Netflix Applauds President’s Call For Title II

Says Strong Rules Will Prevent ISPs From Abusing ‘Gatekeeper Power’
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Netflix weighed in on President Obama’s request that the FCC reclassify broadband under Title II, and leading provider of streaming video services offered unsurprising support for it.

"We applaud both the White House and the FCC's efforts to keep the Internet open and free,” Netflix said in a statement. “Strong net neutrality rules will ensure Internet service providers don't abuse their gatekeeper power by imposing tolls to reach their customers or establishing paid fast lanes. Consumers should decide winners and losers on the Internet, not broadband companies."

Netflix has been urging the FCC to pursue “stronger” network neutrality rules following recent paid interconnection deals with Comcast, Verizon Communications, AT&T and Time Warner Cable (Bright House Networks is also benefiting from the TWC/Netflix peering deal).   

Netflix, which has called such deals an “arbitrary tax” on it and other OTT video providers, said it has reluctantly signed those interconnection agreements in order to ensure that its customers have a high quality experience. Netflix’s preference is that ISPs join Open Connect, its private content delivery network that relies on edge caches.

Netflix has also asked the FCC to include paid peering and interconnection deals into the discussions as the Commission pursues new network neutrality rules.

The plan outlined by President Obama would prevent blocking of legal online content and Web sites and paid prioritization, the elimination of “throttling,” and an “increased transparency” component that, if necessary, could apply  net neutrality rules to points of interconnection between ISPs and the rest of the Internet.

ISPs say the deals are commonplace, most still involve no payments, and when they do it is because the relationship is too one-sided. The term "peering" comes from the fact that most traffic exchangers were peers in the sense of exchanging about the same amount of traffic.

Some ISPs, notably Comcast, also argue that Netflix created congestion to make a political point. "This was part of a strategy by Netflix… to create a problem in the backbone in order to make a broader point that had nothing to do with the consumer interest, which was that they wanted to make the point that it was better for them to have free interconnection,” Comcast told the FCC in a filing on its proposed merger with Time Warner Cable.

--John Eggerton contributed to this story.