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18 Apr 2017

Netflix opens up a dialogue on Indian net neutrality debate

After playing a prominent role in the fight for net neutrality in the US, Netflix now weighing in on the same topic in India by making calculated moves on an already controversial issue.

By filing a partial response to TRAI's consultation paper on net neutrality, Netflix for the first time has started a dialogue with the Indian telecom regulator over the issue.

In context

Netflix dips toe in Indian net neutrality debate
Netfilx's stand on the issue


Netfilx's stand on the issue

In paid prioritization, content providers can buy ISPs to put their content on a "fast lane", giving them an added advantage.

Netflix has now presented an argument against this practice and asked TRAI to ban this kind of discrimination.

Netflix had earlier also asked US government to prevent internet providers from discriminating "both technically and financially against internet companies" along with Google and Amazon.


Netflix rallies to protect Content Delivery Networks

Netflix openly defended Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) which are basically set-up by Internet companies across the world in order to improve data transfer speeds and cut expenses.

TRAI had mentioned in its consultation paper that it might regulate CDNs.

Netflix in its reply said that CDNs are not only anti-competitive and cost reducing but also good for "consumers, ISPs and Internet users in general".

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Netflix turned a deaf ear to all the important questions

Bumbling replies

Netflix turned a deaf ear to all the important questions

While Netflix did mention that a group of stakeholders should enforce net neutrality, its submission didn't answer a series of questions asked by TRAI on its proper implementation.

Netflix agreed that internet providers should be sharing information about how to manage traffic, it conveniently overlooked what information it might require ISPs to provide for the same.


Why did Netflix openly defend CDN so strongly?

In open Connect CDN, Netflix spreads out free copies of its catalogue to internet providers so that subscribers can download contents from these various internet providers instead of only from the Netflix server.

In the past FCC chairman, Ajit Pai had alleged that Open Connect CDN was a Netflix practice which is contradictory to the firm's net neutrality supporting programmes.

Safeguarding its own interests

Open Connect

Safeguarding its own interests

Netflix, has recently rolled out Open Connect in five Indian cities across three internet providers and is also spreading it out in Pakistan with the help of its state-owned internet provider PTCL.

This expansion is the reason why Netflix felt the need to vehemently defend CDNs, while the Indian telecom regulator mentioned its intention of imposing regulations on it.


Where does Netflix stand in India

Netflix currently has 4.2 million active users in India and is gearing up to spend around Rs. 2,000 crore to improve India's experience of binge-watching.

Netflix has also recently signed partnership deals with Shah Rukh Khan's Red Chillies Entertainment and Viacom 18 Media Pvt Ltd for producing original contents exclusively for the Indian audience.

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