Verizon is threatening Netflix with legal action unless the video streaming company stops telling its customers that the poor service quality they’re getting is Verizon’s fault.
Netflix’s legal counsel received a cease and desist letter from Verizon, asking the company to stop displaying error messages to customers who experience buffering and other issues while trying to watch a movie on the popular service. Otherwise, Verizon will take the company to court.
The two giants have been fighting against each other for months, throwing the blame for the poor quality from one to another. Netflix says that Verizon and other large Internet service providers, especially Comcast, have been avoiding upgrading their networks to make sure that traffic is delivered at the speeds that were promised to customers.
Furthermore, a recent report put together by Netflix ranks the performance of its service across ISP networks. Verizon and Comcast have both scored near the bottom, along with other companies.
The fact that Verizon is threatening Netflix with a lawsuit despite the fact that they’ve signed an interconnection agreement shouldn’t really be that surprising. After all, Netflix hasn’t stopped throwing mud at the ISP either, as it continuously accuses Verizon of causing poor performance of its service by throttling with the bandwidth.
This time, however, the issue steps from a message posted on Twitter showing a Netflix screen along with the message “The Verizon network is crowded right now. Adjusting video for smoother playback,” while a video was buffering.
The Internet service provider quickly dubbed this a PR stunt, which soon turned into a new battle between the two.
“There is no basis for Netflix to assert that issues with respect to playback of any particular video session are attributable solely to the Verizon network,” reads the letter that Netflix received. In fact, Randal Milch, Verizon general counsel, says that there are plenty of other reasons that a video may not be streaming as it is supposed to, such as interconnection between multiple networks on the Internet, home wiring, Wi-Fi and more.
Furthermore, Milch adds that responsibility for its customers’ experience falls squarely on Netflix itself. The streaming company fired back and said that this was a matter of customers not getting what they paid for from their broadband provider.
On the other hand, considering just how many people are complaining about the poor quality service from the likes of Verizon and Comcast, it is quite likely that the fault was indeed the ISP’s. People are saying that this isn’t only an issue with Netflix, but also with other services such as YouTube, Hulu+, and Amazon Instant Video, to name just a few.
Basically, anything that requires more bandwidth than sending an email and browsing the Internet is too much.