Netflix Comes Out in Support for Net Neutrality, Tells FCC ‘We Will See You in Court’

Streaming giant announces support for legal action by lobby group Internet Association

Last Updated: January 5, 2018 @ 6:41 PM

Netflix isn’t letting net neutrality go without a fight.

The streaming giant retweeted its support for the Internet Association’s Friday announcement it would “intervene in judicial action to preserve net neutrality protections.” The IA plans on pushing back against the FCC’s decision last month to pull back Obama-era regulations that blocked internet providers from blocking access to particular sites, as well as creating paid “fast lanes” to view content.

“In 2018, the Internet is united in defense of #NetNeutrality,” retweeted the Netflix account. “For the FCC, we will see you in court.”

In the retweeted announcement, IA President and CEO Michael Beckerman said the decision, spearheaded by FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, hurts consumers and startups.

“The final version of Chairman Pai’s rule, as expected, dismantles popular net neutrality protections for consumers. This rule defies the will of a bipartisan majority of Americans and fails to preserve a free and open internet,” said Beckerman in the post. “IA intends to act as an intervenor in judicial action against this order and, along with our member companies, will continue our push to restore strong, enforceable net neutrality protections through a legislative solution.”

As The Atlantic pointed out, Netflix and its chief executive, Reed Hastings, have sent mixed signals on net neutrality in recent years. In a 2014 blog post, Hastings made the case for “strong net neutrality,” pushing back against “internet trolls” that threatened the internet’s standing as a “platform for progress.” (At the time, the streaming heavyweight had been jostling with Comcast — with Netflix ultimately agreeing to pay the company for “faster and more reliable access” to its customers.)
But as Netflix, behind shows like “Stranger Things” and “House of Cards,” continued to infiltrate homes across the globe, its tone changed. Hastings said net neutrality wasn’t the company’s “primary battle” last May, because the company was “big enough to get the deals we want.” Netflix’s support for the IA — which includes Amazon, Facebook, and Google among its members — indicates it sees the FCC’s decision as a battle worth fighting.