Net neutrality nightmare unlikely, Netflix says

Internet providers are likely to keep an open Internet, despite the recent fall of the Obama administration’s net neutrality rules, Netflix said in a letter to investors Wednesday.

Last week, a federal court overturned critical parts of the Federal Communications Commission’s net neutrality rules, which prohibited Internet providers from blocking or slowing access to specific websites.

In theory, Internet providers can now slow down access to Netflix’s bandwidth-heavy video service and charge Netflix more for better access as a new way to generate profit, the company told investors.

“The most likely case, however, is that [Internet Service Providers] will avoid this consumer-unfriendly path of discrimination,” Netflix wrote.

Internet providers — such as Verizon, which brought the challenge against the net neutrality rules — “are generally aware of the broad public support for net neutrality and don’t want to galvanize government action,” the letter to investors said.

Internet providers are also looking to expand, not hinder, their already profitable broadband services, Netflix said. 

“Consumers purchase higher bandwidth packages mostly for one reason: high-quality streaming video,” and Internet providers are working with companies like Netflix to ensure the quality of that video streaming, the company wrote.

If Netflix faces the “draconian scenario” of having to pay an Internet provider or face degraded access to its subscribers, the company “would vigorously protest and encourage our members to demand the open Internet they are paying their ISP to deliver,” the letter said.

Additionally, “more regulation would clearly be needed” if Internet providers were to start degrading certain Internet traffic, Netflix said.