The Federal Communications Commission is looking into recent disputes that Netflix claims have degraded its video quality.
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler announced Friday that he will request internal company documents to learn more about the disputes over network interconnection and decide whether regulations are necessary. The agency has already obtained the contracts that Netflix struck with Comcast and Verizon.
"Consumers must get what they pay for," Wheeler said. "As the consumer's representative we need to know what is going on."
The action follows calls from Netflix for the FCC to intervene in the area and comes as the FCC is under fire from activists and consumer groups for advancing net-neutrality rules that they believe are too weak to protect online freedom.
Wheeler emphasized that the disputes over interconnection are separate from the agency's net-neutrality proposal.
Net neutrality controls only how Internet service providers must handle traffic once it's on their networks. But the recent fights between Netflix and the Internet service providers are over how networks connect to each other.
For years, websites have hired third parties to deliver their content to Internet providers, which carry the data to consumers' homes. Recently, because of the massive amount of data that Netflix is delivering to its subscribers, the company has been bypassing those third parties and connecting directly to the providers' networks. Those direct connections ensure that Netflix videos stream as smoothly as possible.