Showing posts with label Federal Communications Commission. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Federal Communications Commission. Show all posts

Thursday, March 5, 2015

What Netflix CFO David Wells Really Said About Net Neutrality and Title II Yesterday

For anyone interested in what Netflix Chief Financial Officer David Wells actually said about net neutrality during yesterday’s Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom Conference, here’s both the audio of his talk and the excerpt related to the FCC’s recent vote and Title II:

The full audio is here. [Net neutrality question and answer starts at 34:50.]

“So, over the last year, we've been very pleased that we've been able to rise the issues beyond that narrow piece out into the public consciousness, and I think that, that has come before. Were we pleased that it pushed to Title II, probably not, right? I mean, we were hoping that, there might be a non-regulated solution to it. But it seems like companies that are pursuing their commercial interests including us have to arrive at something like that. So we're super pleased that there is now a notion, at least a vehicle, for a complaint where if we are in the position we were in 12 to 18 months ago, where we can show you what it looks like if you're a subscriber on one ISP versus another. The notion of “well we're paying this one” and that these people are getting better service, even though they’re both paying their consumer price for bandwidth. So I would say we are very pleased with what's been accomplished. You know when you're successful as the ISPs are at providing a service. Essentially Internet has become a utility. If you think about people's willingness to drop their broadband, I think there's been some studies that they're willing to drop many other things including buying milk before they dropped their broadband. That's a pretty strong indicator that you've got something that has become, you know, a utility. And in our opinion it was very important to protect those notions.”

Anne Marie

Anne Marie Squeo is a member of the Netflix communications team.  

Monday, January 5, 2015

The Misconception About Internet Fast Lanes

In the ongoing discussion about net neutrality, there’s been quite a bit of confusion about so-called fast lanes on the Internet. I’d like to spend a few moments clarifying what these fast lanes are and why they are not a good thing. While some media reports have suggested otherwise, Netflix and other Internet content providers are not using fast lanes to deliver their content to consumers.   

First, what’s a fast lane on the Internet?  Simply put, a fast lane is where one person’s data travelling on an Internet Service Providers (ISPs) last-mile network gets priority delivery over another’s. A helpful way to think about fast lanes is by visualizing cars on a multi-lane highway where one of the lanes can only be used if you pay a toll. The toll lane only becomes attractive because the other lanes are too slow. Only the person controlling the network -- the ISP -- can slow down traffic to make someone else’s go faster.

From a network architecture standpoint, fast lanes aren’t that useful if you’re managing your network effectively. From a marketing perspective, however, they might be quite useful as a way to sell “premium” access to content providers.

This creates two fundamental problems.  Allowing fast lanes gives ISPs a perverse incentive to boost revenues by allowing their networks to congest. It also gives them outsize power to pick winners and losers on the Internet. Those who can’t pay for fast lanes will suffer, entrenching incumbents while undermining the innovative power of the Internet. While the largest ISPs have said they’re not interested in creating fast lanes, one need only look at how they have sought to monetize their network interconnection points to get a glimpse of the future.

It is at these points -- where our traffic enters an ISPs network -- where Netflix and others have been forced to pay Comcast, Verizon, AT&T and Time Warner access fees to reach our mutual customers. Without those payments, ISPs allowed these connection points to congest, resulting in a poor video streaming experience for Netflix users on those networks. While Netflix was able to meet the demand for payments, we continue to believe this practice stands in contrast to an open Internet and all its promise.

After we paid up, our traffic began moving at the same speed as everyone else not facing congestion. This is important, because this is where confusion often arises. Netflix and other content providers are not using fast lanes when they connect with an ISP’s last-mile networks. That is true in cases where we’ve had to make payments as well as when ISPs take advantage of Netflix’s Open Connect Content Delivery Network (CDN). Open Connect brings Netflix content to the location of an ISPs choice, usually at a common Internet exchange or through localized caches. It doesn’t prioritize the data Netflix users have requested. Rather it makes delivery of it more efficient for us and for the ISP.

Right now, there are no paid fast lanes on the Internet. That’s a good thing. A large part of the debate about net neutrality is focused on ensuring it stays that way. If ISPs are allowed to sell fast lanes, competition for various Internet sites and services will become less about the value of what’s offered and more about who can pay the most to deliver it faster. It would be the very opposite environment than the one the Internet created.


Ken Florance is vice president of content delivery at Netflix.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Netflix Supports FCC Chairman's Call for Increased Broadband Competition

Nearly everything we do today requires an Internet connection. Its persistent, increasing presence in our lives makes today's comments by FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler all the more important.  If the future of broadband competition is 'inexorably tied' to America's economic opportunity, how can we settle for a situation where nearly three-quarters of Americans lack a competitive choice for fast Internet service? 

Given today's broad array of Internet uses, 25 Mbps is 'table stakes' for consumers. These fast connections enable consumers to enjoy movies, games, online classes and more. Open Internet connections enable innovators to build the next-generation of Internet companies with the assurance their content or application can reach consumers without interference. Efficient businesses such as these make the U.S. more competitive with other countries that enjoy faster Internet speeds at lower costs. 

As is the case in most industries, improvements such as faster speeds or lower prices generally result from real competition. Without it, there are no market pressures to set appropriate pricing and no alternatives for consumers and businesses alike. As Chairman Wheeler rightly points out, “last-mile power cannot be a lever for gaining an unfair advantage.” 

In his speech and Agenda for Broadband Competition, the Chairman forcefully stated a hard truth - there simply is not enough competition to protect consumers and businesses who rely on the Internet. It takes real leadership for our country to chart a positive agenda for bigger, faster, cheaper broadband and all the innovation it brings. 


Christopher Libertelli is Netflix's vice president of global public policy

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Netflix Submits FCC Comments on Proposed Net Neutrality Rules

We submitted our comments to the Federal Communications Commission in the Net Neutrality proceeding (which the FCC calls “In the matter of protecting and promoting an open Internet.”) We believe the way the FCC handles this issue will have a huge impact on the Internet innovation that has increased consumer choice in so many ways.   

Here are a few highlights from our filing:

  • Netflix believes that achieving strong net neutrality is critical to maintaining a vibrant, open Internet to promote free expression, diversity of content, and continued innovation. ISPs should not impede, favor, or charge Internet services that consumers choose to use.  To prevent this, the Commission should adopt clear enforceable anti-discrimination and no-blocking rules for the last mile.  The Commission also must require ISPs to provide sufficient interconnection to cover the capacity demanded and paid for by their customers, without charging access tolls to online content providers. (Comments Page 25)

  • The Commission’s proposal does little to protect the open Internet.  In fact, 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 the virtuous circle. (Comments Page 4)

  • Allowing ISPs to monetize congestion will likely create more congestion, threatening the current model that has made the Internet so successful, and likely raising barriers for innovative services.  (Comments Page 6)

  • Title II provides a solid basis to adopt prohibitions on blocking and unreasonable discrimination by ISPs. …The D.C. Circuit in Verizon pointed to the Commission’s failure to reclassify broadband Internet access as a telecommunications service under Title II as the chief impediment to a solid jurisdictional basis for meaningful open Internet rules. (Comments Page 21)

Anne Marie

Anne Marie Squeo is a member of the Netflix communications team.