Comcast is trying to stomp on the competition by blocking Netflix’s streaming movie service unless customers agree to pay a new fee, according to The Huffington Post. Comcast has its own movie service that would be cheaper after the fee is applied.
A petition from the Progressive Change Campaign Committee has been signed by 60,000 people for the FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, who will announce if he will keep President Obama’s promise to keep the Internet open and preserve Net Neutrality. Net Neutrality is when companies providing Internet service treat all sources of information equally, according to The New York Times. The FCC needs to uphold open Internet and Net Neutrality so consumers will still be able to choose their own providers.
Comcast is the largest cable and Internet service provider in the United States, according to the National Cable and Telecommunications Association. That means thousands of television and Internet customers would be affected by their extra fees. This move could put Netflix out of business and give customers no choice but to choose Comcast’s movie service. Comcast would then most likely follow with putting all other movie services out of business.
If Comcast is allowed to block Netflix, other companies will start to follow. So consumers won’t have any freedom to support the brands that they love because of certain sites being blocked on the Internet . Comcast is in talks to buy NBC, and the fear is that, if they are willing to try to block Netflix from their services, then they might try to block other websites as well. Another fear is that if Comcast does take over NBC, they could also slow down the connection to other competition websites and speed up the stream of NBC programs, according to The New York Times.
In the Netflix debate, Comcast says that the fees are fair to charge Netflix because, on some nights, Netflix is responsible for 20 percent of the download traffic. The net neutrality rules that would decide if Comcast has the right to do this have been a much-talked-about topic for a while now.
The argument for keeping Comcast and other broadband providers from managing their networks in this way is that there should be an open playing field for all Internet providers, and that traffic to each site should be based on good advertising and the best deals, not because one site happens to be faster than another or blocked by the service provider, according to MSNBC. If the FCC doesn’t regulate these internet service providers, the only losers in this situation will be us, the consumers.
Adam Green, “60,000 protest Comcast attack on Netflix” The Huffington Post
S ubjects, “Net Neutrality” The New York Times
Industry Data, “Top 25 Multichannel Video Programming Distributors as of September 2005” National Cable and Telecommunications Association
Brian Stelter, “Netflix Partner Says Comcast ‘Toll’ Threatens Online Video Delivery” The New York Times
Jasmin Melvin, “FCC proposes wireless use of broadcast airwaves” MSNBC