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Netflix spars with Verizon over network slowness

Netflix places the blame on Verizon for choppy service to customers

It might not be surprising how opposed some content developers are to new Federal Communications Commission rules that allow Internet Service Providers to charge them for better service. But Netflix has been more vocal than most in their distaste of such rules, recently lashing out at Verizon and laying the blame squarely on the ISP for choppy and unresponsive network services.

In early June, Netflix added a notice to their buffering error messages saying, “the Verizon network is crowded right now,” when connectivity was slow. On June 5, Verizon sent Netflix a cease-and-desist letter that threatened legal action if the message was not removed.

Verizon’s cease-and-desist letter accuses Netflix of erroneously giving customers the impression that their network is “generally crowded,” an assessment that say could potentially hurt their subscriber base. Netflix says that they have no control over such issues with their service, saying it is totally reliant on the network.

Netflix fired back at Verizon on June 9 in a letter saying that Verizon’s “attempt to shift blame for our customer’s experience on the Verizon network ‘squarely to Netflix itself’ disregards Verizon’s responsibility to provide customers with the service it has promised them.” Netflix has refused to change the error message.

Earlier this year, Netflix paid an undisclosed amount for better service on both Verizon and Comcast networks but has made it obvious they were less than thrilled going this route. Recently, an internal audit by Netflix showed speeds have not increased since the deal with Verizon, likely prompting their current spat with the ISP.

Netflix’s CEO, Paul Hasting, has been vehemently opposed to the use of such deals in improving service. In a blog post in February, Hasting said, “Some big [Internet service providers] are extracting a toll because they can — they effectively control access to millions of consumers and are willing to sacrifice the interests of their own customers to press Netflix and others to pay."

No word yet on whether or not Verizon will file action against Netflix over the issue.


For more on networking and entertainment, check out these stories:

FCC Chairman remarks that new net neutrality laws will not cover connection deals

Top antitrust regulator drops out of Comcast/TWC review

Hollywood battles torrent services

Executive Editor

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Chris DiMarco

Chris DiMarco, Executive Editor of InsideCounsel magazine, has a background in multimedia production with previous involvement in projects in which he developed and created content...

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