Tag Archives: Net Neutrality

Netflix’s Reed Hastings: Honesty Is the Best Business Plan

You can’t discuss the overwhelming success of Netflix without giving due credit to its CEO and co-founder Reed Hastings. Hastings’ visionary direction for Netflix and, coincidently, television has undoubtedly shaped an entire culture, and he isn’t planning on letting up anytime soon.

NetflixBut what really sets Reed Hasting apart from other CEOs isn’t his influence over an industry movement, but his genuine servant attitude in the delivering of content to consumers. These visions and concepts of the company’s future have been clear since the beginning when he decidedly dubbed it the name Netflix (rather than something obvious like Mailflix or Postflix). Hastings and his company have always had their sights set towards the possibilities of the future and online distribution, so it only makes sense to see how personal he takes the issue of persevering on the Internet.

Today most rival streaming services are busy developing and perfecting their own personal streaming infrastructures. However, Hastings is helping further the development of not only Netflix (both home and abroad) but the entire infrastructure of the Internet in general, constantly voicing his opinions in redefining the relationships between businesses and ISPS with their consumers.

Reed HastingsWith great power comes great responsibility, and Hastings has far from taken his influential position for granted. He has been know notoriously for speaking out against the powerful grasp of ISPs saying, “Comcast would love to be the post office and be a national monopoly collecting on everything, but that’s not the way the Internet works”.

Hastings understands the infrastructure of the Internet and is a strong supporter of a neutral Internet with free interconnectivity. While we wait to see what the recently passed Net Neutrality rules have in store for the Internet, Hastings remains cautious and realizes it is a mere stepping stone to achieving a true free and open Internet.

In addition to his business savvy, Hastings has brought to the company (and to the entire Internet) a sense of honesty and well-being to consumers. As a powerful CEO, we’ve seen Hasting is quick to adapt to a changing market, to experiment and take risks. Even more importantly, he has proven again and again to be just as quick at admitting fault when those innovations fail.

Most recently, He has been one of the most prominent voices speaking out against Comcast’s potential 45 million dollar acquisition of Time Warner Cable (currently awaiting FCC approval to move forward). Hasting argues that the current system is already backward enough saying if “1/3 of the Internet use is customers using Netflix member, we (Netflix) should get 1/3 of Comcast’s revenue. If they (Comcast) want to give us (Netflix) 1/3 of the revenue, we’ll give them (Comcast) 1/3 of the cost… Do you really want 50 percent of the Internet controlled by one company?”

These values of honesty and transparency, which Hastings has passed on to his company, have been a huge contributing factor to Netflix’s propulsion as the industry leader in subscription based video on demand (SVOD).

Whether it be admitting to the press that he loves HBO (he’s openly stated multiple times that Veep is his favorite shows) or speaking well of the very conglomerates Netflix is lobbying against (referring to Comcast’s Brian L. Roberts as a “great guy”), the sense of humanity and truthfulness Hastings brings to Netflix, and the entire industry, is a breath of fresh air during this time of online uncertainty.

Netflix’s unwavering flexibility to change with the times coupled by Hastings’s undivided willingness to provide media consumers with the best viewing experience (as well as the best Internet experience) will undoubtedly help set Netflix apart from the competition of emerging SVOD.

– Aaron Sprengeler

Tom Wheeler and Net Neutrality

Tom Wheeler is the 31st chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. He has held the position since November 2013, and arguably the biggest issue the FCC has faced in this time is over whether to preserve Net Neutrality. Net Neutrality has been in the news a lot in the last few years, and it has become one of those phrases that people throw around. But what exactly is it?

Net Neutrality CartoonNet Neutrality is the principle that information sent across the Internet must be treated equally, or neutrally. Access to some data should not be prioritized over other data. Internet Service Providers (ISPs) should not be able to charge certain companies more to transmit their data, and the ISPs should not be able to block any content or data either. Basically, Net Neutrality is what it sounds like: an open and neutral Internet.

What the ISPs would like to do is charge certain companies more to access an internet “fast lane” that would allow that company’s clients, users or subscribers faster download times for the data sent over those “fast lanes.” If a company was unwilling or unable to pay these extra charges their data would be sent at a slower speed making download times longer. The ISP’s would also like to be able to block certain content, say person-to-person torrent sharing sites like The Pirate Bay, from being accessed by their clients.

There was much debate as to whether or not the FCC would support net neutrality or if they would support the business interests of the ISPs. Chairman Tom Wheeler, a former cable company lobbyist, was thought not to support net neutrality; so many people thought the FCC would also not support it.

Net NeutralityHowever, on February 26, 2015 the FCC declared that they would classify the Internet as a telecommunications service instead of an information service. This will place it under the protections of the Communication Act of 1934 and the Telecommunication Act of 1996. They published a large document outlining the new rules for the broadcast of the internet, and Chairman Wheeler wrote a blog post on the FCC website saying, “the FCC today has taken an important step that should reassure consumers, innovators and the financial markets about the broadband future of our nation.”

And the Internet rejoiced! Well, except for Jeb Bush. And Fox News. And Rush Limbaugh. These technological masterminds are all very worried that the new regulations will staunch growth in the industry because what sort of company would want to fund expansion if they knew they weren’t going to be able to gouge their current customers and double charge the content companies?

What sort of companies indeed. Chairman Wheeler writes from his blog again, “The ISPs’ consumer revenue streams tomorrow will be the same as they were yesterday. I believe this is why Sprint, T-Mobile, Frontier Communications, and Google Fiber, along with hundreds of smaller phone company ISPs have said they would continue to invest under the Commission’s modern regulatory approach.”

Will these new rules indeed inhibit development by our ISPs or, can we, as Chairman Wheeler thinks, look forward to, “a broadband future of investment and expansion?” Will these rules stand? For now, it seems so.

Sommer Darland