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Verizon Threatens to Sue Netflix Over Congestion Criticism
by Karl Bode 06:12PM Thursday Jun 05 2014 Tipped by Dominokat See Profile
After calling Netflix's new buffering warning that more specifically blames ISPs for poor streaming performance a "misleading PR stunt" yesterday, Verizon has taken their response up another level with a cease and desist letter to Netflix threatening legal action. In the letter, (pdf) Verizon blames everyone but Verizon for the mysterious slowdowns that started plaguing customers of only certain ISPs six months ago -- problems quickly and magically alleviated once Netflix pays those same ISPs for direct interconnection.

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"As Netflix knows, there are many different factors that can affect traffic on the internet," Verizon policy man Randal Milch states, "including choices by Netflix in how to connect to its customers and deliver content to them, interconnection between multiple networks, and consumer in-home issues such as in-home wiring, Wi-Fi, and device settings and capabilities."

Verizon's letter demands that Netflix provide a list of customers that are getting the warnings, and specific evidence of fault on Verizon's part (edge network performance data Verizon likely knows may not be available to anyone but Verizon). "Failure to provide this information may lead us to pursue legal remedies,'' insists Verizon. Needless to say, Netflix says the problem is cause by Verizon. The company previously stated AT&T, Comcast and Verizon were attempting to "double dip."

"This is about consumers not getting what they paid for from their broadband provider," Netflix tells us in a statement. "We are trying to provide more transparency, just like we do with the ISP Speed Index, and Verizon is trying to shut down that discussion." Netflix suggests they're not planning to stop the messages, which appear for customers of any congested ISP (read their methodology for determining that, here).

If the Level3 and Netflix insinuation that ISPs are intentionally letting peering points congest anti-competitively to make an extra buck are true, Verizon may not want regulators or the courts digging too deeply. If Netflix doesn't mind the legal bill, Netflix may just have a reason to call Verizon's bluff, and the resulting legal fight could prove very, very interesting.


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IowaCowboy
Iowa native
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Springfield, MA
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If it goes to Court

There is a tool used by lawyers on both sides called discovery and Verizon will be the one with having to prove that Netflix's claim is false.

And since Netflix is the defendant in this one they have every right to discovery in the legal system and Verizon may rather drop their lawsuit than have to reveal statistics that may tell the truth about the issue with Netflix.

Considering the amount of money Netflix takes in every month (popular service) they can afford decent lawyers and Supreme Court lawsuits.
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BiggA

join:2005-11-23
EARTH

3 recommendations

reply to elray

Re: If it isn't true...

Verizon is not going to release data that will clearly show that they have been creating an artificial bottleneck to slow Netflix down. Verizon is completely at fault here, as Netflix offered to give them OpenConnect appliances to put in Verizon's datacenters, and they refused, and now they are refusing to add ports to properly peer with them. Those are Verizon's actions, not Netflix's. Netflix's "assault" on Verizon is completely warranted, and I think they should have gone farther before giving in to Comcast and Verizon's Mafia-style extortion tactics, by putting up messages that say something to the effect of "There is a traffic jam on Comcast's network so we can't stream SuperHD. Call 1-800-COMCAST to tell Comcast you want them to fix their network". It would have been HILARIOUS to see how many gazillion calls they got.

AVonGauss
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Boynton Beach, FL

1 edit

3 recommendations

reply to BiggA

Re: Legal...

NetFlix does not post -any- data that I have ever seen, they only post their compilation in the form of ISP ranking charts without even describing how they come up with those numbers much less the raw supporting data.

BiggA

join:2005-11-23
EARTH

4 recommendations

reply to elray

Re: If it isn't true...

Netflix will win. They have already shown the data to prove their statements, and if they go to court, Verizon has to show tons of their raw and proprietary data about their peering situation, and it won't look good for Verizon. Hence, it's basically an empty threat, as Verizon knows better than to sue Netflix and have to divulge a lot of proprietary information that would incriminate them in court.

AVonGauss
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Boynton Beach, FL

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reply to nothing00

Re: Legal...

Of course it is, without data it is just an opinion or theory.


PlusOne

@50.182.54.x

2 recommendations

reply to karlmarx

Re: Waaaaahhh..

said by karlmarx:

The FACT is that Verizon IS NOT GETTING ENOUGH bandwidth from the peering points.

The FACT IS that Verizon is KNOWINGLY and WILLINGLY allowing the peer to get congested.

Verzion needs to upgrade their connecting to the backbone, so they can ACCEPT the data netflix customers are requesting. It's NOT a netflix problem, it's a VERIZON problem

Any proof, at all, for those so-called FACTS??? Other than CLAIMS by Netflix?

elray

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reply to xsprintdude

Re: If it isn't true...

Given that they're willing to sue, over what this forum claims is a petty matter of peering saturation, I'd suggest that they're quite prepared and will prove it.

Netflix is gambling on public opinion and wishful headlines, but in the end, they're going to pay.


karlmarx

join:2006-09-18
Chicago, IL

5 recommendations

Waaaaahhh..

Cry me a river verizon. Guess what, it IS verizon's fault. Sure, the internal network of verizon may be able to handle it just fine, but your CUSTOMERS paid to get the information from A DIFFERENT network. The FACT is that Verizon IS NOT GETTING ENOUGH bandwidth from the peering points. The FACT IS that Verizon is KNOWINGLY and WILLINGLY allowing the peer to get congested. The FACT IS that NETFLIX is paying for MORE THAN ENOUGH BANDWITH to provide Verizon with ALL their customers want, but verizon is too greedy to use THEIR MONEY to upgrade THEIR CONNECTION to the peer. Netflix pays for almost 50Tb of bandwidth to their peers. 50 Terrabits! That's enough to stream to 20 million people at once. Verzion needs to upgrade their connecting to the backbone, so they can ACCEPT the data netflix customers are requesting. It's NOT a netflix problem, it's a VERIZON problem
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TAZ

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reply to IPPlanMan

Re: Go ahead and sue...

Oh yes. Stop talking, start doing. Just like I said yesterday.

Something tells me Verizon won't be doing anything...


IPPlanMan
Holy Cable Modem Batman

join:2000-09-20
Washington, DC
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Go ahead Verizon. I'm sure we'll all be interested to see your peering point saturation.

ETA: Can you hear me now? Good.