Netflix And Verizon Go To War Over Net Neutrality Transparency

Netflix users are well aware that the company is a supporter of strong net neutrality.

The CEO of Netflix, Reed Hastings, said in a blog post, “Without strong net neutrality, big ISPs can demand potentially escalating fees for the interconnection required to deliver high quality service.”

Despite Netflix’s outspoken support of net neutrality, they have had to play ball with the big ISPs in order to maintain their video streaming quality.

Recently, Netflix came to agreements with both Comcast and Verizon.

Hastings spoke about Netflix’s agreement with Comcast:

“Netflix believes strong net neutrality is critical, but in the near term we will in cases pay the toll to the powerful ISPs to protect our consumer experience. When we do so, we don’t pay for priority access against competitors, just for interconnection. A few weeks ago, we agreed to pay Comcast and our members are now getting a good experience again.”

Although Netflix did speak out against Comcast’s viewpoint of net neutrality, the real controversy comes from their agreement with Verizon.

After their agreement, Netflix began displaying the above image to some customers having issues with their video streaming service. Verizon has since sent an order to Netflix telling them to cease and desist use of the message.

Verizon has stated their intent to sue Netflix. They not only want Netflix to stop using the image blaming them for streaming issues, they also want a list of customers that the message was delivered to along with the date and time each message was sent.

Netflix stated that the image was part of a test they began back in May. According to Netflix, the company is attempting to find a way to let their customers know how their experience is being affected by their broadband provider’s network.

In a statement, made Thursday, Netflix said, “This is about consumers not getting what they paid for from their broadband provider. We are trying to provide more transparency, just like we do with the Netflix ISP Speed Index, and Verizon is trying to shut down that discussion.”

Verizon cited the Internet Phenomena Blog indicating that Netflix has tried to cut costs by using a “panoply of content-distribution and other middle-man networks.” Verizon also claims the issues could be affected by problems at consumer homes, Wi-Fi configuration or network interconnection.

The war between Netflix and Verizon seems to be in the early stages and, if it is brought into the courts, could prove to be a milestone for the net neutrality debates.

[ Image courtesy of Netflix ]

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