If Comcast CEO Brian Roberts Really Believes Netflix Gets Bandwidth For Free, Will He Pay Netflix's Bandwidth Bill?
from the just-saying... dept
So there was some buzz earlier this week when Comcast CEO Brian Roberts, speaking at the Code Conference, more or less admitted that he was seeking to shake down the entire internet:
In a series of analogies, Roberts likened his company’s role to that of a postmaster, pointing out that Netflix pays hundreds of millions of dollars to mail DVDs to its customers but now expects to be able to deliver the same content over the internet for free.
“They would like it all to be free. I would like to not have to pay for cable boxes,” he said.
Except, of course, Netflix already pays for its bandwidth. And Comcast’s customers already pay for their bandwidth. What Roberts really wants to do is to get Netflix to pay a second time for Comcast’s customers’ bandwidth, even though they’re already paying for it.
As for this argument that Netflix is trying to get anything “for free,” we went through this ridiculous argument nearly a decade ago, when the lobbyists for the telcos made the same claim (though, at that time it was about Google instead of Netflix). Mike McCurry, working as an AT&T lobbyist at the time, argued that Google “will never have to pay a dime no matter how much bandwidth they use.” Basically the same argument that Roberts is making about Netflix wanting “it all to be free.”
So as we did with McCurry, we’d like to make a small request of Roberts: if he’s so sure that Netflix pays nothing for these things, why not agree to pay Netflix’s bandwidth bill? After all, he’s arguing that it’s free, so he shouldn’t have to pay anything. Of course he knows that Netflix pays a ton for bandwidth. And he knows that his customers pay a ton for bandwidth. He’s just hoping to get them both to pay more.