Netflix's Love Of Net Neutrality Notably Absent In Australia, Where It's Striking Cap Exempt Deals With ISPs

from the he-just-smiled-and-gave-me-a-vegemite-sandwich dept

Here in the States, Netflix has been an incredibly vocal supporter of net neutrality, arguing that all traffic should consistently be treated equally by incumbent ISP gatekeepers. The company has also frequently lambasted usage caps, arguing that they're not a very effective business model, and are basically used by incumbent ISPs to protect traditional TV revenues from internet video. One Netflix exec at one point called caps "almost a human rights violation." A few years ago, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings similarly lambasted Comcast on Facebook for exempting its content from usage caps on some devices:
"Comcast no longer following net neutrality principles. Comcast should apply caps equally, or not at all. I spent the weekend enjoying four good internet video apps on my Xbox: Netflix, HBO GO, Xfinity, and Hulu. When I watch video on my Xbox from three of these four apps, it counts against my Comcast internet cap. When I watch through Comcast’s Xfinity app, however, it does not count against my Comcast internet cap...The same device, the same IP address, the same wifi, the same internet connection, but totally different cap treatment. In what way is this neutral?"
Oddly, Netflix's position on this issue seems to differ depending on the hemisphere. In Australia, Netflix is taking a notably different stance. The company has struck a new deal with Australian broadband ISP iiNET that exempts all Netflix content from the company's usage caps when the service goes live on March 24:
"Following confirmation from Netflix that it will launch locally on 24 March, iiNet’s broadband, Naked DSL, NBN and iiNet TV with Fetch customers will have access to as much Netflix content as they like, without it counting against their monthly quota....Paul Perryman, Netflix’s Director of Business Development, said the iiNet partnership will play an important role in the launch of the Netflix service Down Under. "Working with iiNet to offer quota-free Netflix content gives more people the opportunity to familiarise themselves with who we are and what our service offers," said Paul."
While iiNet's position on copyright trolls is consumer friendly, their usage caps are certainly less so. iiNet service features usage caps starting at 100 GB, and users that exceed their allotment often face overage fees of around fifty cents for each additional gigabyte. According to Netflix, HD service consumes around 7 GB per hour. Content streamed in the 4K format consumes significantly more. Reed Hastings' concerns about cap-exemption being a notably unfair policy are seemingly absent from press coverage from the launch.

Australian broadband ISPs managed to get consumers used to usage limits much earlier in broadband's lifecycle there. As a result, metered usage is generally all they've known, so you'll tend to see slightly less public opposition when compared to markets where consumers got used to unlimited, flat-rate data. It's also worth noting that other streaming services (like ABC's iView or Foxtel's Presto) are already cap-exempt, so Netflix feels it too must be cap-exempt if it wants to enter the market on equal footing. Still, it's odd to see Netflix -- a hugely vocal net neutrality supporter -- suddenly go mute on a subject that's so near and dear to its heart. You'd like to think Netflix may become more outspoken on the subject once its service -- and the concept of net neutrality -- gains a foothold down under.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Mar 2015 @ 6:04am

    Principles (or lack thereof)

    The notable thing about principles is how quickly companies are willing to discard them when it becomes more profitable to do so.

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    • identicon
      PRMan, 4 Mar 2015 @ 8:35am

      Re: Principles (or lack thereof)

      Different situation.

      In the US, caps are a bogus invention of the ISPs to make more money. Waiving them is an unfair competitive advantage because they are also content providers.

      Australia connects to the internet through extremely expensive undersea cables that serve very few people. Getting all that content costs a lot and that's the reason for their usage caps.

      If Netflix puts their CDN in iiNet, they aren't hitting that cap at all (except for the initial nightly update), so there is no reason to charge against the cap because it's all in country traffic. And to my knowledge, iiNet is not a competing content provider.

      As long as they offer this service to any company that reasonably provides their own CDN, I think it's fair given their market conditions.

