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Verizon slams Netflix in ‘throttling’ row latest

NetflixBuilding41-620x413Verizon has fired another salvo in its ongoing buffering row with Netflix. The communications company said that it has conducted technical tests that reveal congestion causing buffering when its broadband customers watch Netflix were the fault of the streaming company.

The companies have been locked in a war of words since Netflix issued a notice to its customers, telling them Verizon was to blame for buffering issues. Verizon promptly issued a cease and desist notice, which Netflix responded to by reiterating its earlier claims. Netflix did withdraw the notices in a move it said was already planned.

In a blog post yesterday entitled ‘why is Netflix buffering? Dispelling the congestion myth’, David Young, Verizon’s vice president, regulatory affairs, said it carried out an investigation in the wake of a query from a broadband subscriber.

That investigation focused on the experience of one customer in Los Angelese, and found there was no congestion on the Verizon network. There were, Young noted, problems with the systems Netflix used to deliver content to that network.

The Verizon executive said the issue is caused by Netflix not paying to ensure the connections to deliver its content were adequate.

“Netflix sends out an unprecedented amount of traffic,” he said. “For whatever reason (perhaps to cut costs and improve its profitability), Netflix did not make arrangements to deliver this massive amount of traffic through connections that can handle it.”

He added: “Instead, Netflix chose to attempt to deliver that traffic to Verizon through a few third-party transit providers with limited capacity over connections specifically to be used only for balanced traffic flows. Netflix knew better. Netflix is responsible for either using connections that can carry the volume of traffic it is sending, or working out arrangements with its suppliers so they can handle the volumes.”

Young signed off his blog post by noting that Verizon “is working aggressively with Netflix to establish new, direct connections from Netflix to Verizon’s network”.

Netflix did not immediately respond to the latest chapter in the buffering row, but has previously vigorously defended its position. It has also signed several interconnect deals with operators in a bid to improve streaming performance for its subs. It agreed a deal in February with Comcast, agreeing to pay the US cable giant to gain direct access to its network to deliver a better quality service to Comcast subscribers. It also agreed a deal with Verizon.

Last month, US communications regulator the FCC said it would investigate the buffering issues between Netflix and some broadband companies.