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Netflix on Net Neutrality

Netflix logoReed Hastings, The CEO of Netflix (NFLX), had some of the most sensible and level headed words I’ve heard on the highly polarizing issue of Net Neutrality. I wrote about the subject in “More Government != Better Broadband“.

Bottom line, some may not like the concept and others may agitate for FCC intervention, but letting the market work things out is the only sensible alternative (usually is the case). Reed Hastings makes this point when asked about the threat of paid access to subscribers would effectNetflix’s future VOD model:

you asked a question about basically open access, which is a controversial issue now. You know, the FCC hasn’t made any strong indication, are they going to legislature this particularly. I think you are seeing a lot of companies feeling each other out. To put the AT&T comments in context: they were not about the standard Internet, they were about their fiberoptics System (FiOS) to the home. So, but you will definitely see some battles around the Internet.

Ultimately the consumer is going to decide, and if the consumer is buying high bandwidth broadband Internet from a company to be able to watch movies, then the deliverer of the Internet (network company) can’t cut off access to the movies, because that’s why the consumer bought it. I think the economics will work out very favorably, but it will be an interesting, contested area over the next five years.

Other than the mistaken association of AT&T and FiOS, a simple and sensible response. Bottom line – too many people are attaching doomsday scenarios to network neutrality.

(Courtesy of Seeking Alpha Netflix conference call transcripts)

Update [1 Feb 06]: Looks like Netflix may actually be working on some hardware.


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