Internet service providers demand a fee to maintain video streaming quality.
Reed Hastings, head of video-streaming service Netflix, has slammed major internet service providers (ISPs) for demanding a fee to maintain video streaming quality.
Hastings, who argued for stronger form of net neutrality, said: "Some big ISPs are extracting a toll because they can — they effectively control access to millions of consumers and are willing to sacrifice the interests of their own customers to press Netflix and others to pay."
Highlighting the recent Comcast deal to ensure its videos were streamed faster and more smoothly, Netflix’s head also argued that such companies would be asking ever more expensive fees from service providers to assure better performance
Net neutrality has to be protected and strengthened and called out majors such as Comcast and Verizon for bad conduct, she said.
"The big ISPs can make these demands — driving up costs and prices for everyone else — because of their market position," Hastings added.
"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."
Comcast executive VP David Cohen said in a statement that there has been no company that has had a stronger commitment to openness of the Internet than Comcast.
"We supported the FCC’s Open Internet rules because they struck the appropriate balance between consumer protection and reasonable network management rights for ISPs," Cohen said.
"We are happy that Comcast and Netflix were able to reach an amicable, market-based solution to our interconnection issues and believe that our agreement demonstrates the effectiveness of the market as a mechanism to deal with these matters."
ISPs also argued that data-heavy services have to share the cost of offering capacity on the networks.
"While in the short term Netflix will in cases reluctantly pay large ISPs to ensure a high quality member experience, we will continue to fight for the Internet the world needs and deserves," Hastings concluded.
Further, AT&T called the Hastings ‘arrogant’ for arguing about not paying extra fees to ISPs for its intense bandwidth use.
AT&T public policy team heads Jim Cicconi said that it would’ve been neither right nor legal for Netflix to demand a customer’s neighbours pay the cost of delivering their movie.
"If there’s a cost of delivering Mr Hastings’ movies at the quality level he desires – and there is – then it should be borne by Netflix and recovered in the price of the service," Cicconi said.