Netflix Accused Of Bullying ISPs And Discriminating Against Users

Netflix Accused Of Bullying ISPs And Discriminating Against Users

COMMENTARY | Time Warner Cable has accused Netflix of bullying Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and discriminating against their own users. The new Open Connect Content Delivery Network (CDN) is what is getting Time Warner Cable so upset and they believe that Netflix is in the wrong for how they implemented this new CDN program last year.

According to Tech Spot, Netflix introduced Open Connect in order to both cut costs and provide higher resolution video to its customers:

“Last week, Netflix started providing streams in Super HD and 3D qualities, which delivers better-looking video at the expense of stricter connection requirements — namely that users have a download speed of at least 5Mb/s and that their Web provider participates in Netflix’s Open Connect content delivery network, which allows the video service to pump its data directly to ISPs.

“Netflix launched its Open Connect CDN last year to cut costs and lower its dependence on third-party delivery networks, as the company said that it made more financial sense to have its own infrastructure than to rely on other services. At the time, there wasn’t much of a reason for ISPs to implement Open Connect, but TWC believes the streaming service is trying to strong-arm Internet providers by requiring participation.”

Time Warner Cable (TWC) says that requiring companies to participate in the Open Connect program is discriminatory to both companies and Netflix users:

“While they call it ‘Open Connect,’ Netflix is actually closing off access to some of its content while seeking unprecedented preferential treatment from ISPs. We believe it is wrong for Netflix to withhold any content formats from our subscribers.”

According to DSL Reports, CEO Dane Jasper said that becoming an Open Connect partner is easy, making TWC’s complaints seem petty:

“It’s an easy process, just like Akamai or any other CDN edge cache. Depending upon scale of the service provider, it’s one or more servers, deployed at one or more locations in the service provider network.”

In response to TWC, Netflix claims the Open Connect network reduces congestion and that there is not any reason TWC cannot join:

“Open Connect provides Netflix data at no cost to the location the ISP desires and doesn’t seek preferential treatment.”

As both a Netflix and Time Warner Cable customer myself, I have to wonder why TWC has chosen to take this stance. I would enjoy having the ability to watch Netflix movies in higher resolutions, but it seems that TWC, not Netflix, is at fault here.

What do you think of TWC’s claims of bullying and discrimination by Netflix?