FCC's Pai urges Netflix not to undermine streaming-video standards

In an open letter to Reed Hastings dated Tuesday, Dec. 2, FCC commissioner Ajit Pai questioned the Netflix CEO about published reports suggesting that the SVOD company is undermining efforts to develop standards for streaming video.

Pai essentially asked how a company on the forefront of stringent Title II Internet regulation could do such a thing.

"I understand that Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) has taken--or at least tested--measures that undermine aspects of open standards for streaming video," Pai's letter states. "Specifically, I understand that Netflix has at times changed its streaming protocols where open caching is used, which impedes open caching software from correctly identifying and caching Netflix traffic.

"Because Netflix traffic constitutes such a substantial percentage of streaming video traffic, measures like this threaten the viability of open standards," Pai adds. "In other words, if standards collectively agreed upon by much of the industry cannot identify and correctly route Netflix traffic, those standards ultimately are unlikely to be of much benefit to digital video consumers."

Pai took aim at Netflix's Open Connect program, which has the company deploying proprietary caching devices throughout the networks of certain ISPs.

"If ISPs were to install open caching appliances throughout their networks, all video content providers--including Netflix--could compete on a level playing field," Pai wrote. "If, however, ISPs were to install Netflix's proprietary caching appliance instead, Netflix's videos would run the equivalent of a 100-yard dash while its competitors' videos would have to run a marathon."

For more:
- read this letter from FCC commissioner Ajit Pai

Related links:
Reed Hastings, CEO, Netflix – Most Powerful Person in Wireless and Wireline
Hastings urges FCC 'not to give in' to the big ISPs as word of latest peering deal surfaces
Why the FCC should take the Title II path to net neutrality