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      • identicon
        WebDude, 4 Mar 2015 @ 11:35am

        Re: Principles (or lack thereof)

        Often forgotten is that all the undersea links are funded from outside the US, so the burden lies with Australian/NZ ISPs to pay for use (sorry, no idea if they have any quotas set but clearly there will be a total capacity to be shared, and some other realtime traffic such as voice calls which need reserved bandwidth).


        Agree that if other ISPs are interested (and have market share) then hopefully Netflix would do same thing.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 4 Mar 2015 @ 4:34pm

        Re: Re: Principles (or lack thereof)

        Australia connects to the internet through extremely expensive undersea cables that serve very few people. Getting all that content costs a lot and that's the reason for their usage caps.

        Oh if only it was that legitimate then I'd understand. That's not the reason for the caps down here, mate, though it is often quoted by the industry.

        If it were true then you'd only have caps on content from outside Australia. All content from inside, such as Australian hosted sites, would be excempt from caps. In that case, this wouldn't be a story becuase Netflix will be hosting inside Australian data centres and would be excempt from all usage caps for all ISPs not just iiNet.

        But that is not the reality. Only specific ISP partnered content is excempt from caps. Different for all ISPs. Excatly like what was brought in in the USA for some providers. They quote the Australian model when trying to legimise it. Same business case: "We're poor telcos and we've got all this fibre/copper to upgrade".

        Caps are a sad thing down here and all to common. Thank the privitisation of Telstra for getting the ball rolling. Yup, they were first to introduce caps and had the biggest market share by far since they owned the copper (sound familiar?). Then the other big ISPs (Optus, etc) follow suite becase they knew they could get away with it.
        That was back in the late 90s when they new they could get away with it.

        Only fair, USA gave us this fuck-arse cable system down here so we return the favour of legitimising fuck-tard usage caps for your enjoyment.

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        • icon
          nasch (profile), 4 Mar 2015 @ 4:50pm

          Re: Re: Re: Principles (or lack thereof)


          Only fair, USA gave us this fuck-arse cable system down here so we return the favour of legitimising fuck-tard usage caps for your enjoyment.


          Why did the US give you your cable system?

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 4 Mar 2015 @ 5:24pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Principles (or lack thereof)

            Why did the US give you your cable system?

            What I mean is Murdoch came down here and setup our cable system because it was proven a viable money-maker in the US. So we have a US-style cable system and lots of Aussie's excepted it. Its fucked. Most Aussies have much the same complaints as the US customers and we get the same treatment and contempt.

            Now US ISPs are trying to the do same with usage caps based on the Aussie "success". Its also fucked. We have more choice in our broadband provider (thank fuck for that) but it ended up in a race to the bottom.

            That's why an earlier government setup the NBN. Excellent and visionary in principle. Implimentation is rooted though, and we'll end up with usage caps on that too. Yup, usage caps on fibre connections. Let that sink in.

            Either the US people fight through there gov reps for net neutrality or you end up with our half arsed, metered, corporate-owned, be-grateful-you've-got-anything, Inter-webs.

            Thank fuck for filesharing and large hard drives or I would have read lots more books and played lots more cricket these last 20 years.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 4 Mar 2015 @ 10:30am

      Re: Principles (or lack thereof)

      I don't see working within the reality that you are presented as being contrary to opposing that reality. Netflix can be against usage caps while still acknowledging that they exist, and attempting to circumvent them for it's customers.
      Similarly in the US, they were vocally for net neutrality, but also paid for a fast lane.

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      • icon
        John Fenderson (profile), 4 Mar 2015 @ 10:33am

        Re: Re: Principles (or lack thereof)

        "Similarly in the US, they were vocally for net neutrality, but also paid for a fast lane."

        Which is something that I still can't forgive them for.

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  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 4 Mar 2015 @ 6:12am

    Australian broadband ISPs managed to get consumers used to usage limits much earlier in broadband's lifecycle there.

