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Netflix Is Urging the FCC to Fight Back Against Data Caps so You Can Watch More Netflix

We put Netflix in your Netflix!


Netflix keeps most of its viewership data to itself (with some recent exceptions), but there’s one thing they’re making perfectly clear: people who do watch Netflix need to be able to watch more of it. That’s what they’re telling the FCC, as the streaming Internet TV giant jumps into the fray to fight against data caps imposed by Internet service providers.

Right now, for a lot of viewers, that may seem unnecessary. Some ISPs don’t have data caps at all, and some have caps that are so high that the average customer probably never notices them in practice, let alone in the small print. However, as TV manufacturers (and other video-based companies) continue to wage war over the best possible picture, more and more of that precious allotment of Internet traffic gets eaten up just to make all those 4K TVs worth the money everyone spent on them.

As that happens, Netflix tells the FCC in a comment filing, the caps become “an unnecessary constraint on advanced telecommunications capability.” That, of course, flies in the face of net neutrality. Charging a premium, through extra fees upon exceeding a data cap, for what Netflix believes will soon be the streaming activity of “tomorrow’s average Internet consumer” makes it preferential for those users to find something else to do on the Internet—or somewhere else to watch TV, which the cable provider/ISP combo companies would certainly like.

Netflix further argued that, while data caps on mobile networks are at least there for a reason but are too low, “[d]ata caps on fixed ­line networks do not appear to serve a legitimate purpose: they are an ineffective network management tool.” Their comment also called out “zero-rating,” the loophole practice of ISPs making some Internet traffic free to users, since they’re not allowed to charge extra for all the rest, which Netflix pointed out that ISPs may actually charge the content providers to do. The FCC has zero-rating under review at the moment, so whether or not it’s for the company’s own self-interests, it’s good to have Netflix in our corner, battling against the cable providers that would happily keep us stuck in the past—their lucrative, lucrative past.

(via Gizmodo, image via Netflix)

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Dan Van Winkle (he) is an editor and manager who has been working in digital media since 2013, first at now-defunct Geekosystem (RIP), and then at The Mary Sue starting in 2014, specializing in gaming, science, and technology. Outside of his professional experience, he has been active in video game modding and development as a hobby for many years. He lives in North Carolina with Lisa Brown (his wife) and Liz Lemon (their dog), both of whom are the best, and you will regret challenging him at Smash Bros.