The debate about net neutrality in Australia has officially opened up, with major telco Optus flagging that they may soon ask Netflix and similar companies to pay a fee to ensure quality streaming service.
When Netflix arrived in Australia, they did a deal with ISPs including iiNet and Optus, allowing customers to enjoy unmetered streaming and binge on all the shows they wanted to their hearts’ content.
Last week, however, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings admitted that he now regrets making this deal, as the company does not support capped internet, and signing such a deal effectively condones “discrimination among video services.”
Hastings said that Netflix would “avoid [similar deals] going forward”, and continue pushing for ISPs to get rid of data caps all together.
This week, Optus CEO Allan Lew mucked in with an entirely different proposal, saying that, while the company will “continue to preserve net neutrality”, he believes services like Netflix, Stan and Presto should be paying ISPs to ensure quality streaming.
Per reports in Fairfax, he told a Sydney telco conference that:
“To ensure that the optimised, or the best customer experience, is achieved by the end user we need to make sure that the [streaming services] – whether they’re Netflix or others – understand that to preserve the network quality and give you an HD video in the homes, they need to work collaboratively with us.”
Net neutrality is the principle that governments and ISPs should treat all data equally, without discriminating or charging differentially by content, platform, application, site or user.
Some have questioned the fairness of Lew’s proposal, in that Australian internet users already pay handsomely for their bandwidth, and such a move would lead to streaming services passing on further costs to consumers.
Netflix have yet to respond.