    Netflix is throwing more gas in the fire in the US to try to prevent this exact scenario it seems. Also, if they are entering the market they should first grab as much audience as they can and then help start the fire, the questioning of such practice. If they are going that venue, keeping silent now may actually be a smart move to prevent ISPs from rejecting the established fast lane.

    Here the fixed broadband seems to be going away from caps or fast lanes, specially because there is competition that is not tied to companies that own cable TV (at least in the metropolitan areas, truth be said). However, the wireless market is pushing ridiculous caps: pre-paid plans on one operator charge like $0,25 for unlimited connection but it's actually a daily 10 megabytes - yes, mega - with severe speed reduction afterwards. And they are trying to "upgrade" the plans to CUT the connection once the 10 Mb cap is reached because the speed reduction may confuse and enervate customers. Really.

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    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 4 Mar 2015 @ 10:35am

      Re:

      "(at least in the metropolitan areas, truth be said)"

      This is better said as "at least in some parts of some metropolitan areas". I live in a major metropolitan area and my only choice for broadband is Comcast.

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      • icon
        nasch (profile), 4 Mar 2015 @ 3:19pm

        Re: Re:


        This is better said as "at least in some parts of some metropolitan areas". I live in a major metropolitan area and my only choice for broadband is Comcast.


        IIRC Ninja is in Brazil, so that might be what he's talking about.

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        • icon
          Ninja (profile), 6 Mar 2015 @ 4:01am

          Re: Re: Re:

          That. But he is right to some extent. In parts of said metropolitan areas you are limited in your alternatives but generally the service in metropolitan areas is greatly superior when compared to the coastal areas or the countryside. Still, there are some smaller cities in the countryside that have better service than even me for some reason (I live in an area with great infra-structure in São Paulo).

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    • icon
      WebDude (profile), 4 Mar 2015 @ 12:14pm

      Re: wireless market

      "pre-paid plans on one operator charge like $0,25 for unlimited connection but it's actually a daily 10 megabytes"

      Please name and shame them. I have unlimited data on mobile phone (tethering permitted with "all you can eat" allowed) for GBP 15/month (US$ 22.50 or so) {plus 2000 minutes voice, 5000 minutes to users on the same network (Three UK), and 5000 text messages}.

      Three don't get concerned if I hit 2 GB a day, or even more.

      Apologies if you're not talking about mobile networks, but some wireless to home/office service.

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      • icon
        Ninja (profile), 6 Mar 2015 @ 4:04am

        Re: Re: wireless market

        Yeah, you said it. Consumer protection services are already questioning the practice and they changed the marketing for some products. I doubt we'll see unlimited plans anytime soon but at least they are adapting the plans to be more in line with reality. I mean, 10 Mb really?

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Mar 2015 @ 6:17am

    This article is so stupid.

    Does Netflix also abandon their principles towards universal healthcare because they operate in the US where we don't have it while Australia does?

    A company operates within the framework available to it. Net Neutrality as a legal or regulatory concept doesn't exist in Australia. Are we all suddenly in favor of companies writing legislation?

    Netflix exists to make money, preferably by streaming content. If they can do it without having to fork over cash to monopolistic ISP's great. If they're forced to pay extra to get their content through the gateway then that's the bitter pill that has to be swallowed.

    They have no prerogative to be a moral crusader on your behalf you twit.

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    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 4 Mar 2015 @ 6:43am

      Re:

      "Does Netflix also abandon their principles towards universal healthcare because they operate in the US where we don't have it while Australia does?"

      I'll let you re-read this yourself and see if you can work out how stupid this is as an argument.

      "Net Neutrality as a legal or regulatory concept doesn't exist in Australia"

      Is it typical for other companies to have deals with the ISPs to bypass the usage caps, or is this a new situation? If the latter, the net neutrality most certainly does exist in Australia.

      "They have no prerogative to be a moral crusader on your behalf you twit."

      Before flinging the insults, perhaps you can try and work out why this is being seen as hypocritical (hint: "net" means Internet, which is global).

