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Netflix explains why it’s trying to shame Verizon into improving its network

Published Jun 9th, 2014 1:45PM EDT
Netflix Vs. Verizon Network

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Netflix might stop trashing Verizon’s network next week… or it might not. Netflix on Monday posted an explanation on its blog explaining why it started telling its customers to blame Verizon’s network for slow streaming. The company says that these network-trashing messages are part of a trial program that’s slated to end on June 16th, although it says it might expand on the program in the future.

More importantly, the company said that it decided to start sending out these messages because it was fed up with Verizon and other ISPs supposedly not holding up their end of the bargain when it comes to building interconnection points that have enough capacity to handle the big influx of Netflix traffic coming from transit providers.

“Some broadband providers argue that our actions, and not theirs, are causing a degraded Netflix experience,” Netflix writes. “Netflix does not purposely select congested routes. We pay some of the world’s largest transit networks to deliver Netflix video right to the front door of an ISP. Where the problem occurs is at that door — the interconnection point — when the broadband provider hasn’t provided enough capacity to accommodate the traffic their customer requested.”

The most damning piece of evidence that Netflix lays out is that Verizon’s streaming performance over the last month has actually gotten worse even though the companies struck a peering agreement to improve speeds earlier this year. In April, Netflix streams on Verizon’s FiOS network averaged 1.99Mbps download speeds while in April that number dropped to 1.9Mbps. Comcast, which also signed a peering deal with Netflix this year, similarly saw its speeds drop from 2.77Mbps in April to 2.72Mbps in May.

Brad Reed
Brad Reed Staff Writer

Brad Reed has written about technology for over eight years at and Network World. Prior to that, he wrote freelance stories for political publications such as AlterNet and the American Prospect. He has a Master's Degree in Business and Economics Journalism from Boston University.