Feeds

Verizon threatens Netflix in video lag blame game

Carrier threatens to release its (legal) hounds over flick-flinger's error messages

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Verizon is threatening legal action against Netflix after the streaming video service began streaming error messages that blame Verizon for slow network traffic.

The telecom giant has sent a cease-and-desist letter to Netflix, demanding that the company stop sending its users notification messages that point the finger at Verizon when videos are slow to load. The messages, as posted below, tell users "The Verizon network is crowded right now."

Shortly after the above Tweet from Vox designer Yuri Victor was posted, media outlets began picking up and retweeting the news, prompting Verizon to shoot off the cease-and-desist letter to the Netflix legal office. Verizon provided El Reg with copy of the letter, excerpted below.

There is no basis for Netflix to assert that issues with respect to playback of any particular video session are attributable solely to the Verizon Network. As Netflix knows, there are many different factors that can affect traffic on the Internet, including choices by Netflix in how to connect to its customers and deliver content to them, interconnection between multiple networks, and consumer in-home issues such as in-home wiring, WiFi, and device settings and capabilities.

The letter goes on to claim that Netflix has opted to rely on a number of "middle-man networks" rather than agree to a direct connection deal with Verizon. Because of this, says Verizon, the streaming video provider has only itself to blame for poor traffic.

"To now accuse last-mile ISPs of being solely responsible for service issues that may relate to congestion on peering circuits stemming from network arbitrage by upstream providers is self-serving, deceptive and an unfair business practice," Verizon said.

Netflix, meanwhile, maintains that it has nothing to hide and that Verizon is indeed at fault for poor performance of the service on their network.

"This is about consumers not getting what they paid for from their broadband provider," a Netflix spokesman told El Reg.

"We are trying to provide more transparency, just like we do with the Netflix ISP Speed Index, and Verizon is trying to shut down that discussion," he said.

The spat comes even as the two companies are said to be preparing a direct-connect setup, which would in fact see Netflix establish a direct pipeline for the service with Verizon. The companies have not given any timetable for that process other than saying it would be complete "in the coming months." ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
YOU are the threat: True confessions of real-life sysadmins
Who will save the systems from the men and women who save the systems from you?
Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked
Attack of the Clones? Yeah, but much, much scarier – report
Broadband sellers in the UK are UP TO no good, says Which?
Speedy network claims only apply to 10% of customers
Virgin Media struck dumb by NATIONWIDE packet loss balls-up
Turning it off and on again fixes glitch 12 HOURS LATER
Ofcom snatches 700MHz off digital telly, hands it to mobile data providers
Hungry mobe'n'slab-waving Blighty swallows spectrum
Fujitsu CTO: We'll be 3D-printing tech execs in 15 years
Fleshy techie disses network neutrality, helmet-less motorcyclists
Facebook, working on Facebook at Work, works on Facebook. At Work
You don't want your cat or drunk pics at the office
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Getting ahead of the compliance curve
Learn about new services that make it easy to discover and manage certificates across the enterprise and how to get ahead of the compliance curve.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.