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Net Neutrality: Netflix CEO Calls Out Comcast, Verizon

Without net neutrality, he says, consumes will pay more


In a Thursday post on the company blog, Netflix (NFLX) CEO Reed Hastings waded into the controversy over net neutrality

Netflix sign 630
Source: Flickr

“Net neutrality must be defended and strengthened,” he wrote, in order to keep the Internet as a vehicle for human progress. Hastings added that Internet service providers (ISPs) should not charge “a toll for interconnection to services like Netflix.” The post comes weeks after Netflix agreed to pay Comcast (CMCSA) to ensure faster data speeds for Netflix customers streaming video through Comcast’s video service, USA TODAY notes.

Hastings also took a swipe at big ISPs like Verizon (VZ), noting that “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.” Verizon recently said it has had discussions with Netflix over possible connection fees.

Proponents of net neutrality argue that all data transmitted across the Internet should be treated the same and that ISPs should not restrict or charge higher fees for the speedy transmission of some kinds of data.

In 2010, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) laid down rules imposing net neutrality on ISPs, but a federal appeals court struck them down in January.

The deal between Netflix and Comcast has alarmed Internet and consumer activists, who see it as a way for ISPs to force content providers — and ultimately consumers — to pay higher fees for online content.

Almost one-third of North American Internet traffic is comprised of Netflix video streaming data.

NFLX stock fell almost 3% in Friday morning trading, while CMCSA shares were flat and VZ stock slipped slightly.

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