Netflix Backs Off, Will Drop Anti-Verizon Error Message — For Now

/ Jun 9, 2014


The latest installment in the ongoing Netflix/Verizon feud comes in the form of a peace offering (of sorts) from Netflix. After a recent “cease and desist” letter from Verizon, the streaming video giant now says it will soon take down any message naming a particular ISP as the cause of slow streaming services on the platform.

According to a blog post from Netflix, these error messages were part of a “test” that company is conducting to keep viewers more informed on why their viewing experience might be lagging. This test is scheduled to end on June 16, though Netflix says it will also evaluate rolling this system out more broadly.

To review the timeline of events leading up to this, Netflix made a deal with Verizon in April to pay the broadband provider to ensure that their mutual customers would have have a fast Netflix streaming experience. Then, in early June, the video streaming platform started displaying an error message whenever speeds on Verizon’s network were slow. This message singled out Verizon as being responsible for their customers’ watching delays. Shortly after, Verizon came out with a cease and desist letter aimed at Netflix’s new practice.

However, while Netflix might be backing off Verizon, it’s not totally conceding. The company still insists that ISPs, not Netflix, remain responsible for slow streaming on the site. Since Netflix delivers the video “right to the front door of an ISP,” the company argues, it’s then up to the broadband providers as to how quickly the video goes through from there. Netflix notes that if it’s slow going, the ISPs aren’t quite doing their job.

The latest in the Verizon/Netflix conversation comes just as Netflix updated its ISP speed index for the US, in which both Comcast and Verizon Fios (the only providers that Netflix pays for) slipped two steps in the ranks. Comcast now sits in fifth place while Verizon’s standing has dropped to 10.

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