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) was allegedly making efforts to “effectively secure” Internet “fast lanes” for its content, claims a letter from FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai to Netflix CEO Reed Hastings. The online streaming company has been strongly advocating net neutrality, making Pai’s comments somewhat embarrassing.

Is Netflix being unfair?

Pai said that it is unfair on the part of Netflix as its actions “raise an apparent conflict with Netflix’s advocacy for strong net neutrality regulations.”

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Pai said that according to the recent reports, Netflix is shying away from supporting the efforts to develop open standards for streaming videos. Pai went on to say that the company has been involved in at least testing the measures that do not support an open standard for streaming video. Also, the streaming company has made amendments to protocols that hinders open caching software from correctly identifying and caching Netflix traffic.

Further, the FCC Commissioner said that Netflix represents such a large part of overall online streaming content that threatens the viability of open standards. If the norms that the industry collectively agrees on cannot identify and route Netflix traffic, then such standards are not of much benefit to digital video consumers.

Technical clarification needed

Netflix depends heavily on carriers, cable companies and other ISPs (Internet service providers) to carry its content to the users. Much of the debate over net neutrality boils down to a dilemma whether or not Internet companies like Netflix pay network owners to ensure proper running of their services over the network.

If there is truth in Pai’s statement, then it can be argued that the online video streaming company was working to deform or otherwise alter the fabric of the Internet in its favor. This will qualify the company an entity that is ready to use its cash advantage to increase its market position, which contradicts Net Neutrality.

There has been no comment from Netflix yet, but the online streaming company needs to clarify these issues. The streaming company must provide an explanation to answer Pai, who has asked Netflix to respond to the allegations by Dec. 16.

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