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NBN Co Proposes “Netflix Tax” For Video Streaming

Users of Netflix and similar services may soon be hit with extra charges with the NBN Co reportedly planning on charging extra for streaming videos compared to other traffic types on its network.

According to iTnews, the proposal is currently before NBN Co’s top 50 retail service providers (RSPs) and is already being met with alarm.

With streaming currently included in plans at no extra charge, the move could prove to be unpopular with users.

“There is absolutely no justification for NBN Co to be artificially throttling traffic to extract more money for passing video traffic that should be carried as part of the fundamental base service of connectivity,” Paul Brooks, Internet Australia chair, told iTnews.

“NBN Is a Layer 2 network – a simple pipe between customer and ISP – and should never be looking deeper into the packets to see or care what form of content is being passed through.”

“NBN Co is already artificially constraining its network throughput in the fixed wireless and satellite footprints. This was understandable.”

“The radio network and the satellite network are shared, bandwidth-constrained access networks so there’s an argument for slowing down users for traffic smoothing, but not to extract further revenue.”

“But there is no argument for doing that in the fixed line parts of the network – there should be no bandwidth constraint there.”

NBN Co refused to reveal any preliminary work it has done around modelling how traffic differentiation on the NBN side might be implemented.

“We are engaging with the industry in a confidential consultation process and will not be commenting,” an NBN Co spokesperson told iTnews.

According to Brooks, because this is a public network paid for through taxpayers’ funds, NBN Co should make the consultation paper public.

“We should all have visibility for what they’re proposing,” Brooks continued.

“They should immediately make the consultation paper public, and allow customers and the rest of the industry who are not directly connected RSPs to comment on the proposal.”

Telstra and Optus have recently accused NBN Co of not listening to RSP feedback in similar consultation processes.

RSPs have also separately complained about having little input into commercial negotiations with the government-owned corporation.

The ACCC has yet to publicly comment on whether or not NBN Co’s plans are acceptable.

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