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Verizon and Netflix Pointing Fingers and Threatening Law Suits...

by on09 June 2014 1201 times

The “debate” over net neutrality has gotten a little heated between two players in the struggle. These two players are Netflix and Verizon and has reached the lawsuit threatening stage. The story goes like this: Netflix decided to change the message they present to customers when there movie streaming needs to adjust. Instead of the usual “we are adjusting the quality” message that was previously used the video streaming company decided to drop in messages that specifically call out the ISPs that they are running over. In the case of Verizon the message stated “The Verizon Network is crowded right now”.

This message was taking direct aim at the fact that Verizon is now demanding extra money from content providers for better access to the last mile of connection. The ISPs claim that this is needed to maintain their networks and also to provide for better network performance in the future. Verizon responded to   the Netflix message with a statement saying it was not their fault but the fault of the connection Netflix is using to reach the Verizon network claiming: “the problem is most likely congestion on the connection that Netflix has chosen to use to reach Verizon's network”.

The claim by Verizon rings hollow as most ISPs have multiple connections to their network from other providers and the larger backbone networks. These connections are designed to not only be redundant, but to load balance. If there was an issue with a single connection then the network should (if designed properly) automatically shift traffic to another less saturated connection. If a single edge connection can bring a service to its knees then Verizon might want to go back and take a look at that issue. Perhaps their policies that control the routing of Netflix traffic are preventing proper load balancing, or the fact that they have not upgraded their network despite increased fees and monthly charges could be a factor here.

Either way the fact that many of these issues did not begin to happen until after the FCC allowed ISPs to fast track services that must pass over their networks cannot be a coincidence. The truly sad part is that consumers often have little to no alternatives to the ISPs they use. They end up stuck using the provider that was granted that territory or address (in the case of apartments). So they cannot even show their displeasure with their choice of service. This is one of the reasons that many feel broadband needs to be treated as a utility or territories need to be opened up for true competition to ensure that this type of regional monopoly cannot happen.

As for Netflix and Verizon, it may end up going to court as Verizon has sent a nasty letter threatening a court case, but we have a feeling that might not happen. We imagine that Verizon might not like the outcome of a court case where their network and routing practices get brought out into the light. It would probably not be a pretty picture.

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Last modified on 09 June 2014
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