Netflix CEO Opens Up on Net Neutrality

November 20, 2014  • Kathryn Le Dain, Guest Blogger

Above, watch Netflix CEO Reed Hastings discuss net neutrality with Aspen Institute President and CEO Walter Isaacson (watch the full conversation).

On an Aspen Institute stage, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings voiced support for a free and open Internet. His comments on net neutrality echoed the latest statements by President Barack Obama. As the Federal Communications Commission weighs final rules for Internet providers, the relationship between Netflix and network carriers is fascinating. By one measure, Hastings’ company is responsible for 34% of North American Internet traffic — and Netflix has a need for speed.

Hastings, who is also a Henry Crown Fellow, shared his thoughts on the controversial topic with Aspen Institute President and CEO Walter Isaacson last week during the Institute’s annual awards dinner. He was awarded the 2014 Henry Crown Leadership Award.

“The American people want this idea of the Internet as a basic utility, like electricity,” Hastings said. “Less and less the Internet is being seen like air travel, or entertainment, or a luxury.”

Hastings went on to say he does not believe that Netflix will be affected by the debate over whether the government should guarantee this freedom.

“That’s a very exotic unlikely scenario,” he told Isaacson. “Most people in America and around the world want net neutrality to be an open and free force… it’s the label representing openness and choice and community that’s very positive for our society.”