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In the online age of consumer privacy laws and rights, net neutrality is a conversation that’s constantly being debated. Net neutrality affects all corners of the internet, big and small. Below, we’ll explain net neutrality and Netflix, including how the platform is affected by internet regulations and what it means for users.
And if you’re concerned about how it may affect other sites, we have an article explaining how net neutrality affects small businesses.
If you’re experiencing slow or spotty internet connections, try updating your router or downloading the latest OS version to your computer.
Before understanding the effects of net neutrality on specific sites, you must know what it is. In essence, net neutrality is a theory that the internet should be legally enforced to serve a level playing field. So, without net neutrality, internet providers could play favorites or charge extra money for faster video load times or additional bandwidth.
For a long time, there were stipulations in place that guaranteed net neutrality. However, in 2018, the FCC repealed net neutrality, completely altering the relationship between website platforms and their service providers.
Many claimed that content providers like Netflix that take up enormous amounts of internet traffic might struggle to maintain fast speed because of the heavy fees that could be placed on them by ISPs.
There were many implications for Netflix and its users, such as geo-specific sites receiving slower load speeds than others. It also meant that the quality of mobile platforms could plummet. And there was even some worry about monthly data limits being placed on users.
However, as with most laws, there were two sides to the coin. Because many neutrality advocates were quick to point out that in repealing net neutrality, Netflix was a company that could easily afford to pay fees, given its position as one of the major streaming platforms.
Many claimed the repeal would benefit Netflix because the regulations disproportionately affect smaller streaming platforms. As a result, it would increase Netflix’s standing and further establish it as a monopoly in the streaming industry.
For additional resources, check out our similar article explaining how net neutrality affects YouTube.
In some countries with fewer internet equality laws, users must pay an additional fee to access the Netflix platform.
The result of the repeal didn’t lean too heavily one way or the other, and the results are hard to interpret clearly. Overall, the impact of the repeal hasn’t been as severe as once predicted. However, without net neutrality, ISPs can place harsh restrictions on Netflix or any other site at any moment.
STAT: As of 2018, Netflix consumed a staggering 15 percent of the global internet traffic. (source)
If you want to learn more about internet equality laws, check out our article explaining the pros of net neutrality.