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Will Optus Try To Charge Netflix To Carry Streaming Traffic?

Will Optus Try To Charge Netflix To Carry Streaming Traffic?

At a conference earlier today  Optus CEO Allan Lew  Mr Lew said that he wants Optus to establish a premium service to be offered to “over the top providers” such as Netflix a Company that is stripping revenue out of Australia while not paying tax or collecting GST.

Net neutrality is the principle that all internet traffic should be treated equally and as such internet providers cannot prioritise certain content over others. The absence of net neutrality would mean ISPs could essentially divide the internet into lanes with different speeds, forcing businesses to pay more for the fast lane. The end result would essentially create an uneven playing field and could drive internet prices upwards. The issue is currently raging in the USA where some carriers want to charge Netflix for delivering their service. 

Fairfax Media said that the issue has been largely non-existent in Australia but speaking at the CommsDay conference in Sydney today, Mr Lew ignited the debate. 

Mr Lew told journalists at the event that companies such as Netflix and other streaming services must “understand they need to work collaboratively with Optus to preserve network quality.”

While the Optus CEO did stress the company would “preserve net neutrality,” he said the company is exploring the possibility of offering a premium service which could be provided to content providers for a potential fee.

US-based Netflix CEO, Reed Hastings has been a vocal proponent for net neutrality. 

Netflix is an outspoken supporter of net neutrality and has continually fought to preserve the principle in overseas markets. What Netflix don’t want to happen is that carriers whose networks are being choked by Netflix traffic resulting in the services of None Netflix subscribers being affected, charging Netflix to carry their streaming traffic. 

Last week the company said it would not enter into future unmetered data arrangements with Australian ISPs because they were at odds with the idea of net neutrality.

Following the launch of Netflix in Australia, iiNet users reported a slower than usual service as the ISP struggled to cope with the high rate of usage.

Fairfax went on to say that while the comment from the Optus chief speaks to addressing such a problem, detractors of the idea believe it will unfairly damage the democratic and open nature of the internet.