Verizon Points Finger At Netflix

Claims Congestion Issues Are Netflix’s Fault (Updated)
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In the latest chapter in the ongoing network neutrality debate brewing between Netflix and Verizon Communications, the telco posted a blog post Thursday claiming that a review conducted by Verizon’s networks operations team found that congestion was absent within its network, but did find congestion present at the interconnections link used by transit providers selected by Netflix.

“This review confirmed…there was no congestion anywhere within the Verizon network,” David Young, Verizon’s vice president of federal regulatory affairs, wrote.

“While the links chosen by Netflix were congested (congestion occurs when use approaches or reaches 100% capacity during peak usage periods), the links from other transit providers (carrying non-Netflix traffic) to Verizon’s network did not experience congestion and were performing fine,” he added. “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 that Verizon is “working aggressively with Netflix to establish new, direct connections from Netflix to Verizon’s network,” in reference to an agreement announced in late April. “This doesn’t ‘prioritize’ Netflix traffic in any way, but it ensures that their traffic gets on our network through direct connections—not middleman networks—that are up to the task,” Young wrote. 

Netflix views it differently, claiming that ISPs such as Verizon have let peering points degrade, forcing companies such as Netflix to strike paid interconnection deals. Netflix, which has reluctantly agreed to such deals with Verizon as well as Comcast, prefers that ISPs join Open Connect, a private content delivery network that relies on Netflix-supplied edge caches.

In addition to labeling paid peering deals as  an “arbitrary tax” on Netflix and other OTT services, Netflix has also urged the FCC to seek “stronger” network neutrality rules that incorporate interconnection agreements into those rule-making discussions.

Netflix recently halted the test of on-screen messages that pinned the blame for degraded streams on ISPs by name, a pilot program that quickly resulted in a cease-and-desist letter from Verizon. Netflix ended the trial on June 16, but added that it is evaluating a broader rollout.

Update: Netflix issued this statement in response to the Verizon policy blog post:
"We'd like to thank Verizon for laying out the issue so nicely. Congestion at the interconnection point is controlled by ISPs like Verizon. When Verizon fails to upgrade those interconnections, consumers get a lousy experience despite paying for more than enough bandwidth to enjoy high-quality Netflix video. That's why Netflix is calling for strong net neutrality that covers the interconnection needed for consumers to get the quality of INTER-net they pay for."