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Netflix CEO makes stand for net neutrality

If there is one company that would benefit from the upholding of net neutrality, it is Netflix.
Written by Rachel King, Contributor

While the Federal Communications Commission tries to hammer out a game plan for preserving net neutrality in whatever form it can, Netflix's chief has penned a last minute defense to help out.

CEO and founder Reed Hastings published a memo on Thursday afternoon, lambasting a recent lawsuit won by Verizon Wireless while also calling out "Internet trolls."

Here's an excerpt:

Without strong net neutrality, big ISPs can demand potentially escalating fees for the interconnection required to deliver high quality service. The big ISPs can make these demands -- driving up costs and prices for everyone else -- because of their market position. For any given U.S. household, there is often only one or two choices for getting high-speed Internet* access and that’s unlikely to change. Furthermore, Internet access is often bundled with other services making it challenging to switch ISPs. It is this lack of consumer choice that leads to the need for strong net neutrality.

To recall, Verizon Wireless won a court challenge to net neutrality rules, leading the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington D.C. to send the rules back to the FCC in January.

This immediately sparked a debate about the future of the Internet as the move essentially means broadband companies would be able to charge tech companies, such as Netflix or Hulu, more money for fast connections needed to deliver their services.

It's up to the FCC now to rewrite the rules. In February, FCC chairman Tom Wheeler published a proposal he asserted will preserve the Internet as "an open platform for innovation and expression."

If there is one company that would benefit from the upholding of net neutrality, it is Netflix.

Needless to say, the online rental giant requires a good deal of bandwidth to deliver its services to more than 44 million users worldwide and counting. One could even argue that Netflix's streaming rates are fed by the increasing behavorial shift in favor of "binge watching" multiple episodes of TV episodes in a row, each of which are very large files being transmitted over broadband networks.

Netflix is already on the ground running, as demonstrated by a recent deal with Comcast hammered out in February in which Netflix will gain direct access to Comcast's broadband network -- an arrangement that could become the model for the first of many to follow for the digital streaming company.

Nevertheless, based on Hastings's letter, he isn't terribly happy about the need for such a strategy in the first place.

Image via Netflix

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