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Netflix is fighting back against broadband data caps

Interestingly, this was the only Netflix image available via our subscription (Photo: NurPhoto/Getty Images)

Preparing to hunker down for the cooler months of the year means running through a checklist of everything we’ll need to stay sane and alive. Included with the various foods and sundries is plenty of entertainment, a good chunk of which will undoubtedly be provided via streaming companies like Netflix. There’s so much forthcoming programming that you’ll need a guide (we’ve got you covered), and data—lots and lots of data. That’s why, according to Gizmodo, Netflix is going to the mat for you (and itself) and asking the FCC to scrap data caps.

When the FCC reclassified internet usage as a public utility, it struck a major blow for net neutrality advocates, Netflix among them. But the ISPs weren’t licked yet, and found various workarounds for their predicament. In addition to zero rating, there’s the broadband data caps which Netflix has been vehemently opposed to for a while (when its CEO wasn’t lauding Comcast for theirs, that is). It does have a vested interest, so the streaming giant and ersatz United Nations (190 countries and counting) has spoken out against the broadband data caps imposed by ISPs like Comcast—it deems them “an unnecessary constraint on advanced telecommunications capability.”

A data cap or allotment of 300 GB of data per month or higher is required just to meet the Internet television needs of an average American. This does not account for the other things that consumers typically do with their broadband connections, such as web-browsing or downloading games or apps from the Internet. An above average television watcher, a multi-occupant household, or a consumer wishing to watch in 4K requires a much higher cap or allotment. In this way, today’s ‘above-average’ Internet consumer is tomorrow’s average Internet consumer.

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Netflix’s point that there’s no way we can binge Luke Cage and also go online to pay our ISP and utility bills on the same data plan is a fair one, especially as 4K resolution increasingly becomes the standard. The document or “comment” it filed with the FCC isn’t part of any legal proceeding, but something that the organization will probably take under advisement now that its plans for municipal broadband expansion have been stymied.

[Note: Gizmodo, like The A.V. Club, is owned by Univision Communications.]

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