Not so fast on net neutrality

Why would Netflix or anyone else pay for preferential treatment on the last mile when they could still be subject to a toll to get onto the last mile?

Fear of peers

There’s clearly plenty of user-experience mischief that can be made upstream of the last mile.

Today in Connected Consumer

Back when the Federal Communications Commission was considering whether to adopt net neutrality regulations, Netflix emerged as something of a poster child for the pro-neutrality perspective. The rules were necessary, neutrality advocates argued, to prevent ISPs like Comcast from blocking or degrading subscribers’ access to Netflix. As I noted at the time, however, the rules the FCC ultimately adopted did the likes of Netflix few favors. That’s because the ISPs were able to get two critical areas of network management excluded from the rules. One was peering agreements between CDNs and last-mile ISPs, the other was the use of so-called managed services to deliver certain kinds of content. Though I suspect Netflix was aware of the danger posed by those two exclusions from the start, it has been growing more vocal about it over the past eight months in an effort to make others aware as well. Last summer, then-Netflix general counsel published a very pointed op-ed in the Wall Street Journal about alleged abuse of peering agreements by Comcast against Netflix’s CDN, Level 3. Now, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings has weighed in on the managed services issue in a Facebook posting. With Netflix recently launching its own PAC in Washington, it’s fair to assume this phase of the debate is just getting started.