Netflix has defended Net Neutrality numerous times before, all the while having to ink interconnect deals with four major ISPs (including Comcast and TWC) to ensure its customers get an enjoyable movie streaming experience.
In its lengthy FCC petition, Netflix explains that a Comcast-TWC giant would have huge leverage over Netflix, Hulu and other competing providers, as it would not only be in a position to charge these services fees for faster service, but also provide competing video-on-demand services of its own which could further hurt video streaming companies, Engadget reports
Netflix also said that Comcast and TWC’s claims that there is enough competition in the business are disingenuous, as in many markets there’s no such competition, and DSL Internet service from AT&T and Verizon isn’t enough for Netflix video streaming.
This lack of competition will further put Comcast-TWC in a position in which it could intentionally slow traffic in “terminating networks,” where content moves from one network to the ISP’s to ask more money from a content service provider in exchange for better traffic.
Engadget points out that Dish has also petitioned the FCC against the same proposed merger, similarly highlighting the negative aspects of the Comcast-TWC deal.
The internet as we know it in America is about to fundamentally change, and it’s because our politics are too broken to stop it.
On Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal reported that the Federal Communications Commission is about to issue new rules for internet service providers that will allow them to create “fast lanes” of service that will allow companies like Netflix and Amazon to deliver their content faster than competitors. That’s a first for American internet policy, and it’s strictly against the rules in other countries, particularly in Europe.
Allowing big companies to pay for prioritized access to consumers flies in the face of the internet’s egalitarian ideals, which allow anyone or any company free access to a vibrant market free of tolls or restrictions — allow service providers like Comcast and AT&T to start creating artificial barriers to entry, and you make it harder for the next generation of college kids to start the next Facebook or Google. As a whole, the various rules that protect these ideals are generally called net neutrality — they’re the rules that say your service provider has to treat all internet traffic equally, and shouldn’t be allowed to block, degrade, or enhance access to certain websites or services.
It was actually illegal for service providers to create fast lanes in the US until January, when an appeals court struck down the FCC’s 2010 Open Internet rules after a lengthy court battle with Verizon. The 2010 rules were a big deal — President Obama even made the open internet a part of his 2008 campaign platform, saying “I’ll take a backseat to no one in my commitment to net neutrality.”