Netflix Will Stop Blaming Internet Providers for Slow Speeds — for Now

Verizon threatened to sue the video site over the congestion messages.

National Journal
Brendan Sasso
June 9, 2014, 9:25 a.m.

With Ve­r­i­zon threat­en­ing leg­al ac­tion, Net­flix said Monday it will stop telling users that their In­ter­net ser­vice pro­viders are re­spons­ible for poor video qual­ity.

In a blog post, Net­flix said the mes­sages are part of a “small-scale test” that will end June 16. “We will eval­u­ate rolling it out more broadly,” Jor­is Evers, a Net­flix spokes­man, wrote.

The mes­sages were first pub­li­cized last week in a tweet by Yuri Vic­tor, a de­sign­er at Vox.

“The Ve­r­i­zon net­work is crowded right now,” the mes­sage to Vic­tor read. “Ad­just­ing video for smooth­er play­back.”

The mes­sages were also dis­played on oth­er net­works, but Ve­r­i­zon fought back the most fiercely against the ac­cus­a­tion.

The tele­com gi­ant sent Net­flix a cease-and-de­sist let­ter, main­tain­ing that “there is no basis” to blame Ve­r­i­zon for slow speeds. In all like­li­hood, the prob­lems are a res­ult of how Net­flix has chosen to con­nect its video con­tent to Ve­r­i­zon’s net­work, Ve­r­i­zon wrote.

Al­though Net­flix ap­pears to be back­ing down over the con­ges­tion mes­sages, the com­pany still in­sists that the In­ter­net pro­viders are to blame for long buf­fer­ing times and blurry videos.

The prob­lems oc­cur “when the broad­band pro­vider hasn’t provided enough ca­pa­city to ac­com­mod­ate the traffic their cus­tom­er re­ques­ted,” Net­flix wrote.

The con­ges­tion mes­sages come as Net­flix is be­ing forced to pay for the first time for dir­ect con­nec­tions to In­ter­net pro­viders’ net­works.

Skip­ping over traffic in­ter­me­di­ar­ies and plug­ging dir­ectly in­to pro­viders’ net­works can en­sure that Net­flix’s data flows as smoothly as pos­sible to con­sumers.

Net­flix is pay­ing Com­cast for dir­ect ac­cess to its cus­tom­ers. The com­pany also struck a deal with Ve­r­i­zon, but it could take a few months to put the Ve­r­i­zon con­nec­tions in place.

The in­ter­con­nec­tion fights are sep­ar­ate from the is­sue of net neut­ral­ity — which gov­erns only how In­ter­net pro­viders must handle traffic once it’s on their net­works. But in prac­tice, the is­sues ap­pear the same to con­sumers. Net­flix traffic de­teri­or­ated stead­ily for Com­cast cus­tom­ers un­til the video site agreed to pay for the con­nec­tion deal, which led to a swift boost in qual­ity.

In the blog post, Net­flix ar­gued that large In­ter­net pro­viders are “erect­ing toll booths,” which “raise costs, stifle in­nov­a­tion, and harm con­sumers.”

Broad­band pro­viders “should provide suf­fi­cient ca­pa­city in­to their net­work to provide con­sumers the broad­band ex­per­i­ence for which they pay,” the video site wrote.

Fed­er­al Com­mu­nic­a­tions Com­mis­sion Chair­man Tom Wheel­er has said he wants to look in­to the in­ter­con­nec­tion deals, but the agency has yet to take any form­al ac­tion.

{{ BIZOBJ (video: 4950) }}

What We're Following See More »
A DARK CLOUD OVER TRUMP?
Snowstorm Could Impact Primary Turnout
1 days ago
THE LATEST

A snowstorm is supposed to hit New Hampshire today and “linger into Primary Tuesday.” GOP consultant Ron Kaufman said lower turnout should help candidates who have spent a lot of time in the state tending to retail politicking. Donald Trump “has acknowledged that he needs to step up his ground-game, and a heavy snowfall could depress his figures relative to more organized candidates.”

Source:
IN CASE OF EMERGENCY
A Shake-Up in the Offing in the Clinton Camp?
1 days ago
THE DETAILS

Anticipating a primary loss in New Hampshire on Tuesday, Hillary and Bill Clinton “are considering staffing and strategy changes” to their campaign. Sources tell Politico that the Clintons are likely to layer over top officials with experienced talent, rather than fire their staff en masse.

Source:
THE LAST ROUND OF NEW HAMPSHIRE POLLS
Trump Is Still Ahead, but Who’s in Second?
1 days ago
THE LATEST

We may not be talking about New Hampshire primary polls for another three-and-a-half years, so here goes:

  • American Research Group’s tracking poll has Donald Trump in the lead with 30% support, followed by Marco Rubio and John Kasich tying for second place at 16%. On the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders leads Hillary Clinton 53%-41%.
  • The 7 News/UMass Lowell tracking poll has Trump way out front with 34%, followed by Rubio and Ted Cruz with 13% apiece. Among the Democrats, Sanders is in front 56%-40%.
  • A Gravis poll puts Trump ahead with 28%, followed by Kasich with 17% and Rubio with 15%.
IT’S ALL ABOUT SECOND PLACE
CNN Calls the Primary for Sanders and Trump
16 hours ago
THE LATEST

Well that didn’t take long. CNN has already declared Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump the winners of the New Hampshire primary, leaving the rest of the candidates to fight for the scraps. Five minutes later, the Associated Press echoed CNN’s call.

Source:
×