Former Federal Communciations Chair and current National Cable & Telecommunications Association President and CEO Michael Powell, signals one of the ways the telecoms and cable companies are going to attack on net neutrality: the whole thing boils down just to Netflix, an evil corporation only looking to boost its own bottom line.
As the FCC looks to follow the D.C. Circuit’s invitation to restore net-neutrality rules, one might think that the task before us is simple. But alas, nothing in this debate ever is.What Netflix is looking for, what millions of ordinary people out here using the internet every day for information, education, communication, and entertainment is not "moving the goal posts" or changing the definition of net neutrality. While Netflix may or many not be looking out for its best interests, so what? The telecoms are also looking out for their best interests. The difference here is that what Netflix is fighting for will benefit all internet users. What the telecoms and cable companies are fighting for will benefit only telecoms and cable companies. And their shareholders.
Sadly, other Internet players — most notably, Netflix — are now seeking to leverage this proceeding to serve their own particular corporate ends. They do not seek to restore prior rules; they seek to “move the goal posts” and dramatically expand what net neutrality means. They want to protect their profits by ensuring that the disproportionate impact caused by delivering traffic to their customers is spread across all broadband subscribers and not just those who actually use the service. In other words, if there is any additional cost to accommodating Netflix traffic, everyone’s broadband bill should go up rather than increase the price of the Netflix subscription. Why should everyone subsidize fans of House of Cards? They are not seeking “strong” net neutrality; they are seeking to “strong-arm” net neutrality into satisfying a separate and distinct objective. […]
Allowing the net-neutrality conversation to be hijacked into a peering debate is a mistake that will only cloud the commission’s ability to move forward in the Open Internet proceeding. Netflix’s peering gambit is primarily about improving its own economics and says more about Netflix’s power than about any ISPs. We should stay focused on the last-mile issues that gave rise to the Open Internet rules in the first place, and ensure a clear path forward to reinstate new rules in line with the court’s direction.
Netflix is not hijacking this debate, making it all about them. Opposition to a two-tiered internet such as the FCC is considering has been as long-standing as the notion of net neutrality, and has been central to the grassroots fight to preserve it. The only hijacking going on here is this fundamentally dishonest piece by Powell, trying to pretend that this is only about Netflix having a tantrum.
Broadband internet service is a public utility that benefits everyone, including Netflix. It's time that the FCC recognize it as such.
If you haven't already, send your comments supporting net neutrality. You can use the FCC comments page; the inbox they set up specifically for this issue, firstname.lastname@example.org; and with a petition from Daily Kos.