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        John, 4 Mar 2015 @ 2:44pm

        Re: Re:

        I believe that the third largest ISP (Optus) will be doing a data deal with Netflix.
        http://www.gizmodo.com.au/2015/03/optus-will-have-unmetered-netflix-too/

        There are also other streaming services (not as feature rich or popular as Netflix) that have streaming deals with ISP. FetchTV comes to mind.

        Although the data deals will make it difficult for startups, Australia needs Netflix to fight the dominate position held by Foxtel which dominates Australia's cable/satellite pay TV market. Foxtel is owned by News Corp and Telstra (Australia's largest teleco).

        I think once the blood has dried up from the streaming battle that is under way, the government needs to look at net neutrality laws. But I doubt that will happen unless it happens in the USA & some large multinational company will benefit from it.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 4 Mar 2015 @ 4:56pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Although the data deals will make it difficult for startups, Australia needs Netflix to fight the dominate position held by Foxtel which dominates Australia's cable/satellite pay TV market. Foxtel is owned by News Corp and Telstra (Australia's largest teleco).

          Are Netflix really fighting Foxtel though? If you have a cable and get your internet through that cable then you already pay and watch the TV delivered by the cable. You are not going to stop just to watch Netflix. You might do (and pay for both) but there will be massive overlap in content, so why?

          If you don't have cable then you don't have Foxtel. If you wanted to pay $100/month for Foxtel you would have before, so why now that Netflix have come down here?

          Netflix isn't fighting over-the-air TV beuase Netflix only has old content (two years plus). Want to watch Friends episodes - get Netflix or flick to Go on DTV and watch the endless repeats (example only).

          No, Netflix are fighting the dreaded (and imagined) piracy threat. Torrents are massive down here. Considering our friggin' caps that's a massive deal. Even heavily limited bandwisth is used to bring down current TV shows not available legally. Unfortunately, Netflix doesn't change that a lot, but people think they will.

          Perception is reality.

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      • icon
        MrTroy (profile), 4 Mar 2015 @ 8:35pm

        Re: Re:

        "Is it typical for other companies to have deals with the ISPs to bypass the usage caps, or is this a new situation? If the latter, the net neutrality most certainly does exist in Australia."

        Yes, as mentioned in the article: It's also worth noting that other streaming services (like ABC's iView or Foxtel's Presto) are already cap-exempt, so Netflix feels it too must be cap-exempt if it wants to enter the market on equal footing.

        It's hard to compete with alternatives if a typical monthly cap will only let you watch 7 hours of TV per month.

        Telstra is our biggest ISP (privatised government monopoly, they own most of the copper), and it'll run you more than $70 per month for a 50Gb usage cap (https://www.telstra.com.au/broadband/home-broadband#home-broadband-plans)

        Optus is about the same: http://www.optus.com.au/shop/broadband/phone/plans

        iiNet is actually significantly better, and you can get 100Gb for $30 per month if you can use iiNet's infrastructure, otherwise the same 50Gb cap only costs $40 per month if you use the Telstra copper.

        Not quoting NBN prices here, since I don't expect it to come to my house (8km from the city centre) before about 2020. "Building yesterday's network, tomorrow", indeed.

        But yeah, back to the original question; deals to bypass usage caps are very common here already.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 4 Mar 2015 @ 6:47am

      Re:

      It's obvious you disagree with the article. And you did an okay job communicating it here.

      But, then you decided to end it like this;

      ...you twit.

      If you are so convinced you are right, why resort to childish, petty name-calling to try to make your point?

