Netflix spat with Verizon gets amusing

After “persuading” Netflix into paying more money for its internet connection, Verizon might have expected the content provider to be a little meek in its dealings with the comms company in the future.

Verizon gave Netflix a Chinese burn until it paid up to stop the company throttling its bandwidth, er… applying sensible network management.

However it is clear that Netflix has decided to keep pulling Verizon’s chain about its rubbish service.

Last week, Verizon sent a cease and desist letter to Netflix threatening a lawsuit unless Netflix immediately stops sending notices blaming Verizon for poor quality. Verizon also demanded a list of all customers who received such messages and evidence that each message was justified.

Verizon says its stellar reputation is hurt when Netflix blames it for bad video.

“Failure to provide this information may lead us to pursue legal remedies, and Verizon reserves all rights in that regard,” Verizon wrote.

Netflix General Counsel David Hyman hit back saying that the messages the company is sending to consumers are part of a “test” that’s ending next week.

However Netflix’s response did not include the list of customers to whom it has sent the messages or specific justification for each one, as Verizon wanted.

Netflix’s letter slammed Verizon for not joining Netflix’s Open Connect peering and caching program, which lets ISPs connect directly to Netflix or bring Netflix storage boxes into their own networks in order to improve quality.

“You have chosen not to participate in the Open Connect Program, but instead have allowed your network connection to Netflix to degrade until we agreed to pay for augmented interconnection. We brought the data right to your doorstep…all you had to do was open your door.”

While Netflix agreed to pay for a direct connection to its network more than a month ago, Verizon hasn’t established enough links with Netflix to improve quality and promises only that the upgrade will be done by the end of 2014.

Hyman wrote that Netflix’s messages “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.”

Verizon’s claimed that it is Netflix which is responsible for poor quality, saying that “Netflix chose to continue sending its traffic over these congested routes.”

Hyman said that Verizon actually upsells customers to higher speed packages based on improved access to video services, including Netflix. However it refuses to augment its access ports to major internet backbone providers. In short it is making customers pay for services they are not getting.

“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.”