The streaming giant Netflix recently took a stand against internet service providers (ISPs) and their “unreasonable” data caps. The multimedia company submitted a filing to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) last week commenting on the state of broadband internet in the U.S. Netflix argued that the industry should move forward to provide higher or unlimited data plans for consumers.
The ten-page document exposed a brief but substantial argument against limited services in both mobile data plans and home internet. Netflix’s move follows a recent proposal by the FCC itself, suggesting to change the paid TV industry’s set-top box industry standard for a free-app-based service.
The government office is holding its established review of the Telecommunications Act, part of which concerns internet services nationwide. The FCC has shown the disposition to work for consumers by raising the standard internet broadband speed in previous years.
Why is Netflix against data caps?
The Federal Communications Commission reviews the state of the telecom industry around the country as per Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act. While Section 706 contemplates the deployment progress of broadband internet across the country, Netflix’s filing turns the spotlight on a hot topic that includes online service providers.
“Data caps (especially low data caps) and usage-based pricing (‘UBP’) 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,” Netflix told the FCC.
Furthermore, the streaming company argues the FCC should take “immediate action” on ISPs who offer service plans with limited data caps both on mobile devices and at American homes. It seems the company wants data caps raised or erased.
Should the FCC take such action, it would considerably benefit Netflix. It is in the company’s best interests to push for a change in the internet industry, as unlimited plans would lay the foundations for a broader adoption of its already massively popular streaming service.
Are data caps necessary?
The American media company further argued data caps on internet service plans were unnecessary. Since providers already offer their services according to speed tiers, it is “redundant,” according to Netflix, to have a system in place that limits what is already limited.
Moreover, Netflix says the speed-tiered ISP system itself is already nonsensical, as the main argument for a broken-down service would be to avoid congestion on the providers’ networks. The streaming giant then substantiated its claim with a federal study that revealed said obstructions do not even currently exist.
As expected, internet service providers are trying to turn attention away from the debate, claiming Section 706 does not serve as grounds to make claims on internet data caps. Instead, they have urged Netflix to bring up the issue in another minor reviewing session, despite Section 706’s clear inclusion of “price cap regulation” among its reviewing criteria.