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Verizon, responding to complaints from Netflix about its broadband service, says Netflix is slowing down its own video streams to the telco’s providers.

If that sounds confusing, that’s because it is. And if that sounds familiar, there’s a reason for that, too: In April, Comcast made a similar claim about Netflix. And like Comcast, Verizon has signed a deal with Netflix that’s supposed to alleviate Web traffic headaches.

This is the kind of he said, he said that’s nearly impossible to explain coherently, in part because reasonable people disagree about some of the basic technical points.

But I’ll try:

  • Both Verizon and Comcast have deals that are supposed to help Netflix deliver its streams into the broadband networks both companies operate, via a direct connection.
  • Comcast signed their Netflix deal in late February, and since then Netflix has said its speeds have improved.
  • But Verizon says that it is still implementing technical changes to accommodate the Netflix deal it signed in April.
  • So for now, Verizon says, Netflix is still responsible for getting its streams into Verizon’s network, and it is doing a lousy job of it. Key sentences from a blog post (titled “Shifting Blame”) Verizon published this afternoon: “The source of the problem is almost certainly NOT congestion in Verizon’s network. Instead, the problem is most likely congestion on the connection that Netflix has chosen to use to reach Verizon’s network. Of course, Netflix is solely responsible for choosing how their traffic is routed into any ISP’s network.”

I’ve asked Netflix for a response but I don’t expect to get one.

That said, we did ask both Comcast CEO Brian Roberts and Netflix CEO Reed Hastings to talk about their dispute — and partnership — last week at the Code Conference. And since Verizon’s story seems to emulate Comcast’s so closely, you might get some benefit out of watching their comments.

* Comcast owns NBCUniversal, which is a minority investor in Re/code.




4 comments
FIOScustomer
FIOScustomer

As an individual Verizon FIOS internet customer, I can't prove discrimination but my anecdotal story is:  On FIOS, all my http://www.mhznetworks.org/mhz-worldview/live studders, freezes and is slow on FIOS.  When I use COX at a different location the stream seems to be almost trouble free. So my strong feeling is that FIOS is discriminating against the MHz streaming.  FIOS gives me a choice for the given data stream rate I pay for, so how does FIOS now turn around and justify charging a provider for more money to provide that data stream?  Is FIOS now going to give me a discount if I view that particular stream?  HAH! (My location is Southern California -- FIOS Pomona feed, and Orange County COX)

Matt Mascari
Matt Mascari

 "Netflix is solely responsible for choosing how their traffic is routed into any ISP’s network." How does that even make sense?


Netflix is definitely solely responsible for choosing how their traffic get's from their servers onto the Internet backbone.  Which if this is the issue, every customer would suffer not just ones on one ISP.


How can Verizon say with a straight face that Verizon isn't completely responsible for how the Verizon internal network connects to the Internet backbone?


The Verizon network isn't a transit backbone network, it's an edge provider.  Without it having access to a transit provider, it's not an ISP at all.


In fact, why is this even an FCC issue instead of an FTC issue.  If Verizon isn't providing clear access to the Internet backbone, but has links failing to meet a basic level of service, why isn't this simply fraud by Verizon.  Why are they not simply considered no longer providing Internet access and no longer providing ISP service.  The FTC should be able to prosecute for fraudulent advertising since they're not longer selling what they advertise. 


GeorgeOu
GeorgeOu

Netflix signs a new discounted agreement with a new supplier. Netflix hasn't even fully transitioned to the new supplier yet but they’re going to publicly blame their new supplier for the failings of their old supplier.Has there ever been a worse example of bad faith between business partners on the part of Netflix?

jnemesh
jnemesh

@GeorgeOu Why should Netflix have to negotiate with the ISP at ALL?  Netflix pays for their connection to the internet, we pay Verizon for OUR connection to the internet...end of story.  Verizon is BREAKING the internet by extorting money out of Netflix....and you want me to have sympathy for them?  Yeah, right.

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