Netflix is calling for new federal regulations to ensure it doesn't have to pay extra fees to deliver high-quality video streams to its customers.
In a blog post Thursday, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings warned that without government intervention, negotiations between Web services and Internet providers over connection deals could result in the kinds of blackouts that already plague cable television.
Last month, Netflix agreed to pay for direct access to Comcast's network. The agreement ensured smooth streaming for Comcast subscribers who watch Netflix, but it was the first time the Web video company had ever had to pay for such a direct connection deal. Hastings called the fee that Comcast demanded an "arbitrary tax."
"If this kind of leverage is effective against Netflix, which is pretty large, imagine the plight of smaller services today and in the future," Hastings wrote in the blog post.
The Netflix chief executive urged the Federal Communications Commission to bar Internet providers from "charging a toll" for interconnection deals.
The FCC enacted net neutrality rules in 2010 that require Internet providers to treat all Internet traffic equally, but the rules never covered interconnection deals like the one between Netflix and Comcast.