Verizon Threatens to Sue Netflix Over Error Message

Netflix wants users to blame their Internet providers for slow videos.

National Journal
Brendan Sasso
Add to Briefcase
See more stories about...
Brendan Sasso
June 5, 2014, 11:28 a.m.

Ve­r­i­zon is threat­en­ing to sue Net­flix over a mes­sage the video site is dis­play­ing to users when their videos stall and buf­fer.

“The Ve­r­i­zon net­work is crowded right now,” a mes­sage to one user read. “Ad­just­ing video for smooth­er play­back.”

Ve­r­i­zon is furi­ous that it is be­ing blamed for poor video qual­ity and is warn­ing Net­flix it could face leg­al ac­tion over the “false ac­cus­a­tions.”

“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,” Ran­dal Milch, Ve­r­i­zon’s gen­er­al coun­sel, wrote in a cease-and-de­sist let­ter Thursday to his Net­flix coun­ter­part, Dav­id Hy­man.

In all like­li­hood, the prob­lems are a res­ult of how Net­flix has chosen to con­nect its video con­tent to Ve­r­i­zon’s net­work, Milch claimed.

In­stead of con­nect­ing dir­ectly to all broad­band net­works, Net­flix some­times re­lies on oth­er com­pan­ies to carry its traffic to the In­ter­net ser­vice pro­viders.

Blam­ing the In­ter­net ser­vice pro­viders, who only con­trol the last mile of the net­work, is “self-serving, de­cept­ive, in­ac­cur­ate and an un­fair busi­ness prac­tice,” Milch wrote.

He de­man­ded that Net­flix stop show­ing the no­tices and that the com­pany provide a list of all users who have re­ceived the no­tices.

Jor­is Evers, a Net­flix spokes­man, said the mes­sages are about con­sumers “get­ting what they paid for from their broad­band pro­vider.”

“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,” Evers said. The ISP Speed In­dex al­lows con­sumers to com­pare Net­flix per­form­ance on vari­ous pro­viders. 

AT&T cus­tom­ers have also re­por­ted re­ceiv­ing the con­ges­tion mes­sage, but it’s un­clear what oth­er pro­viders Net­flix is tar­get­ing.

What We're Following See More »
FBI TURNED DOWN REQUEST
Report: Trump Asked FBI to Deny Russia Stories
2 days ago
THE LATEST

"The FBI rejected a recent White House request to publicly knock down media reports about communications between Donald Trump's associates and Russians known to US intelligence during the 2016 presidential campaign, multiple US officials briefed on the matter tell CNN. But a White House official said late Thursday that the request was only made after the FBI indicated to the White House it did not believe the reporting to be accurate."

Source:
THE QUESTION
How Many Signatures Has the Petition for Trump’s Tax Returns Received?
3 days ago
THE ANSWER

More than 1 million, setting a record. More than 100,000 signatures triggers an official White House response.

Source:
TIED TO RUSSIA INVESTIGATION
Sen. Collins Open to Subpoena of Trump’s Tax Returns
3 days ago
THE LATEST

Sen. Susan Collins, who sits on the Intelligence Committee, "said on Wednesday she's open to using a subpoena to investigate President Donald Trump's tax returns for potential connections to Russia." She said the committee is also open to subpoenaing Trump himself. "This is a counter-intelligence operation in many ways," she said of Russia's interference. "That's what our committee specializes in. We are used to probing in depth in this area."

Source:
NPR ALSO LAUNCHES ETHICS WATCH
Obama Staffers Launch Group to Monitor Trump Ethics
3 days ago
WHY WE CARE

"Top lawyers who helped the Obama White House craft and hold to rules of conduct believe President Donald Trump and his staff will break ethics norms meant to guard against politicization of the government — and they’ve formed a new group to prepare, and fight. United to Protect Democracy, which draws its name from a line in President Barack Obama’s farewell address that urged his supporters to pick up where he was leaving off, has already raised a $1.5 million operating budget, hired five staffers and has plans to double that in the coming months." Meanwhile, NPR has launched a "Trump Ethics Monitor" to track the resolution of ten ethics-related promises that the president has made.

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login