Netflix CEO Slams ISPs for Extracting Fees to Maintain Streaming Video Quality “Because They Can”

Reed Hastings, Netflix CEO (BBC)
Reed Hastings, Netflix CEO (BBC)

The head of video-streaming service Netflix has hit out at internet service providers (ISPs) for demanding a fee to maintain video streaming quality.

The company recently “reluctantly” made a deal with US ISP Comcast to make sure its videos were streamed faster and more smoothly.

ISPs argue that data-heavy services should share the cost of providing capacity on the networks.

But campaigners argue that this approach stifles innovation.

Influential figures, including the likes of web inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee, call for what has been termed “net neutrality” – the principle that all data sent and received using the internet should be treated equally.

Some ISPs said that, for services that put a strain on their infrastructure, content providers should be charged.

Net neutrality supporters say that without rules in place, small or start-up organisations will find it harder to break into the market if they cannot afford to pay for priority service.

‘Fight goes on’

This was a point of view supported strongly by Reed Hastings, Netflix’s chief executive.

“Some big ISPs are extracting a toll because they can – 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,” he¬†wrote in a blog post.

Amid concerns that it would pave the way for other ISPs to demand the same, he defended his company’s decision to strike a deal with Comcast.

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