March 24th, 2014
In a dramatic blog post last week, Netflix’s CEO Reed Hastings once again criticized the major internet ISP’s (the major companies that provide most Americans with internet service) in the U.S. for throttling their speeds. Naturally, the CEO is standing up for his business, but he touches on the net neutrality issue that affects all internet and cable users. So let’s take a look at what those issues are and how they affect everyone.
First, there’s a reason why Comcast is slowing Netflix’s speeds in the first place. It is true that, at peak prime time hours, Netflix accounts for over a third of all bandwidth in the United States. That is simply staggering. So it makes sense that Comcast, and other large internet providers, would be concerned with such a trend. Naturally, Netflix bandwidth would slow down everyone else’s too. So it’s reasonable for providers to take a second look at the speeds, but should they necessarily slow them down?
This is what the Netflix CEO is addressing in his blog. “Net neutrality” is supposed to ensure that say, Internet Service Provider X, doesn’t slow down part of the internet (let’s call it, Search Engine Company Y), just because they don’t agree on something or are competitors or enemies. In other words, your cable company isn’t supposed to block commercials they don’t like either. This is the supposed “neutrality” that everyone refers to. That people should be able to get anything legal over the internet, mostly uncensored regardless of whether the ISP sending it agrees or not. This is akin to the police enforcing rules even if they don’t agree with them — it’s their job.
Naturally, most people and legal analysts are on the side of Netflix here. Most consumers are too, naturally. Comcast’s refusal to stop throttling Netflix’s speeds, and even their new deal to make Netflix pay more for decent speeds, are all red flags, not only in the context that Comcast’s recent merger attempt with Time Warner Cable is going to harm consumers, but that the movement away from cable companies towards companies like Hulu Plus an Dish Network are for serious reasons.
The writing has been on the wall for some time. Consumers are tired of the games by companies like Comcast, with their petty squabbles and nefarious schemes over market share. Customers are flocking from cable to companies like Dish Network because those companies are concerned with giving their customers innovative new products, not doubling down on old monopolistic ventures. It will be interesting to see what happens to the market as more and more people like Netflix’s CEO begin to call out the major ISPs like Comcast and Time Warner Cable.
Emily Torres is an Entertainment and News Blogger for TV and Dish Network.
Categories: DISH & TV news