In today’s class, talking about media government, we examined the different types of media self and external regulations: there are protections related to the production, distribution and exhibition phases. One particular concept concerning distribution’s regulation arose my interest, which means the topic of Net Neutrality. Net Neutrality is the principle according to which Internet service providers and governments regulating the Internet should treat all data on the Internet the same, not discriminating or charging differentially by user, content, website, platform, application, type of attached equipment, or mode of communication. In other words, Net Neutrality impede companies which connect people to the Internet to control what people actually on the Internet. This term was coined in 2003 by a Columbia University’s professor of media law, Tim Wu.
Without Net Neutrality some particular companies on the web, such as Google, or Facebook, or Netflix, can pay the ISP (Internet service providers) in order to obtain faster accesses to their websites and consequently a wide competitive advantage over their competitors, such as HBO. In this way they can harm innovative start-up services that are not able to purchase priority access from the ISP.
In the video “Hank vs Hank: The Net Neutrality Debate in 3 Minutes” the speaker, Hank, is at the same time an Internet user and a manager of an online company, in this case Netflix. The Internet user is pro Net Neutrality while the manager of Netflix is against it.
The Hank businessman underlines the fact that he wants his customers to have the best speed and accessibility to his platform, as they pay a consistent subscription in order to watch TV shows, such as Game of Thrones; the Hank consumer replies that Netflix should give people the opportunity to access to its programs on the web and should not care about what consumers are able or not able to do on the Net. Moreover, through paying the ISP, Netflix is basically trying to destroy competition, Hank the consumer says.
On the other hand, Netflix proclaim itself favorable to Net Neutrality, if applied to smaller and innovative firms, but it affirms that a huge company like Netflix does not need any Net Neutrality regulation: “On a public policy basis, however, strong net neutrality is important to support innovation and smaller firms,” Netflix said. “No one wants ISPs to decide what new and potentially disruptive services can operate over their networks, or to favor one service over another. We hope the new US administration and Congress will recognize that keeping the network neutral drives job growth and innovation.”
So can we say that the relationship among Netflix and ISP (such as Comcast) is only about Net Neutrality? Should we blame more Netflix or more Internet Service Providers?