      Reported out of principle.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Mar 2015 @ 6:26am

    LOL is this a joke title? Netflix is against net neutrality, I think it's pretty damn clear.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Mar 2015 @ 6:44am

    This is a step down the road into turning the Internet into another able service. If this becomes popular amongst ISPs, expect caps to drop, and packages including various service to arrive on the scene. Expect pricing of packages to be inversely proportional to how well a service is like by major content providers.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Mar 2015 @ 6:50am

    like just about everything, say what will get the service/item whatever up and running, then change things. this is the same in different locations. in the USA, no caps to keep customers happy and spending. in Aus, because they are used to caps, give the service as a capped service. it saves Netflix/iiNet money and upgrade costs plus as customers know nothing else, it wont hurt them until they get the bills for overage, that is!

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  • identicon
    spodula, 4 Mar 2015 @ 7:13am

    I think the problem is that Australian ISP usage caps are Comcast's wet dream.
    If they *didnt* do deals with ISPs, they wouldn't have a business there cos no-one other than those on the highest rate plans could afford the bandwidth.

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    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 4 Mar 2015 @ 7:41am

      Re:

      Yeah, there are ways of seeing this as outright hypocrisy. But, another way is just as another example of the hoops that Netflix need to jump through to create a viable business among legacy players and less forward-thinking environments.

      When Netflix wasn't available in Australia at all, they were criticised for allowing people to access their service from Australia through VPNs. It didn't matter that few similar services existed, they were bad guys for letting people pay for content. Now that it will be available, the onus is on them to make their offering as valuable as possible. In part, this means letting people use them as much as possible, which means not capping their bandwidth. As mentioned in the article, their direct competitors appear to be exempt from the caps, so it would be a bad business move not to use the same exemptions just to make a political point in the US. This could be a good move in the long term - as more services are exempt from caps, consumers will demand the removal of the caps completely.

      It's a shame this is happening the way it is while net neutrality is such a hot button issue elsewhere, but you can see where the thinking was. The blame for issue is still with the usual parties (the studios for regional licencing, the ISPs for caps and trying to treat packets differently), but Netflix probably could have handled this better.

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  • identicon
    SkeetX, 4 Mar 2015 @ 7:27am

    When in Rome...

    ... do as the Romans do.

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  • identicon
    Nic, 4 Mar 2015 @ 7:32am

    I have to say, I don't get the Netflix bashing here. Are they against Net Neutrality? Yes. Is there net neutrality in Australia? No. And then you say the bandwidth cap is at 100GB.

    So in other words, what you're saying is that Australia is an unattainable market unless Netflix pays to be exempted of caps. Much like when it came to American ISPs forcing Netflix's hands into paying them into getting decent speed for their customers, Netflix doesn't have much of a choice if it wants to enter the Autralian market and deliver a service they can use.

    Netflix is a business. Yes, it has principles but it won't let them get in the way of providing a good service to its customers. That's why they folded in light of Comcast, ATT, Verizon, etc purposely degrading the speed of their service in the U.S. It is also why Netflix is paying iiNet to be exempted from caps. Because otherwise, they would be provided a service that could barely be used (100GB is nothing when you watch a lot of HD videos).

    It still doesn't mean they're only against net neutrality only when it suits them. It only means they won't let those principles lose them business. Which it to expected from any company, Netflix or otherwise.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 4 Mar 2015 @ 7:54am

      Re:

      "Yes, it has principles but it won't let them get in the way of providing a good service to its customers."

      "It only means they won't let those principles lose them business."

      If you sacrifice your principles in order to make money, they're not really principles anymore.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 4 Mar 2015 @ 8:58am

        Re: Re:

        If you pay protection money to the mob to keep them from burning your business to the ground, does that mean that you are in favor of organized crime? Are you a hypocrite if you say you wish you weren't being extorted?

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        • icon
          John Fenderson (profile), 4 Mar 2015 @ 9:13am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "does that mean that you are in favor of organized crime?"

          No, it just means that you aren't willing to do anything about organized crime. Whether or not that's in opposition to your principles depends on what your principles are.

