Netflix Seeks OVD Conditions on AT&T/DirecTV
Netflix has notified the FCC that the merger should not be given the green light if there are no provisions for guarding against anti-competitive behavior. Netflix suggests potential anti-competitive practices may include paid peering and data caps.
AT&T and Netflix have traded words in the past. Back in March when AT&T EVP Jim Cicconi responded to Netflix accusation in his blog post titled “Who Should Pay for Netflix”. Mr. Cicconi rocked the house with this piece of dialogue “When Netflix delivered its movies by mail, the cost of delivery was included in the price their customer paid. It would’ve been neither right nor legal for Netflix to demand a customer’s neighbors pay the cost of delivering his movie”
Since Google has backed off as the head cheerleader for Net Neutrality, it seems Netflix has entered try-out to fill the top spot. With Google voicing hopes of adding full wireless services in the same markets they are now offering Google Fiber Internet and TV services, they are hardly in a credible position to point the finger at the likes of AT&T.
Meanwhile, the FCC is also reviewing the proposed acquisition of Time Warner Cable by Comcast. They must be rather busy down there. And so the Net Neutrality debate continues to rage on.
- FCC chairman Tom Wheeler has signaled the FCC needs to look into any potential anti-competitive effects of paid peering, but has also said he does not think the Open Internet rules is the right venue–those rules deal with customer-facing (last mile) blocking and discrimination, rather than traffic exchanges among ISPs and edge providers at their interconnection points.
- Given that regulatory uncertainty, Netflix says, the FCC needs to use deal conditions to insure that an AT&T/DirecTV can’t abuse” its control of Internet traffic, “whether over its mobile or fixed wireless networks, or whether over the last mile or at interconnection points.