Netflix and Amazon’s chief technology officer took time to voice their unhappiness with the FCC’s decision to roll back net neutrality rules, a sentiment shared by many outside of the major ISPs.
Amazon CTO Werner Vogels tweeted his disappointment.
I am extremely disappointed in the FCC decision to remove the #NetNeutrality protections. We'll continue to work with our peers, partners and customers to find ways to ensure an open and fair internet that can continue to drive massive innovation. https://t.co/0NjoNr90A4— Werner Vogels (@Werner) December 14, 2017
Netflix issued a statement indicating a legal pushback was imminent.
We’re disappointed in the decision to gut #NetNeutrality protections that ushered in an unprecedented era of innovation, creativity & civic engagement. This is the beginning of a longer legal battle. Netflix stands w/ innovators, large & small, to oppose this misguided FCC order.— Netflix US (@netflix) December 14, 2017
Of course, both companies rely heavily on open internet access to ensure subscribers to their video streaming services can continue to uninterrupted access. But they were not the only online video companies to come out against the FCC’s decision.
It’s disheartening that the #FCC chose to ignore the public and approve a policy that benefits the few and powerful at the expense of creators, and the stories they work to tell. We look forward to challenging this misguided decision in court. #NetNeutrality— Vimeo (@Vimeo) December 14, 2017
Facebook, which has been accelerating its video strategy this year, also spoke out against the decision.
"Today's decision from the Federal Communications Commission to end net neutrality is disappointing and harmful. An open internet is critical for new ideas and economic opportunity—and internet providers shouldn't be able to decide what people can see online or charge more for certain websites," wrote CTO Sheryl Sandberg in a Facebook post. "We're ready to work with members of Congress and others to help make the internet free and open for everyone."
Last summer, Amazon, Netflix, Vimeo and BitTorrent all joined in a net neutrality online protest and posted pro-open internet messaging to their websites. Initially, Netflix was not one of the companies involved when the protest was first announced but the SVOD eventually got on board.
"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 said.
Netflix’s comments about its mitigated risk likely referred to a shareholder letter sent in early 2017, in which the company assured investors that Netflix had grown large enough and popular enough that a net neutrality rewrite would not impact it.
“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,” Netflix said.