Netflix reverses course, joins net neutrality protest on July 12

Image: Netflix
Netflix in the past had been one of the staunchest proponents of classifying broadband under Title II and preventing ISPs from engaging in practices like throttling and blocking.

Netflix seems to have had a change of heart and will now participate in an internetwide net neutrality protest taking place on July 12.

When the list of organizations and companies participating first surfaced earlier this month, Netflix was notably absent from the group. Netflix in the past had been one of the staunchest proponents of classifying broadband under Title II and preventing ISPs from engaging in practices like throttling and blocking.

But as of today, Netflix is in.

Netflix’s decision to participate in this protest is not entirely surprising since the SVOD giant did participate in past internet protests like Internet Slowdown Day. But recent comments from Netflix management made it seem like net neutrality was no longer a primary concern for Netflix.

RELATED: Amazon, Vimeo, BitTorrent among groups planning net neutrality protest for July 12

“Weakening of U.S. net neutrality laws, should that occur, is unlikely to materially affect our domestic margins or service quality because we are now popular enough with consumers to keep our relationships with ISPs stable,” wrote Netflix CEO Reed Hastings in a letter to shareholders earlier this year.

Regardless, Netflix has jumped in with other companies including Amazon and BitTorrent to help lead the protest.

"We support strong net neutrality protections, even if we are at less risk because of our popularity. For years, we have been supporting through the Internet Association, and in January of this year, we outlined our support in our Q4 earnings letter. There are other companies for whom this is a bigger issue, and we're joining this day of action to ensure the next Netflix has a fair shot to go the distance," a Netflix spokesperson told FierceBroadcasting.

Battle for the Net said that on July 12 it will provide tools for all participating companies and groups to make it “super easy” for their followers and visitors to take action. The FCC has set a July 17 deadline for public comments on the proceedings.

“The FCC wants to destroy net neutrality and give big cable companies control over what we see and do online. If they get their way, they’ll allow widespread throttling, blocking, censorship and extra fees,” the groups wrote on the website.

“From the SOPA blackout to the Internet Slowdown, we've shown time and time again that when the internet comes together, we can stop censorship and corruption.”

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai earlier this year announced his plans to roll back some of the net neutrality rules introduced by his predecessor. Specifically, he wants to reclassify broadband as a Title I information service, rather than a Title II common carrier service.

This article has been updated to include a statement from Netflix.

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