Netflix says chief financial officer David Wells never turned his back on net neutrality, despite some comments he made at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom Conference earlier this week.
Some people were upset because during an onstage conversation, Wells said, “Were we pleased that it pushed to Title II, probably not, right? I mean, we were hoping that there might be a non-regulated solution to it,” regarding the Federal Communications Commission ruling last week that classified the Internet under Title II of the 1934 Communications Act.
Because Netflix had stood so firmly behind net neutrality, his statement immediately ignited the Internet community, who felt that his comment contradicted Netflix’s campaign in favor of net neutrality:
— Katy Bachman (@KatyontheHill) March 4, 2015
In newly released statement, Netflix offers a full transcript of Wells’ comments, which address how the company feels about the recent reclassification of the Internet as a public utility. Wells admits that regulation is never the desired outcome, but it was a necessary one:
So, over the last year, we’ve been very pleased that we’ve been able to rise the issues beyond that narrow piece out into the public consciousness, and I think that, that has come before. Were we pleased that it pushed to Title II, probably not, right? I mean, we were hoping that, there might be a non-regulated solution to it. But it seems like companies that are pursuing their commercial interests including us have to arrive at something like that. So we’re super pleased that there is now a notion, at least a vehicle, for a complaint where if we are in the position we were in 12 to 18 months ago, where we can show you what it looks like if you’re a subscriber on one ISP versus another. The notion of “well we’re paying this one” and that these people are getting better service, even though they’re both paying their consumer price for bandwidth. So I would say we are very pleased with what’s been accomplished. You know when you’re successful as the ISPs are at providing a service. Essentially Internet has become a utility. If you think about people’s willingness to drop their broadband, I think there’s been some studies that they’re willing to drop many other things including buying milk before they dropped their broadband. That’s a pretty strong indicator that you’ve got something that has become, you know, a utility. And in our opinion it was very important to protect those notions.
The bottom line is that by the end of his speech Wells reinforces the idea that classifying the Internet as a public utility was the right thing to do. Meaning, in no way was the executive contradicting the company’s agenda leading up to the FCC vote on net neutrality last week.
To hear the audio of the conversation, click here.
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