updated 05:52 pm EDT, Fri March 21, 2014
Post in response to remarks made by Netflix CEO
The Netflix and large ISP peering arrangement war of words is heating up. After Netflix CEO Reed Hastings' remarks yesterday, AT&T has also penned a missive in which it claims that ISPs who follow strong net neutrality provisions -- giving relatively cost-free data to the streamers -- is nothing less than suggesting "that people who don't subscribe to Netflix should nonetheless pay for Netflix."
AT&T points out that it believes that the Netflix post "really comes down to which consumers should pay for the additional bandwidth being delivered to Netflix's customers." The post notes that "it's simply not fair for Mr. Hastings to demand that ISPs provide him with zero delivery costs -- at the high quality he demands -- for free. Nor is it fair that other Internet users, who couldn't care less about Netflix, be forced to subsidize the high costs and stresses its service places on all broadband networks."
Additionally it points out that "when Netflix delivered its movies by mail, the cost of delivery was included in the price their customer paid." AT&T believes, contrary to the net neutrality principles, that "if there's a cost of delivering Mr. Hastings's movies at the quality level he desires -- and there is -- then it should be borne by Netflix and recovered in the price of its service." The remarks overlook the fact that Netflix does, in fact, pay for bandwidth delivery through other services such as Akamai. It also didn't distinguish what it meant by calling Netflix's bandwidth "high quality" compared to the quality that customers receive on other services now.
AT&T clearly has a vested interest in forcing Netflix to pay it for enhanced bandwidth for its users. Current (weakened) net neutrality rules make no provision for the payments, which Netflix "reluctantly" shelled out after evidence surfaced of degraded streaming quality, "to ensure a high quality member experience."
"Mr. Hastings' arrogant proposition is that everyone else should pay but Netflix," concludes AT&T's post. "That may be a nice deal if he can get it. But it's not how the Internet, or telecommunication for that matter, has ever worked," the company claimed -- in apparent contradiction to exactly how the Internet and telecommunication have worked since their foundation.