Netflix has been giving Verizon the digital middle finger for a little while now. In a campaign to point out to its customer base the reason for their service being slow – Verizon has been throttling it along with other cloud services – Netflix has had a message on its loading screen that reads “The Verizon network is crowded right now.” Verizon, understandably embarrassed, has demanded it be taken down with a cease and desist letter, which Netflix is refusing to comply with.
However, far from ignore the notice, Netflix has taken the opportunity to further highlight Verizon's part in the slow down and to remind it of its job: providing a decent connection. In its response letter, the Netflix legal team suggested that the message it had up was a test – giving it a bit of lee way if Verizon does get trigger happy with its lawyers – but suggests that: “your attempt to shift blame for our customers' experience on the Verizon network “squarely to Netflix itself” disregards Verizon's responsibility to provide its customers with the service it has promised them.”
It then goes on to point out that Verizon actually “upsells,” to customers, based on the fact that it will give them better access to services like Netflix and similar, so obviously it has a role to play in the speed of its customers' connections. Then it really hits the nail on the head:
“As an ISP, you sell your customers a connection to the Internet. To ensure that these customers get the level of service they pay you for, it is your responsibility to make sure your networking, including your interconnection points, have sufficient capacity to accommodate the data requests made by those customers.”
Image source: Yuri Victor
Shockingly too, following on from that is a bit of humour, in a document no doubt poured over by lawyers before being sent out:
“To try to shift blame to [Netflix] for performance issues arising from interconnection congestion, is like blaming drivers on a bridge for traffic jams when you're the one who decided to leave three lanes closed during rush hour.”
For now, it hopes Verizon will pull its finger out and give its customers a decent connection. It will also be ending its “test” of the disparaging message on 16th June, but may roll it out further in the future.
If you'd like to read the full thing, and you should, it's great, you can do so here.
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KitGuru Says: Oh snap, Netflix. Well played. The sad thing is though, that Verizon is actually charging Netflix extra because of the bandwidth it uses and Verizon customers don't even see the benefit.