Net Neutrality and Netflix

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Updated January 6, 2023

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.


  • Net neutrality is a set of internet-related laws guaranteeing similar treatment by internet service providers, regardless of size or profitability.
  • The FCC repealed US net neutrality in 2017, bringing concerns about internet favoritism and monopolies to the forefront of the national debate.
  • Given its size, Netflix stood to benefit from its leading market share and massive consumer base.

And if you’re concerned about how it may affect other sites, we have an article explaining how net neutrality affects small businesses.

Insider Tip

If you’re experiencing slow or spotty internet connections, try updating your router or downloading the latest OS version to your computer.

How Does Net Neutrality Affect Netflix?

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 However, in 2018, the FCC repealed net neutrality, completely altering the relationship between website platforms and their service providers.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.

What Was the Result of the 2018 Net Neutrality Repeal?

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.

Net Neutrality and Netflix FAQs

Has Netflix changed its opinion on net neutrality?

Netflix initially expressed its support of net neutrality laws back in 2017-18. However, many point out how Netflix benefits from the repeal and the potential deals they can cut with ISPs to decrease competition.

Is net neutrality going to return?

Although the neutrality debate continues, it’s likely to return at some point, depending on who heads the FCC or if congress passes legislation establishing it as federal law.

Do other countries have net neutrality?

Both specific countries and international communities, like the EU, have individual laws around net neutrality.
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