Netflix takes so-called ‘peering disputes’ to top Republicans

Hastings said a key shortfall of the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) net-neutrality order is that “it did not expressly deal with entry into an ISP’s network.”

Although Level 3 says the fees represent a net-neutrality infraction, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski has said his rules do not apply to these disputes.

Hastings argued that there ought to be rules to deal with this issue. 

“Today, some ISPs charge to let bits onto their networks, despite these bits having been requested by their own consumers. As long as we pay for getting the bits to the regional interchanges of the ISPs’ choosing, we don’t think ISPs should be able to use their exclusive control of their residential customers to force us to pay them to let in the data their customers desire,” he wrote. 

He argued that customers already pay a bill for Internet service, so it represents “an inappropriate reflection of their last mile exclusive control of their residential customers” when phone and cable companies place charges on additional parties.

Hastings also raised an issue close to the hearts of the letters’ recipients: net neutrality. 

He opposed the effort by Walden and Upton to repeal the regulations. A GOP repeal resolution could be up for a House vote as soon as Thursday.

“We do not believe that the [Congressional Review Act] is the appropriate vehicle to address concerns Congress may have with the FCC’s actions as utilizing the CRA would, in essence, strip the FCC of any power to preserve an open Internet,” said Hastings, who has expressed support for net neutrality in the past.  

He described the FCC’s Internet order as a “step in the right direction,” but suggested more rules are needed.

Hastings called for “comprehensive legislation” to address the current communications landscape, “legislation that assures consumer choice and innovation while preserving incentives for broadband network operators to continue to invest in their infrastructure.”

He also took on data usage caps, a key issue for Netflix. He said caps are harmful to the growth of the Internet. 

“Moves by wired ISPs to shift consumers to pay-per-gigabyte models instead of the current unlimited-up-to-a-large-cap approach threatens to stifle the Internet. We hope this doesn’t happen, and will do what we can to promote the unlimited-up-to-a-large-cap model,” Hastings said. 

Caps could deter customers from using video services such as Netflix as much as they would if bandwidth were an all-you-can-eat buffet.  

ISPs say their networks are strained by unlimited video content, and caps are necessary to prevent low-usage customers from subsidizing bandwidth hogs. They also argue that the caps will affect hardly any users. 

Hastings said the overages are “grossly overpriced” and fail to map onto the cost of what ISPs pay to deliver content.

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