Netflix to FCC's Pai: Open Connect is not a 'fast lane'

Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) responded to an open letter sent to it last week by Republican FCC commissioner Ajit Pai, who accused the SVOD provider's private content delivery network of being an Internet "fast lane" that harms competition.

"Open Connect is not a fast lane," responded Netflix global public policy VP Christopher Libertelli. "Open Connect does not prioritize Netflix data. Open Connect uses 'best efforts' Internet services into and out of its content caches. When an ISP asks Netflix to localize an Open Connect cache within its network, it does not disadvantage other Internet content.

"To the contrary, Open Connect helps ISPs reduce costs and better manage congestion, which results in a better Internet experience for all end users," Libertelli adds. "Only ISPs can speed up or slow down data that flow over their last mile. When Netflix directly interconnects with an ISP, Netflix data does not travel faster than other Internet content--unless an ISP is artificially constraining capacity to other data sources."

In his Dec. 2 letter to Netflix, Pai suggested that Open Connect's use of proprietary caching appliances could undermine the development of open, standardized streaming software. Pai said this was in contrast to Netflix's open support of Title II Internet regulation.

"Netflix has not impeded the use of proxy caches by changing protocols," Libertelli  wrote. "Netflix has obscured certain URL structures to protect our members from deep packet inspection tools deployed to gather data about what they watch online. Netflix is committed to, and will continue to ensure, the privacy of our members' viewing."

For more:
- read this Netflix letter to the FCC
- read this Ars Technica story
- read this Multichannel News story

Related links
FCC's Pai urges Netflix not to undermine streaming-video standards
Reed Hastings, CEO, Netflix – Most Powerful Person in Wireless and Wireline
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Why the FCC should take the Title II path to net neutrality