Netflix CEO Calls For Australian ISPs To Scrap Caps, Praises NBN

Image: Wikimedia Commons

Image: Wikimedia Commons


Netflix CEO Reed Hastings has called for Australian ISPs to abandon capped plans, and hailed the NBN as the reason that the streaming giant is now expanding Down Under.

Speaking to Gizmodo, Hastings advocated for plans to be based on download speed rather than download quantity, saying that although Australian providers have increased their caps in recent years, he would prefer to see them abolished altogether.

“There’s no reason for data caps. We want to make the internet unmetered. Period,” Hastings said. “The capped model is antiquated: we want to make it about speed. 10Mbps will cost more than 1Mbps and 50Mbps will cost more than 10Mbps and that makes sense.”

This idea could have a future in Australia, with NBN Co announcing this week that it will offer customers the option to upgrade the NBN infrastructure that their homes will be connected to.

Hastings also cited the launch of the NBN as a major factor in Netflix’s decision to launch in Australia, saying it was “what got us to think ‘let’s get in there and go now.’”

“With NBN, Australia has jumped to be one of the leaders in the world in internet infrastructure and the idea that the fundamental fibre backbone is going to get — knock on wood — 97 per cent of people… is unlike anything that has ever been done in the history of the world. That really got our attention”.

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Streaming announcements in Australia are coming thick and fast, with rivals Stan and Presto both competing with Netflix for Australian viewers. However, Hastings welcomes the competition.

“I’ve never seen anything like it where there’s no good internet [streaming] services for five years and then three, boom,” Hastings said. “The competition between us will be fun and intense and great for Australians. We’re all going to scramble for content with these services.”

The scrambling is already underway, with Presto announcing an exclusive content deal with 20th Century Fox, while Stan has signed an agreement with Roadshow Entertainment.

With regard to the possibility of original Australian content, Hastings was noncommittal, saying that “it’s not the first thing we do when we open but we launched an original in Norway — Lilyhammer… We produce them locally for the globe. Look to us to do that: find great stories to tell that are set in Australia with Australian talent but are global phenomenons”.

Netflix launches in Australia March 24.