Netflix CEO Reed Hastings: Net Neutrality Is a ‘Consumer Expectation’

July 17, 2018, 9:58 PM UTC

Netflix’s CEO Reed Hastings believes that — despite the rollback in the U.S. — “net neutrality advocates have won the day.” The reason? Now consumers around the world have come to expect it, he says.

Hastings, along with other Netflix execs answered questions — spanning coming up short on subscriber growth expectations, original content, licensing, and international markets — on Monday in a Q2 earnings call.

“Around the world, net neutrality has won as a consumer expectation,” Hastings said. “Some countries have net neutrality laws and other countries don’t, but broadly around the world consumers have the expectation and ISPs are delivering it.”

Net neutrality, as enacted in 2015, reclassified broadband as a utility, barring internet service providers from creating an internet fast vs. slow lane. It was supported by Hastings and other tech CEOs.

However, the Trump administration appointed net neutrality opponent Ajit Pai as chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, which voted to repeal net neutrality in December of 2017.

“We’re disappointed in the decision to gut #NetNeutrality protections that ushered in an unprecedented era of innovation, creativity and civic engagement,” Netflix said in a tweet following the December decision. “This is the beginning of a longer legal battle. Netflix stands w/ innovators, large and small, to oppose this misguided FCC order.”

Despite Hastings’ support of net neutrality, however, in May of 2017, Hastings told the Code Conference that fighting to keep the rules were not Netflix’s “primary battle at this point.”

Overall he said net neutrality is important, but “not narrowly important to us because we’re big enough to get the deals we want.”

In May of this year, the U.S. Senate passed legislation to protect net neutrality rules, but the bill faces hurdles from the House of Representatives and President Donald Trump.