Netflix accused of changing its tune on new FCC rule regulating the Internet

Netflix accused of changing its tune on new FCC rule regulating the Internet

Netflix, which has long been one of the biggest corporate backers of tough Internet regulations, is being accused of having a change of heart. 

While the company had previously pushed for net neutrality regulations that treated broadband Internet service like a public utility under Title II of the Communications Act, chief financial officer David Wells offered a more tempered tone on Wednesday.

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“Were we pleased it pushed to Title II? Probably not,” Wells said at a Morgan Stanley conference, according to Variety. “We were hoping there would be a non-regulated solution.”

Soon after news of the comments emerged, critics of the tough Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations were quick to highlight them as an apparent sign that the company was coming around to their view.

“Maybe they didn't actually think the FCC would do it?” Brian Dietz, a spokesman for the National Cable and Telecommunications Association, speculated on Twitter.

Company spokeswoman Anne Marie Squeo denied that the online video provider was reversing itself.

“Netflix supports the FCC's action last week to adopt Title II in ensuring consumers get the Internet they paid for without interference by [Internet service providers],” she said in an email to The Hill. “There has been zero change in our very well-documented position in support of strong net neutrality rules." 

Netflix has previously agreed with other companies and advocates that the strong Title II rules are the best way to prevent Web providers such as Comcast or Time Warner Cable from blocking, slowing or otherwise interfering with people’s access to the Internet. In a brief statement after Democrats on the FCC approved the tough rules, Netflix called it a “win” for consumers.

Not only did Netflix advocate to the public in favor of stronger rules, it also spoke with the FCC on 16 different occasions ahead of the vote last week. 

Opponents have said the tough rules would inevitably lead to higher costs and worse service for consumers.