One of the biggest stories of 2014 so far has been the death of net neutrality. After the FCC voted last week to move forward with Tom Wheeler’s net neutrality plan, several tech companies released statements in which they reaffirmed their long-held positions opposing the proposed changes. Netflix especially has stood out as a figurehead for the net neutrality movement in recent weeks and on Tuesday, BTIG Research reported that Netflix CFO David Wells was asked about “the FCC’s view that peering and interconnection are not the same issue as net neutrality and are more like cousins or siblings.”
In his response, he stated that “if they are first cousins, they are a bit like 18th century royalty cousins and might have had a child along the way.”
For those who might not recall, Netflix has been forced by Comcast and other ISPs to cough up a “ransom” in order to resolve slowdowns caused by peering congestion. For a terrific explanation of exactly what peering is, Level 3’s VP of Content and Media recently explained it quite well while calling out Comcast, TWC and other ISPs for “deliberately harming” their own broadband service.
Wells was later asked about Verizon CEO Lowell McAdams’ nearly identical argument, in which McAdams claimed that net neutrality was a separate issue. Wells once again reiterated that it’s basically the same issue as net neutrality since it involves having to pay an ISP extra just to make sure its traffic reaches its customers at a reasonable speed.
“I would say, how can it be nothing to do with net neutrality when it still affects the ability to access content in a manner that’s consistent with what you’re paying the ISP for?” he said. “So, I guess I would respectfully disagree.”
BTIG Research has combined the original comments from the FCC and Verizon in the video below, along with Netflix’s responses: