netflixNetflix is asking the FCC to establish a 10 Mbps downstream, 1 Mbps upstream definition for mobile broadband and to consider the impact that broadband caps have on the deployment of advanced telecom capability. The OTT video provider made its comments in a filing pertaining to an ongoing proceeding (hat tip to about whether broadband is being deployed to all Americans in a reasonable and timely fashion.

“Data caps (especially low data caps) and usage-based pricing . . . discourage a consumer’s consumption of broadband, and may impede the ability of some households to watch Internet television in a manner and amount that they would like,” argues Netflix in the filing.

Netflix asks the FCC to consider the possibility that low data caps on wireless networks and any data caps on wireline networks may “unreasonably limit Internet television viewing.”

Impact of Broadband Caps
According to Netflix, a data cap of 300 gigabytes (GB) per month is required “just to meet the Internet television needs of an average American” without including data required for web browsing, downloads and other needs. The Netflix filing also notes that when T-Mobile eliminated data caps on viewing of certain video programming, consumers watched more video on their mobile devices.

The 10/1 Mbps mobile broadband definition is required because that speed meets “consumer expectations that they can watch Internet television on their mobile devices,” Netflix says.

Other recommendations from the Netflix filing:

  • The FCC should clarify that broadband providers that impose broadband caps only on certain video services “skew consumer choices.”
  • The commission should continue its “watchful vigilance” over ISP interconnection practices.
  • Higher broadband speed benchmarks may be necessary in the future.

Netflix and other OTT providers already have had some victories with the FCC. In response to OTT providers’ complaints, for example, the FCC ruled in its Open Internet Order that it had the authority to oversee interconnection agreements – a power the commission had not previously exerted.

Network operators undoubtedly will challenge Netflix’s comments – particularly Netflix’s assertion that data caps are “an ineffective network management tool.”

Resolution of this issue will likely depend on the FCC’s interpretation of Net Neutrality guidelines imposed in the Open Internet Order. Those guidelines prohibit “unreasonable” traffic discrimination, but network operators are allowed “reasonable” network management practices.

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5 thoughts on “Netflix Wants FCC to Crack Down on Broadband Caps

  1. Isn't it ironic that netflix is the cause of all these traffic backups, yet they want to dictate how to manage it

  2. If the light bulb company made a filing with the public utility commission demanding that the power company not charge based on usage, people would laugh. But for some reason, Netflix seems to have the FCC's ear.

  3. Great analogy Alan. Feel like this industry has kind of let the 'genie out of the bottle' and there's no going back. Every other utility is usage based, but Internet gets a pass…

  4. The majority of ISP have peer agreements with OTP providers like Netflix so the cost of transport for these types of streaming services have diminished.
    Aside from that you have ISP's that are also content providers that are removing the caps or not counting your usage when you are accessing their content. When a consumer has no or limited choices for ISP's they will be inclined to use the ISP's content to avoid overage or additional charges. Even when not stated there is questions about methods and speed performance from other content providers. Try using your CableCompanyA app through your CableCompanyB internet connection… I do not see at as an attempt to dictate how to manage traffic, I see it as a continued effort for net neutrality. At the very least offer a service that fits then need or want of the consumer and charge accordingly. Let competition help keep these costs low.

  5. REALLY! How can you even draw a comparison between a "utility" service and broadband/Internet service! Depending on your geographical location "everyone" gets a FREE days worth of light, NO LIMIT of how much you use during those "daylight" hours. Now of course, if you want to use an electrical device during any of that time or when night falls then you are charged accordingly. But you can't receive, research, communicate or learn anything from watching a light bulb or staring at a gas flame or dripping faucet! Information is the KEY difference here. It all comes down to greed. Yes infrastructure has its costs but I'm sure the cable and telecoms have those costs recouped immediately…for the "share holders" benefit.
    Many older gens think information is readily available "the old fashion way", libraries, newspapers, radio and free TV. Guess what…libraries are barely funded and hardly current, look at the published date of any encyclopedia on the shelf. Newspaper choices are dwindling, many out of business or have gone web only. Radio and TV is lost to entertainment or "infotainment" disguised as news.
    Comparing knowledge to a light bulb is the talk of past societal upper class. "Keep the populous under control by stopping them from reading and learning".

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