Yesterday in a blog post
Netflix stated that the ISP-blaming congestion warnings warnings Verizon is threatening to sue over
were part of a test Netflix is running that the company already planned to conclude on June 16. "We will evaluate rolling it out more broadly," stated Netflix. Somehow, this was construed by the media as Netflix agreeing to stop the warnings
, though a legal letter sent to Verizon suggests otherwise.
In a letter to Verizon
(pdf) by Netflix General Counsel David Hyman, Hyman says Verizon's recent complaints "mischaracterizes" Netflix's efforts at greater transparency when it comes to causes of streaming performance issues.
The messages, Hyman states, "merely let our customers know that the Verizon network is crowded. We have determined this by examining the difference between the speed at which the Verizon network handles Netflix traffic at peak versus non-peak times."
Netflix again states that the congestion Verizon customers see is intentionally caused by Verizon's failure to upgrade peering capacity in order to nab direct interconnection fees. "We brought the data right to your doorstep...all you had to do was open your door," argues the company. Hyman also notes that Verizon has refused to participate in Netflix's free Open Connect CDN platform, which would improve performance for Netflix users.
"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," said Netflix.
"Regardless of this specific test, we will continue to work on ways to communicate network conditions to our consumers," states Netflix's lawyer. "We're also happy to work with you on ways to improve network transparency to our mutual customers."
Netflix did not provide Verizon with a list of all impacted customers and a technical justification for each subscriber message received, something Verizon stated would result in legal action. It's up to Verizon whether this proceeds to court, though as noted previously
, if Netflix's claim that Verizon's intentionally letting peering points saturate to make a buck is true, the telco may not want the kind of transparency that could come with a court battle.
Netflix struck a controversial direct interconnection deal with Verizon back in April
, but consumers have yet to reap any benefits from the deal. Verizon's FiOS Netflix streaming performance actually dropped two spots
in the latest ISP rankings.