Net Neutrality (slow loading Netflix)

If you are a Netflix binge-watcher, you may be curious as to how net neutrality will change your Netflix. Here is what you really need to know.

Net neutrality, in a nutshell, is the principle of a free and open internet. What that means is that an internet service provider (ISP) cannot block, slow down, or charge extra for any content on the web. Keeping the internet free and open means that we all have the same access to the same content. It’s is consumer protection from price gouging. However, Congress disagreed. On December 14, 2017, in a wildly unpopular move, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to repeal net neutrality.

What the Net Neutrality Repeal Could do to Netflix

Netflix is one of the most popular video streaming sites in the world. We use it on all our devices. So naturally, what many of us are asking right now is, what will that do to video streaming, specifically regarding Netflix? Netflix tv and movie streaming faces the threat of price hikes by our ISPs. If Internet Service Providers, (ISPs) such as AT&T and Comcast begin charging content sites like Netflix more for them to be accessible, the cost will ultimately be passed on to us: the consumers.

Streaming movies on Netflix faces danger from what people are calling “tiers:” offering paid “fast lanes” for content. Comcast has said in the past that they will not “prioritize Internet traffic or have paid fast lanes,” and most of us may want to believe them. But without net neutrality in place, there would be little that could stop them if they changed their minds.

Netflix is Gearing Up for a Fight, Though

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings seems to not be worried about it because “(The) culture around net neutrality is very strong. The expectations of customers are very strong. So even if the formal framework gets weakened, we don’t see a big risk actualizing, because consumers know they’re entitled to getting all of the web services.”

Fortunately for us, the happy binge-watchers of the world, Netflix is not happy with the recent FCC ruling. They have submitted a filing before the FCC expressing their displeasure and advocating for consumers and future innovation and are fully prepared to go to court to defend net neutrality. Netflix going to bat to keep their customers happy is one of the reasons we love them.

Congress can still vote to repeal the repeal. Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D – New York) has called for a Senate vote that would hopefully overturn the FCC decision. But with a Republican majority in the House of Representatives, it will likely be difficult. Not many Republicans are in opposition to the decision. Several states are also suing the FCC over the decision, so stay tuned. If the lawsuits or Congress repeals the repeal, net neutrality wins.

So, for right now our Netflix appears reasonably safe. But that is up to us. As customers, the proverbial ball is in our court. You and I have must take action. What should we do, you ask? First things first: contact your members of Congress and tell them to overturn the FCC ruling. At their peril do they mess with our movie streaming! These are our elected officials, and they work for us. As constituents, we must let them know what we care about.

Why Net Neutrality Matters for Netflix subscribers.

Featured image: CC 2.0 Espensorvik via Flickr. (With crawling snail progress bar added.)