Netflix issued a statement today lamenting a federal appeals court’s decision to effectively end net neutrality rules.
Without net neutrality, it means Internet providers can treat the content they deliver over the Web differently. For example, if an Internet provider wants to create its own streaming video service, it could theoretically slow down or charge you extra to use a rival service like Netflix.
Netflix, of course, isn’t a fan of that. It’s better for Netflix if the government keeps net neutrality rules and forces all content to be distributed equally over the Internet. However, Netflix’s statement is pretty realistic and notes that Internet providers are unlikely to slow down or charge for services like Netflix any time soon.
Still, Netflix warns that there might be a push for more regulation of Internet providers if they start slowing down certain types of data:
In the long-term, we think Netflix and consumers are best served by strong network neutrality across all networks, including wireless. To the degree that ISPs adhere to a meaningful voluntary code of conduct, less regulation is warranted. To the degree that some aggressive ISPs start impeding specific data flows more regulation would clearly be needed.
Here’s the full statement from Netflix:
Unfortunately, Verizon successfully challenged the U.S. net neutrality rules. In principle, a domestic ISP now can legally impede the video streams that members request from Netflix, degrading the experience we jointly provide. The motivation could be to get Netflix to pay fees to stop this degradation. Were this draconian scenario to unfold with some ISP, we would vigorously protest and encourage our members to demand the open Internet they are paying their ISP to deliver.
The most likely case, however, is that ISPs will avoid this consumer-unfriendly path of discrimination. ISPs are generally aware of the broad public support for net neutrality and don’t want to galvanize government action. Moreover, ISPs have very profitable broadband businesses they want to expand. Consumers purchase higher bandwidth packages mostly for one reason: high-quality streaming video. ISPs appear to recognise this and many of them are working closely with us and other streaming video services to enable the ISPs subscribers to more consistently get the high-quality streaming video consumers desire.
In the long-term, we think Netflix and consumers are best served by strong network neutrality across all networks, including wireless. To the degree that ISPs adhere to a meaningful voluntary code of conduct, less regulation is warranted. To the degree that some aggressive ISPs start impeding specific data flows, more regulation would clearly be needed.