April 2, 2014
The Federal Communications Commission explained that it does not plan to support the request made by Netflix CEO Reed Hastings to expand net neutrality rules in order to regulate how companies connect across the infrastructure of the Internet. Hastings had asked the FCC to consider an approach that would not require companies like Netflix to pay additional fees to service providers such as Comcast for special connections that help ensure customers can access video without problems.
“Netflix agreed last month to begin paying Comcast for exactly this privilege, but said this was a one-time arrangement while it pushed for new rules,” reports The Verge. “According to sources familiar with the deal, Netflix scored an attractive and long-term bargain with Comcast. But Hastings knows that he may soon have to strike deals with Verizon and AT&T as well. Paying each ISP for improved connection to their networks could end up becoming a big drag on Netflix’s bottom line down the road as its customer base swells and the quality of video it’s sending increases.”
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said at a press conference Monday that the government has an important role in overseeing how networks connect with each other, but it is “not a net neutrality issue.”
“Peering and interconnection are not under consideration in the Open Internet proceeding, but we are monitoring the issues involved to see if any action is needed in any other context,” added an FCC spokesperson.
“The statements appear to reject the recent plea from Netflix CEO Reed Hastings to expand the FCC’s Open Internet Order (better known as the net-neutrality rules) to cover interconnection deals,” suggests National Journal. “But the FCC could decide to enact separate regulations on the issue or force Comcast to accept new rules in order to receive permission to buy Time Warner Cable.”
The FCC continues to work on a revision of the net neutrality rules after a federal court struck down the previous version earlier this year.