Netflix is at war with the big Internet companies once again. Two weeks ago Netflix sent the FCC a letter that asked that they deem Internet data caps unreasonable and are pushing for them to make it illegal.
“Data caps (especially low data caps) and usage based pricing discourage 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,” Netflix wrote.
Netflix filed for the FCC’s annual investigation of broadband deployment last week, a review that is required by Congress in Section 706 of the Telecommunications act. What that means the FCC must make sure that advanced telecommunications capability is being provided to all American households in a timely fashion and must “take immediate action” to speed up that process if not. The investigation usually focuses on Internet speed but Netflix is pushing for data caps to be added to the investigation. “…the Commission should hold that data caps on fixed-line networks and low data caps on mobile networks may unreasonably limit internet television viewing and are inconsistent with Section 706,” Netflix added to their letter.
The power of Section 706 is what’s really in the air in this investigation, but, to Netflix’s displeasure, 706 specifically states that the FCC is able to use “price cap regulation” in order to help broadband deployment. Still Netflix argues that 300 GB a month would be the required amount for to meet the needs of an average American house to enjoy Internet television. That doesn’t even include regular Internet usage. Netflix also argues that the data caps are a way of adding on to the different speed tiers consumers must pay for. In order to have faster Internet, consumers pay more monthly to upgrade their internet speed but now they must also pay more for data usage on top of that. “The Commission should recognize that data caps and UBP on fixed line networks are an unnecessary constraint on advanced telecommunications capability,” Netflix said.
Comcast does provide an option to customers that include a 1 TB data cap, but Netflix said nothing on that matter. What Netflix did suggest is that today’s high speed might become tomorrow’s average. So in order to provide the best Internet quality for the future, action must be taken today.