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    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 4 Mar 2015 @ 10:38am

      Re:

      "Yes, it has principles but it won't let them get in the way of providing a good service to its customers"

      Which means they don't have principles. Principles are things you stand by even when it hurts to do so.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 4 Mar 2015 @ 11:34am

        Re: Re:

        Best of both worlds. Netflix's individual executives can have certain principles (caps are practically a violation of human rights) while Netflix the corporate person can have others (human rights are geographically subjective).

        Corporate personhood is a great get-out-of-paradox-free card.

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      • icon
        legalcon (profile), 4 Mar 2015 @ 11:51am

        Re: Re:

        This is probably because net neutrality is useless in the abstract - there is nothing written stone about the treatment of data packets. What matters is quality of service, which net neutrality heretofore has provided. If quality can be maintained with less than neutral data treatment, that is OK. This is absolutely the Netflix position and it would be the majority position if so many idiots were crusading for an idea they cannot begin to understand.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 4 Mar 2015 @ 5:53pm

      Re:

      So in other words, what you're saying is that Australia is an unattainable market unless Netflix pays to be exempted of caps. Much like when it came to American ISPs forcing Netflix's hands into paying them into getting decent speed for their customers, Netflix doesn't have much of a choice if it wants to enter the Autralian market and deliver a service they can use.

      This I totally understand. It's entirely (likely?) feasible. So why the silence from Netflix? Why allow iiNet to dominate the conversation by trumpetting that this is somehow a good deal for iiNet customers, and thus a shitty deal for all others.

      It would massively spark off the conversation down here if Netflix publicly admitted that's what they were forced to do in order to get over the ISP stranglehold in the same way that it forced the conversation in the US. Might even get the pollies going down a similar road as Title II instead of the other way ("people bad, use internet for not good things, must impose three strikes").

      They are big enough to stand up and call out Comcast & AT&T but not iiNet or Optus? Really? Why the silence from Netflix?

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 4 Mar 2015 @ 6:11pm

      Re:

      It still doesn't mean they're only against net neutrality only when it suits them. It only means they won't let those principles lose them business. Which it to expected from any company, Netflix or otherwise.

      Then they are not principles. Principles are beliefs that you have that you'll stand up for when inconvenient, put you at a significant disadvantage, or even life-threatening.

      If a reporter won't give up his source because somebody says they'll lose money if they don't - or even their freedom - then we consider them to have a principle on source anonymity? If they give up the source so they don't lose money, then they don't have a principle on this topic.

      See the difference?

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Mar 2015 @ 7:55am

    I am a little confused by your article. Netflix supports Net Neutrality because first, it is good for Netflix, and second, it is an actually law in the US. So they are definitely going to be vocal about it.I don't believe Australia has any of those protections. If Netflix tries to change those laws, it is just going to look like some American corporation is trying to change Australia's laws.

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  • identicon
    fin, 4 Mar 2015 @ 8:12am

    kind of disagree

    the thing you have to remember about Internet connections in australia is it is much much more costly to run an ISP due to the vast amount of space between cities and the limited connectivity to the rest of the world, as such ISPs offer two things. World wide connections and content based within their own network.

    Internal access is outside the caps.

    Clearly the Australian government needs to do more to addressthe limited availability to connection outside oz so caps can be relaxeed but realistically what Netflix are proposing is running Netflix servers on the ISPs internal network not on the wider internet.

    This isn't prioritising them, its them running local versions at minimal cost to ISPs

    The fact this situation is needed is wrong but its not the same as the article suggests.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 4 Mar 2015 @ 9:51am

      Re: kind of disagree

      You are ignoring the problem that caps also impact downloading, and there is a lot of legal content that can be downloaded for free. Therefore by putting Netflix outside the caps, they are granted an advantage over free content, just by making their use viable.

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      • identicon
        fin, 4 Mar 2015 @ 11:38am

        Re: Re: kind of disagree

        Not at all.

        ISPs offer two services. Local services and internet access. Netflix is local and hence unlimited. The more expensive to access world wide internet is capped due to the limited connections out of Australia.

        The government needs to invest to ensure Australia can have the infrastructure it needs to remain attractive to businesses and to give its citezans the best.

