Netflix keeps up net neutrality chatter, continues verbal spat with Verizon

Continuing to push its stance that ISPs should not impede the open nature of the Internet, Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) filed comments with the FCC ahead of its net neutrality proceeding. The SVOD provider also published its June speed index, noting that Verizon's (NYSE: VZ) average continued to drop despite a peering deal made two months ago.

Netflix came in under the wire, filing Tuesday and joining the 650,000 or so commenters who've already made their opinions known to the FCC. The commission's deadline for comments was July 15, but it extended the period by three days to July 18 to allow for a final flood of citizen opinions.

In a document spanning more than 25 pages, Netflix exhorted the FCC to revamp its latest version of the Open Internet order, saying that it needed to adopt clear and enforceable rules for the last mile that prevented discrimination and blocking. "The Commission also must require ISPs to provide sufficient interconnection to cover the capacity demanded and paid for by their customers, without charging access tolls to online content providers," the document said, pointing out a sore spot for Netflix in its negotiations with Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) and Verizon over last-mile peering.

Netflix signed a peering deal with Comcast in February that resulted in a big jump in streaming speeds for the online video provider over the cable operator's network. It did the same with Verizon in late April, but average streaming speeds didn't budge--and even dropped in June, to 1.58 Mbps for its FiOS service and less than 1 Mbps for DSL, a point that has reignited the bitter war of words between the two.

The provider also expressed support for applying Title II regulations to net neutrality. "Title II provides a solid basis to adopt prohibitions on blocking and unreasonable discrimination by ISPs," Netflix said in its comments. "…The D.C. Circuit in Verizon pointed to the Commission's failure to reclassify broadband Internet access as a telecommunications service under Title II as the chief impediment to a solid jurisdictional basis for meaningful open Internet rules."

BTIG analyst Richard Greenfield noted in a blog post that public opinion may also be swinging toward applying Title II to Open Internet regulations. Despite tech giants advocating a "light touch" toward net neutrality regulations, 12 senators are endorsing the Title II path, he said. And consumers aren't feeling too friendly toward big ISPs like Comcast. "(W)ith big ISP's universally disliked to begin with, it is harder for them to curry consumer favor, despite immense lobbying pull in Washington," he wrote. "We are surprised the big ISPs are not working aggressively on their own grass roots marketing campaign to illustrate the dangers of Title II regulation of broadband."

For more:
- see Netflix's blog post
- the Speed Index
- and its FCC filing (.pdf)
- see the FCC's extension note
- and BTIG's post (sub. req.)

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