Writers Guild of America East to FCC: Ban Paid Priority, Period

Author: John Eggerton
Coverage Type: reporting
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States

The Writers Guild of America East says the Federal Communications Commission should prohibit paid priority and that presuming it to be commercially unreasonable, as FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has said would be his presumption if the results were disadvantaging competitors, is not enough.

WGAE also says the FCC should broaden network neutrality to prohibit paid priority deals for edge provider access to distribution networks, the "paid peering" arrangements that the Comcast/Netflix deals has put a spotlight on.

"The willingness of Netflix to pay Comcast/NBCU and Verizon huge fees to ensure swift and smooth streaming is economically rational for all the entities (and therefore commercially reasonable)," said WGAE in explaining how a commercially reasonable standard might not protect consumers. "Netflix’s product is made substantially more attractive to customers as a result, and Comcast/NBCU and Verizon gain enhanced revenues. Unfortunately, this also means that customers face upward price pressure, and content creators and distributors who do not pay for this prioritization have a substantially more difficult time attracting viewers."


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