        Once that infrastructure issue is resolved local services won't be needed.

        Until then local services on the ISP side are needed.

        Net neutrality doesn't even come in to this as the Netflix accessed in Australia isn't on the internet but rather on a network hosted by the ISP.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 4 Mar 2015 @ 6:05pm

          Re: Re: Re: kind of disagree

          ISPs offer two services. Local services and internet access. Netflix is local and hence unlimited. The more expensive to access world wide internet is capped due to the limited connections out of Australia.

          No, not "local" services, "prefered ISP" services. Got nothing to do with how geographically close you are to that content. I'm using local in the same context you are when you suggest the reason for the high cost is the distance over our wide brown land.

          iiNet is based in Adelaide (or is it Perth) a long, long way from the east coast here. Why does local content from our Sydney based data centres count towards the cap but data from Perth or Adelaide not? Answer: If iiNet says so. Netflix data will not be countered no matter how local it is to my house.

          My LAN is local. All content off my LAN is without usage caps. All packets on my LAN are equal. So we watch smeg loads off my LAN. My LAN cover's my property.

          If you are an iiNet customer than some (most?) of iiNet's WAN is without usage metering. But iiNet is not your LAN, so they can do what the govn't allows and charge what the market accepts.

          Distance is not the reason we have caps. We have caps because nobody cared to raise an objection 15 years ago. And now its the normal. We have caps because the "market" accepted it. People like you I suspect.

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      • icon
        WebDude (profile), 4 Mar 2015 @ 12:31pm

        Re: Re: kind of disagree

        From the other point of view, by being outside the caps, those services which are within capped/ monitored traffic are at least allowed to be used more freely without clashing with Netflix use.

        I write as someone in the UK where various ISPs have

        a) a fixed limit, with additional charges, or higher tiers, costing more.
        A few are unlimited during the night hours {00:00 to 08:00}.

        b) "totally unlimited" usage, where some ISPs cope better than others.

        I have 2 different phone lines and ISPs (plus mobile) as I work from home, and feel the need for backup, and I know one will be far more responsive in the evening than the other, heavily loaded, 'cheap' ISP.

        c) others claim "unlimited" but have a "Fair Use Policy" with {usually} no written limit, but simply means they can claim any user exceeding, say, 100 GB, is "impacting the network".

        Penalties can be financial, a throttled connection, or (after a few instances) being told to leave that ISP.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Dave, 4 Mar 2015 @ 5:30pm

      Re: kind of disagree

      sounds like Canada..

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Mar 2015 @ 8:44am

    Companies generally don't have principles.
    That's fine. They are there to make money, nothing else. Their only goal is to improve their own situation and lieing (wrongful self-portrayal here) is a good way to get what you want. Every child learns that very quickly.

    It's regulators should have principles and keep companies in check.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Mar 2015 @ 8:59am

    This would have been a better article had we a better writer. The click-bait headline, 'mountain out of a mole hill' sensationalist style isn't uncommon to the author.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Mar 2015 @ 9:20am

    I must say really disappointed in Netflix. This may be consumer friendly but it is a perversion of Net Neutrality. They look like massive hypocrites to me.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Bengie, 4 Mar 2015 @ 10:17am

    Apples and Oranges

    Down under, they have a lot of data caps because data the leaves the country is crazy expensive.

    Netflix can secure deals where Netflix provides a local peering point where the ISP knows the data doesn't need to go trans-Pacific.

    A lot of ISPs over there don't count data towards your cap if the network is locally peered. This is a normal practice over there.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 4 Mar 2015 @ 6:18pm

      Re: Apples and Oranges

      A lot of ISPs over there don't count data towards your cap if the network is locally peered. This is a normal practice over there.

      Not true. Would make the argument "Australia is far away and costs more" feasible if it was.

      Down here data excempt from your cap is totally up to the ISP depending on your package and the "market". Only a few specific offerings are exempt and different for each ISP, or even package.

