Skip to main content
Advertising

Originally published June 9, 2014 at 1:08 PM | Page modified June 9, 2014 at 9:12 PM

  • Share:
           
  • Comments (0)
  • Print

Netflix to stop posting notices that irked Verizon

Netflix will ease up on a month-long finger-pointing campaign that blamed Verizon and other Internet service providers for problems with its video subscription service.


AP Technology Writer

advertising

SAN FRANCISCO —

Netflix will ease up on a month-long finger-pointing campaign that blamed Verizon and other Internet service providers for problems with its video subscription service.

The decision, announced in a Monday blog post, follows a legal threat issued by Verizon last week.

Netflix is feuding with Internet search providers such as Verizon and Comcast, saying they aren't doing enough to deliver the content that their subscribers want. In many cases, subscribers to high-speed Internet services are trying to stream Netflix videos, which generate about one-third of online traffic in the U.S. during evening hours.

The inadequacies of the Internet services often caused glitches in online video streams, according to Netflix. To drive that point home to its users, Netflix has been sending notices to some subscribers that assert congestion on networks operated by Verizon and other Internet service providers is hurting video quality.

But Verizon, Comcast and others trace the video problems to the way that Netflix has chosen to deliver some of its content through intermediaries, a theory that Netflix ridiculed again Monday.

Blaming Netflix for the network 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," Netflix general counsel David Hyman wrote in a Monday letter to his counterpart at Verizon. He said that Verizon had misinterpreted Netflix's efforts to inform subscribers when an Internet service's network is becoming clogged.

New York-based Verizon Communications Inc. declined to comment Monday. In a June 5 letter, Verizon had threatened to sue Netflix Inc. unless the company stopped sending messages that made Verizon's Internet service look bad. Verizon had given Netflix until Tuesday to provide proof of its derogatory claims about Verizon's service.

The notices are part of a "small-scale test" that will end June 16, according to a Monday post on Netflix's blog. The test lasted about a month and spanned a "few hundred thousand" customers, said Netflix spokesman Joris Evers. About 36 million U.S. subscribers pay $8 to $12 per month for the service.

Netflix may send unflattering messages across an even bigger swath of subscribers if video-quality problems persist.

The Los Gatos, California, company struck deals earlier this year to connect directly into the networks of Verizon and Comcast for an undisclosed amount. Those partnerships haven't placated Netflix, which is trying to convince government regulators that it and other online services shouldn't be forced to pay Internet providers to ensure their content reaches Web surfers.

Since the company agreed to work with Comcast, Netflix's video has been streaming at higher speeds, according to Netflix's own monthly breakdowns. Netflix said its video transmitted at an average of 2.72 megabits per second in May, up 80 percent from January, before the traffic deal.

But Netflix said that the average streaming speed of its video on Verizon's FIOS service declined slightly from April to May, the first month that the companies worked together.



Want unlimited access to seattletimes.com? Subscribe now!

Also in Business & Technology

News where, when and how you want it

Email Icon

Where in the world are Seahawks fans?

Where in the world are Seahawks fans?

Put your marker on The Seattle Times interactive map and share your fan story.

Advertising

Advertising


Advertising
The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription upgrade.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. For unlimited seattletimes.com access, please upgrade your digital subscription.

Call customer service at 1.800.542.0820 for assistance with your upgrade or questions about your subscriber status.

The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►