Netflix Hires Former Skype Executive and FCC Advisor to Head Government Relations

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Christopher Libertelli comes aboard as debate over usage-based billing heats up.

Netflix said Thursday it has hired as its head of global government relations Christopher Libertelli, a former Skype executive and legal advisor to the chairman of the FCC.

Libertelli will replace Michael Drobac, who said he’ll leave Netflix to launch his own public-service and health-care company. Last year, Drobac established a government-relations office in Washington.

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The appointment of Libertelli comes at a time when Internet service providers are mulling the possibility of usage-based billing, whereby users pay more if they use more bandwidth.

Netflix subscribers who stream movies and TV shows, naturally, use a ton of bandwidth, and its business could be harmed dramatically if UBB takes hold.

Netflix, in fact, has already complained to the FCC about the prospect of UBB, so Libertelli’s connections there should come in handy.

“Christopher is a seasoned public affairs executive with great insight into the global regulatory issues that Internet-based companies like Netflix face,” said Netflix general counsel David Hyman.

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In July, Hyman wrote a plea against UBB that appeared in the Wall Street Journal.

“While the question used to be whether or not to bill based on consumption, the talk now is of how and when to do it,” he wrote. “Such a shift is bad news for consumers and threatens to slow down the innovation powering today’s Internet economy.”

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