      My LAN however, does not meter usage and everything is exempt if locally peered. Hence the vast caching of YouTube videos and TV shows. If not for that my kids would blow the cap on the 2nd day of every month.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    WebDude (profile), 4 Mar 2015 @ 12:04pm

    Should not be so hidden ...

    The sentence "It's also worth noting that other streaming services (like ABC's iView or Foxtel's Presto) are already cap-exempt, so Netflix feels it too must be cap-exempt if it wants to enter the market on equal footing." in the last para should have been reported far earlier.

    With that situation in mind, it goes without saying that to compete on a level playing field in the Australian market, Netflix would need to match the competition, at least to start with.

    I'm in full agreement that at a later date, they could speak out, but as AC {10:30} says, they are dealing with the status quo, and cannot rock the boat right now.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Mar 2015 @ 12:32pm

    Netflix is friends with the MAFIAA, therefore I won't give them any money.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    nasch (profile), 4 Mar 2015 @ 3:52pm

    Oddly, Netflix's position on this issue seems to differ depending on the hemisphere.

    You thought their position was based on principle, not self-interest? That would explain why you find this odd. :-)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Yeebok (profile), 5 Mar 2015 @ 12:58am

    Australian internet

    You're talking about Australian internet here mate. Nobody's going to be able to stream HD effectively. Most of us are lucky to have a 720p YouTube video play without stuttering.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Nathaniel Brown, 5 Mar 2015 @ 5:23am

    Local peering and the Big American pipe...

    The reality in Australia is that a lot of the Internet is hosted in the USA (for better or worse) and that means that most users have a high percentage of international traffic. Unfortunately that connection is limited (which we found out when a stupid ship destroyed one of the cables with an anchor. Look it up. The internet was horrible for about 6 month while another cable was physically laid).

    All ISPs have to pay for data on that connection. The data will never be free which means that no ISPs in Australia ever offered true unlimited data there has always been physical limitations (there was been unlimited dial up because the ISP could calculate the exact cost and charge based on that. There has also been unlimited ISDN again limited by physical speed). There are lots of plans that are called unlimited BUT they generally shape the data at some point.

    That being said they don't have to pay for peered content. The big ISPs screw you over and charge you for peered content. ISPs that are more consumer friendly (TPG & iiNet are ones that I have used in the past) generally have a list of peered services that you can use for free. The main thing on the list that I cared about are download mirrors that have local copies of Linux ISOs, Software downloads (there was a SourceForge & Tucows mirror back in the day). There was also a large list of gaming servers that were hosted in peering location.

    If you cared you could often find a local mirror and download files faster and free. Some also let you send data to other people on the same network for free (some don't). They don't all do this because they want to make money and the big ISPs don't do this at all.

    The main issue is that no Australian ISP can offer full unlimited internet at maximum speed without any limitations because too much of the data goes out of the country and that is unlikely to change any time soon. That connection is owned by a private company and they will keep on charging the ISPs as much as they can get away with. (It is cheaper for me to set up an Australian website in the USA than in Australia so why would I set it up in Australia ... hence a lot of smaller Australia websites are not hosted in Australia).

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Mar 2015 @ 3:46am

    As an Australian consumer I'd be one of the last to want to be seen to be supportive in any way of data caps, but I have to point out that iiNet doesn't charge for excess data over the cap - they just throttle the speed to something very low until the next month (all/most Aus ISPs do this).

    I suspect this article is mistakenly referring to mobile/cell data when it talks about paying 50c per GB excess.

    Uncapped plans do exist here (one good thing about the Aus market is there's more competition than in the US), I use one myself.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    James (profile), 19 Mar 2015 @ 5:04pm

    Not so bad

    I think it is worth noting that, in Australia, ALL ISPs have data caps.

    The fact that iiNet was willing to do a deal to allow unmetered data with Netflix actually shows a diversion from what we are used to down here (that being, ridiculously slow internet speeds, and data caps).

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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