Pando

Netflix takes its hypocrisy on net neutrality to the land down under

By Nathaniel Mott , written on March 3, 2015

From The News Desk

Netflix is once again playing both sides of the net neutrality debate.

Gigaom reports that the company has partnered with iiNet, an Internet service provider, to make sure its content doesn't count against its customers' broadband caps in Australia.

The company is even bragging about striking the deal with iiNet -- and while there's no doubt this will be good for Netflix's customers, it's also somewhat hypocritical for what is widely regarded as one of net neutrality's biggest advocates to strike a deal like this one.

Anyone who's been paying attention knows that Netflix isn't one to abstain from deals like this when it wants to reach more people. Then it criticizes those same practices, just like it has with Comcast, its partner in some things and bitter enemy in many others.

As I explained in a post arguing that Netflix is a prime example of why there's no room in tech for ideology or altruism:

[Netflix] has come out in support of net neutrality in force, publishing blog post after blog post about the dangers companies like Comcast pose to the free Internet, and chief executive Reed Hastings is a staunch supporter of the open Web. But the company continues to make deals with Comcast and Verizon and other Internet companies that undermine the ideals that it purports to uphold — often while its blog is overrun with condemnations of those very same deals and how they could effect the Internet.

The company has an obvious motivation for making these deals: it can’t keep its users without them. Its catalog is far from comprehensive, its price continues to rise, and the best thing it has is the fact that its videos will start streaming whenever someone hits play. Consumers won’t pay more money for a service with fewer videos that look like a cubist painting until their Internet connection finally catches up to Netflix’s requirements. Netflix has taken that model with it to Australia, whose citizens will now be able to legally stream the service's eclectic mix of uneven original series and B-movies. I hope it's worthwhile. Otherwise Netflix is undermining its stated ideals for nothing.