Netflix to ISPs: You violate net neutrality, we incite member protest
22nd Jan 2014 | 22:49
And counts a hell of a lot of members
Netflix has issued its fourth quarter earnings, and in its letter to investors the streaming video service addresses concerns over the recent blow to net neutrality in the US.
In fact, Netflix devoted an entire section to the issue.
As a refresher, a few weeks back a Washington court ruled that the Federal Communications Commission can't prevent internet service providers (ISPs) like Verizon from giving preferential treatment to some sites.
Naturally consumers are worried that ISPs are going to start charging more for access to certain content, particularly bandwidth-heavy services like Netflix. Recent reports suggested that Netflix itself could increase its prices as well, though Netflix denied that will happen.
Netflix takes a stand
In today's earnings letter, Netflix said that in principle, domestic (US) ISPs can "legally impede the video streams that members request from Netflix." It noted that nn ISP may due this to force Netflix to pay fees in order to halt a degradation to service.
However, if "this draconian scenario" were to take place, "we would vigorously protest and encourage our members to demand the open internet they are paying their ISP to deliver."
While the company is prepared to fling fire and brimstone an overstepping ISP's way, Netflix noted that in all likelihood, providers "will avoid this consumer-unfriendly path of discrimination."
"ISPs are generally aware of the broad public support for net neutrality and don't want to galvanize government action," the report read.
It goes on to say that ISPs have a stake in providing high-quality streaming video, one that they recognize and are working with firms like Netflix to provide.
"In the long-term, we think Netflix and consumers are best served by strong network neutrality across all networks, including wireless," the section concluded.
44 million subscribers (and growing)
Aside from laying out a plan of action against net neutrality violations, Netflix also revealed that it now boasts 44 million subscribers worldwide, including 6.9 million DVD delivery service customers.
The US accounts for 33 million members, and Netflix predicts that by the end of this quarter it will have 35 million customers in the US and 48 million worldwide.
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