Plenty of entertainment and tech executives like to privately complain about cable/Internet giant Comcast Corp., but few have been brave enough to do it as publicly as Netflix chief Reed Hastings.
Hastings’s recent complaints about having to pay Comcast more so Netflix subscribers can watch streaming videos without interruption have prompted a fair bit of pushback from Comcast*, which is trying to win approval from regulators to buy Time Warner Cable.
Sure, Hastings’s current agitating may be an obvious effort to force Comcast into a merger condition that would guarantee Netflix and other streaming video providers cheap, direct connections in the future.
But it highlights a disconnect between U.S. Internet providers, which say service is pretty good, and net neutrality advocates like Netflix, which worry that companies like Comcast — already the largest Internet provider in the U.S. — have too much control over what Americans can access online.
During two different Q&As at the Code Conference, Hastings and Comcast CEO Brian Roberts sparred over net neutrality, Internet competition and their once-friendly connection deal.
* Comcast’s NBCUniversal unit is an investor in Revere Digital, Re/code’s parent company.