Netflix today said it will continue to pay “tolls” to Internet service providers to guarantee a good experience for its customers, but it called upon the Federal Communications Commission to create net neutrality rules that govern network interconnections.The FCC’s Open Internet Order in 2010 prevented ISPs from blocking or discriminating against traffic over the “last mile” between ISP networks and consumer homes, but the order did not cover network interconnections that happen further upstream. Netflix and companies such as Level 3 and Cogent, who are paid by Netflix to distribute its content across the Internet, have complained that ISPs such as Comcast, AT&T, and Verizon have let those interconnections become congested in order to extract payments.
The FCC’s net neutrality rules were vacated by a court, but the agency is expected to issue a new set of rules. Netflix CEO Reed Hastings today published a post on the company blog, which Netflix said would also be submitted as a comment to the FCC in its open Internet proceeding. Hastings argued that the next set of net neutrality rules should be expanded to govern peering. Level 3 is making the same argument, as we wrote this week. Yesterday, Cogent asked the FCC to reclassify broadband providers as common carriers, which would allow the commission to reinstate its former rules and perhaps implement stricter ones.
Since these changes aren’t likely to happen right away, if at all, Netflix will keep paying ISPs. Verizon and AT&T have said they’re trying to obtain payments from Netflix.