Menu
FCC's Pai asks Netflix if it only wants net neutrality for itself

FCC's Pai asks Netflix if it only wants net neutrality for itself

Calls for net neutrality clash with reports of how Netflix wants to treat its own video, the commissioner says

Netflix is pushing for a level Internet playing field while apparently looking for ways to give its own video a fast lane, FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai says.

In a letter to Netflix CEO Reed Hastings on Tuesday, Pai questioned how Netflix could advocate strong net neutrality regulations while rebuffing an effort to develop open standards for video streaming. Work that Netflix reportedly may be doing on its own video delivery system might give it an advantage over other content providers, Pai wrote.

Netflix relies on carriers, cable companies and other ISPs (Internet service providers) to get its video service to consumers. A major focus of the debate over net neutrality is whether network owners should be able to charge Internet companies like Netflix to make sure their services run reliably over the network. Netflix advocates regulating broadband companies as utilities under Title II of the Communications Act, the same strong step for net neutrality that President Barack Obama has called for. Pai, a Republican, opposes the Title II approach.

Pai wants Netflix to reconcile its language on net neutrality with the fact that it's not joining in work on an open standard for better video streaming. Last month, major U.S. cable operators and Cisco Systems formed the Video Streaming Alliance along with Ustream, Yahoo and some other U.S. and international service providers. The group said it would define specifications for streaming and caching video more efficiently to keep up with growing demand by viewers. Netflix said it did not plan to join the group.

Pai pointedly questioned Netflix on so-called open caching, designed to cache any type of video on equipment close to consumers' homes so it doesn't have to traverse the whole network. He said Netflix had changed its streaming protocols to undermine open caching software and might be developing its own caching technology.

"If ISPs were to install open caching appliances throughout their networks, all video content providers -- including Netflix -- could compete on a level playing field," Pai wrote. "If, however, ISPs were to install Netflix's proprietary caching appliance instead, Netflix's videos would run the equivalent of a 100-yard dash while its competitors' videos would have to run a marathon."

Pai asked Netflix to respond to the allegations by Dec. 16. Netflix declined to comment for this story.

Stephen Lawson covers mobile, storage and networking technologies for The IDG News Service. Follow Stephen on Twitter at @sdlawsonmedia. Stephen's e-mail address is stephen_lawson@idg.com

Follow Us

Join the New Zealand Reseller News newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Internet-based applications and servicesregulationU.S. Federal Communications Commissiongovernmentnetflixinternetvideoentertainment

Featured

Slideshows

Reseller News launches inaugural Hall of Fame lunch

Reseller News launches inaugural Hall of Fame lunch

Reseller News welcomed 2015 and 2016 inductees - Darryl Swann, Dave Rosenberg, Gary Bigwood, Keith Watson, Mike Hill and Scott Green - to the inaugural Reseller News Hall of Fame lunch, held at the French Cafe in Auckland. The inductees discussed how the channel can collectively work together to benefit New Zealand, the Kiwi skills shortage and the future of the industry. Photos by Maria Stefina.

Reseller News launches inaugural Hall of Fame lunch
Educating from the epicentre - Why distributors are the pulse checkers of the channel

Educating from the epicentre - Why distributors are the pulse checkers of the channel

​As the channel changes and industry voices deepen, the need for clarity and insight heightens. Market misconceptions talk of an “under pressure” distribution space, with competitors in that fateful “race for relevance” across New Zealand. Amidst the cliched assumptions however, distribution is once again showing its strength, as a force to be listened to, rather than questioned. Traditionally, the role was born out of a need for vendors and resellers to find one another, acting as a bridge between the testing lab and the marketplace. Yet despite new technologies and business approaches shaking the channel to its very core, distributors remain tied to the epicentre - providing the voice of reason amidst a seismic industry shift. In looking across both sides of the vendor and partner fences, the middle concept of the three-tier chain remains centrally placed to understand the metrics of two differing worlds, as the continual pulse checkers of the local channel. This exclusive Reseller News Roundtable, in association with Dicker Data and rhipe, examined the pivotal role of distribution in understanding the health of the channel, educating from the epicentre as the market transforms at a rapid rate.

Educating from the epicentre - Why distributors are the pulse checkers of the channel
Kiwi channel reunites as After Hours kicks off 2017

Kiwi channel reunites as After Hours kicks off 2017

After Hours made a welcome return to the channel social calendar last night, with a bumper crowd of distributors, vendors and resellers descending on The Jefferson in Auckland to kickstart 2017. Photos by Maria Stefina.

Kiwi channel reunites as After Hours kicks off 2017
Show Comments