AT&T fires back at Netflix over ‘Net Neutrality’

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AT&T’s Public Policy Chief, James Cicconi, slammed Netflix CEO Reed Hastings as “arrogant” to force others to pay for the content provider to gain access to faster broadband speeds and better services.

Earlier this week, Netflix’s Reed Hastings published a post titled “Internet Tolls And The Case For Strong Net Neutrality,” calling for a “strong” form of net neutrality rules and laying out why cable giants should be doing more to strengthen net neutrality and “protect our consumer experience.”

“Some big ISPs are extracting a toll because they can,” Hastings wrote. “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.”

This post comes less than a month after Netflix agreed to a deal with Comcast for improved delivery of its signal to its customers.

AT&T’s Jim Cicconi, responding to Hastings’ post, wrote in a post entitled “Who should pay for Netflix?” pointing out that this “self-righteous” streaming model is similar to “Netflix to demand to a customer’s neighbors” to pay the cost of its service.

“As we all know, there is no free lunch, and there’s also no cost-free delivery of streaming movies. Someone has to pay that cost. Mr. Hastings’ arrogant proposition is that everyone else should pay but Netflix,” wrote Cicconi. “That may be a nice deal if he can get it. But it’s not how the Internet, or telecommunication for that matter, has ever worked.”

Cicconi criticised Hastings’ desire for a “cost-free delivery” agreement with ISPs, arguing that Netflix is essentially asking for all Internet customers to bare the cost of upgrading networks for just its users. He also added that broadband companies have to invest huge sums of money to increase the capacity of their networks to meet the heavy demand of Netflix users.

This latest spat in the series of disputes over “net neutrality” comes as the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is conducting public hearings on the subject.