Netflix said today that it will not stop telling consumers that ISPs are to blame for poor streaming video, according to Ars Technica. Verizon sent Netflix a cease-and-desist letter threatening a lawsuit unless Netflix stops sending notices to customers that Verizon is to blame for poor video quality. Verizon demand a list of all customers that received these messages and demanded evidence that each message was justified.
“The current transparency test to which your letter relates is scheduled to end June 16 and we are evaluating rolling it out more broadly,” stated Netflix general counsel David Hyman. “Regardless of this specific test, we will continue to work on ways to communicate network conditions to our consumers. We’re also happy to work with you on ways to improve network transparency to our mutual customers.”
Netflix’s response did not include the list of customers that received the messages or a justification. Instead, Hyman published this response. Netflix criticized Verizon for not joining the Netflix Open Connect peering and caching program. This program lets ISPs connect to Netflix or bring Netflix storage boxes into their own networks to improve video quality.
In Verizon’s cease-and-desist letter, Netflix was blamed for poor quality and said that Netflix has chosen to continue sending its traffic over congested routes. The congested routes are the connections between Verizon and transit companies like Level 3 and Cogent. Verizon asked Netflix for payment to account for the transit companies for sending more traffic than they were receiving.
“It is my understanding that Verizon actually upsells customers to higher speed packages based on improved access to video services, including Netflix. Verizon’s unwillingness to augment its access ports to major Internet backbone providers is squarely Verizon’s fault… To try to shift blame to us for performance issues arising from interconnection congestion is like blaming drivers on a bridge for traffic jams when you’re the one who decided to leave three lanes closed during rush hour,” wrote Hyman.
This article has been updated with accurate and up-to-date information.