Netflix rails against ISPs even as it agrees to pay off yet another one for better connections

Netflix CEO on Net Neutrality

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings on Tuesday penned an editorial in Wired in which he defended the free Internet and advocated against the FCC’s Net Neutrality proposals, as well as against the Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger. But even though Hastings is not afraid to vividly voice his concerns – this isn’t the first time he’s written an editorial on these matters – Netflix was apparently forced to ink its fourth interconnect deal in the U.S. to make sure that TWC broadband subscribers who watch Netflix online get a decent experience.

In his Wired editorial, Hastings only mentioned the similar deals Netflix signed with AT&T, Comcast and Verizon, although GigaOm has learned that such a deal is in place with TWC as well after being signed in June.

Obviously, Netflix isn’t happy with these deals.

“The next Netflix won’t stand a chance if the largest US Internet service providers are allowed to merge or demand extra fees from content companies trying to reach their subscribers,” Hastings wrote.

“Consider this: A single fiber-optic strand the diameter of a human hair can carry 101.7 terabits of data per second, enough to support nearly every Netflix subscriber watching content in HD at the same time,” he added. “And while technology has improved and capacity has increased, costs have continued to decline. A few more shelves of equipment might be needed in the buildings that house interconnection points, but broadband itself is as limitless as its uses.”

The CEO said that in 99% of its interconnection agreements with ISPs, Netflix doesn’t pay an access fee, but that’s not the case with large U.S. corporations which can dictate such terms simply because they can. “Charging us a separate fee ultimately means consumers pay twice—first for their broadband connection and second through higher-cost or lower-quality Internet services,” he said, arguing both against FCC’s proposal and Comcast’s intention of buying TWC.

“It would be better to have no rules than the ones being proposed by the FCC, which simply legalize discrimination on the Internet,” Hastings concludes.

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