AS THE WAR OF WORDS over net neutrality rages on, US telecom AT&T has become the latest company to weigh in.
In a response to Netflix CEO Reed Hastings' statement in favour of net neutrality, AT&T senior EVP Jim Cicconi has hit back, deriding Hastings' suggestion that, as Cicconi put it, "people who don't subscribe to Netflix should nonetheless pay for Netflix".
Cicconi pointed out that ultimately someone has to pay for the additional infrastructure needed to deliver the explosion in internet traffic caused by streaming video.
He explained, "If Netflix is delivering that increased volume of traffic to, say, AT&T, we should accept the fact that AT&T must be ready to build additional ports and transport capacity to accept the new volume of capacity as a consequence of Netflix's good business fortune. And I think we can all accept the fact that business service costs are ultimately borne by consumers."
Using the analogy of Netflix's previous incarnation as a mail order DVD rental company, he pointed out that then, the customer bore the delivery costs. "It would've been neither right nor legal for Netflix to demand [that] a customer's neighbours pay the cost of delivering his movie. Yet that's effectively what Mr Hastings is demanding here."
ISPs are poised to break away from net neutrality after an appellate court ruled that the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) did not have power to enforce it. In the aftermath of that decision, Comcast became the first company to strike a deal with Netflix for direct connections to its servers, bypassing potential internet congestion. µ