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Hastings: Possible Net Neutrality Changes ‘Unfortunate’

Netflix chairman and CEO Reed Hastings told CNBC he believes the proposed unraveling of federal net neutrality regulations would be “unfortunate” but are unlikely to have a big impact on the streaming video giant.

President Trump and Federal Communications Commission chairman Ajit Pai have proposed rolling back net neutrality rules that formally state that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) should enable access to all content and applications regardless of the source and without favoring or blocking particular products or websites. Critics of net neutrality say competition already ensures that and providers should be allowed to manage their own networks. Earlier this month the FCC voted to begin the process of eliminating the Title II classification of ISPs, which some have said hampers investment in broadband infrastructure. 

“We’ll see if they do change the rules,” Hastings told CNBC'sSquawk Box ahead of his panel discussion at the Code Conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif. Wednesday. “That would be unfortunate but it’s probably going to happen. I don’t think it will be a big deal. I think the principals of net neutrality are very well accepted by all the large ISPs around the world, not just in the U.S. In many countries we don’t have net neutrality laws, but we don’t have problems either.”

Those comments are a departure from Hasting’s stance just a few years ago, when he claimed that without net neutrality, content providers would be forced to pay a toll to ISPs to ensure their content wasn’t impeded. Netflix reluctantly agreed to pay such a toll to Comcast in 2014.

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