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Netflix on Thursday called for a "stronger form" of net neutrality to keep broadband providers from charging companies fees to maintain a good quality experience, effectively asking for legislation against the kind of deal it struck with Comcast last month.
Consumers face poor service if Netflix and other online video providers don't agree to pay internet service providers such as Comcast and Verizon Communications for priority connections to their networks, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said in a blog post on the company's website.
"Netflix performance has been constrained, subjecting consumers who pay a lot of money for high-speed Internet to high buffering rates, long wait times and poor video quality," Mr. Hastings said.
The company in February agreed to pay an undisclosed amount to set up more dependable, direct connections between Netflix servers and Comcast's network. At the time it said the deal didn't violate traditional net neutrality principles, which call for internet companies to treat companies equally. But its blog post argued for an enhanced net neutrality that would have prevented the need for its recent pact.
"Some major ISPs, like Cablevision, already practice strong net neutrality and for their broadband subscribers, the quality of Netflix and other streaming services is outstanding," Mr. Hastings wrote in the post on Thursday. "But on other big ISPs, due to a lack of sufficient interconnectivity, Netflix performance has been constrained, subjecting consumers who pay a lot of money for high-speed Internet to high buffering rates, long wait times and poor video quality."
"Once Netflix agrees to pay the ISP interconnection fees, however, sufficient capacity is made available and high quality service for consumers is restored," he added. "If this kind of leverage is effective against Netflix, which is pretty large, imagine the plight of smaller services today and in the future."
Netflix will sometimes pay for better connections to internet service providers "in the near term," Mr. Hastings wrote. He said it won't be paying for "priority access against competitors, just for interconnection."
~ Ad Age staff with Bloomberg News ~