Netflix CEO Hastings: Comcast wants 'the whole Internet to pay them'

Richard Brandt, Contributor

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings really hates paying money to Comcast in order to make sure Netflix subscribers get uninterrupted access to 'House of Cards.' And he's dead set against Comcast's proposed acquisition of Time Warner Cable.

At the Re/Code Code conference today, Hastings warned that allowing Comcast to acquire Time Warner Cable would be a blow to net neutrality, adding that decreased competition in the high-speed Internet market would mean Comcast could increase its fees to businesses like Netflix.

'If [they] charge a little bit now, they'll charge more and more and more,' Hastings said. 'They want the whole Internet to pay them for when their subscribers use the Internet.'

He added that he was forced to agree to the fees because the alternative of slow access to Netflix movies was a worse alternative.

He also said he would prefer not to have the government create and enforce net neutrality rules, but that would require the cable companies and Internet providers to write contracts that ensure net neutrality. 'We don't have anything close to that level of agreement,' he said.

Hastings may be having some impact. Federal Communications Commission chairman Tom Wheeler said in a hearing on May 20 that he would look into complaints from Netflix and others about Internet content delivery. That hearing came a week after release of an FCC net neutrality proposal that would allow broadband Internet suppliers to charge the content companies for fast-lane service.

At the conference he also said that Netflix has neither the money nor the bandwidth to start delivering sporting events. And he said he's content with the fact that the company's stock price has settled in at about $400 per share, after complaining last fall that its 400 percent price increase in a year was too much 'euphoria.'

Hastings wrote a blog explaining his concerns about net neutrality in March.


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