back to article Verizon threatens Netflix in video lag blame game

Verizon is threatening legal action against Netflix after the streaming video service began streaming error messages that blame Verizon for slow network traffic. The telecom giant has sent a cease-and-desist letter to Netflix, demanding that the company stop sending its users notification messages that point the finger at …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pretty good comeback I must admit.tit for tat.,

  2. DJV Silver badge
    Thumb Up


    Must buy popcorn and get a good ringside seat for the fight!

  3. Wallyb132

    There isnt much guess work involved in figuring out who is responsible for traffic congestion, especially if you're Netflix. Verizon can make all the claims in the world about how Netflix is responsible for the problem by choosing bad interconnect points, but if all that are available is bad interconnect points then Netflix really isn't to blame...

    I think Netflix is spot on with their name and shame efforts...

    1. TaabuTheCat

      Network metrics?

      I do wonder though what Netflix is doing to isolate the problem to upstream provider (Verizon controlled) issues and only warn on those, vs. triggering the warning when the problem lies in the last 100ft of the connection...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Network metrics?

        Just FYI, TaabuTheCat, Verizon owns more than the last 100'.

        1. TaabuTheCat

          Re: Network metrics?

          "Just FYI, TaabuTheCat, Verizon owns more than the last 100'"

          Sorry I didn't make myself more clear. There are users connecting Netflix capable devices via WiFi, and that really isn't something Verizon can control. Don't misunderstand, I dislike Verizon with a passion and they deserve every bit of a beating they can get, but Netflix needs to be careful here or Verizon will dig up one actual case where the problem was the home network triggering the alert and their PR machine will go to 11 in an attempt to portray that as happening in every case.

      2. a420bowlkilla

        Re: Network metrics?

        Most likely they are just using the IP addresses of the person who is using Netflix. They would be able to look it up and figure out what ISP you have. Basically the same as what does when they show you what ISP you have.

  4. lunatik96

    I wonder if Verizon can prove any of their "claims" to the other possibilities. While it is true that any signal must traverse several routers, etc, the last mile provider can be singled out for any policy to limit BW. If it isn't the server, it is the last mile, or the whole Internet would be down/ slow.

  5. Shadow Systems

    A simpel Ping+TraceRoute solves it.

    All anyone has to do is run a standard Ping & TraceRoute between a Verizon customer & Netflix. Netflix can make the same P+T in the other direction. If every node in the route shows 1 or 2 millisecond pings right up until it enters a Verizon controlled node, then suddenly slams into 10 or 20MS pings, the culprit is clear...

    And useable as evidence in a Court of Law as proof of Netflix's claims that it's Verizon's fault.

    Verizon would have to provide similar P+T logs that showed it was everyone *EXCEPT* them, otherwise the Court would have to look at Netflix's logs, realize it's as "in black & white" as it can get, and bitch slap Verizon.

    I'll go grab the popcorn. =-D

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A simpel Ping+TraceRoute solves it.

      Verizon could just enable CoPP and make sure ICMP is treated so poorly or even block it that you couldn't run that test.

      1. NullReference Exception

        Re: A simpel Ping+TraceRoute solves it.

        Alternatively, they could give maximum priority to ICMP so that the pings look great even if the network is otherwise totally hosed. Or you could get really clever and send them over a different route entirely. You can't really take ping results at face value anymore (if you ever could.)

        tcptraceroute is a better option, but even that can be detected and messed with.

    2. Charles 9

      Re: A simpel Ping+TraceRoute solves it.

      Verizon could counter the numbers are doctored and show THEIR OWN P+T logs that show THE EXACT OPPOSITE. Then it becomes a case of he said-he said, and the judge probably lacks the ability to figure out who (if any) is lying.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A simpel Ping+TraceRoute solves it.

      Actually it won't. A couple months back (during the Olympics) we were having buffering issues for Netflix over our FIOS connection (DC Metropolitan area). I was on a speed test site checking our speed while on the phone with Verizon trying to get them to fix the problem. Speed on the speedtest was 10 times what we needed for the resolution we were viewing, but the buffering issues persisted. Haven't had issues recently so I suspect Verizon got word they were losing the PR battle. Which according to the other IT people I talk to in the area, they are. Not because of stories like this, but because of failure to provide even crappy service. Two other IT guys here have switched from FIOS to Comcast because Verizon refused to take their issues seriously. One guy had lost his connectivity for more than a week on three occasions. When it was down he was having his teenage daughter do her homework on his iPhone. The other guy moved. Request was in for service to be moved at least a week before the end of May. He's seen the fiber reels with Verizon labels sitting in the neighborhood. He's seen the cables in the house. But they keep telling him they need to wire his house. On top of that, they canceled his existing account with 10+ years of email in it.

    4. Joseba4242

      Re: A simpel Ping+TraceRoute solves it.

      If only it was so easy. Whether it's 1ms or 20ms RTT doesn't make any different to streaming quality. The impact comes from packet loss and potentially packet reordering which you can't reliably measure on a hop by hop basis as there are too many factors affecting it (hidden hops, varying return paths than end node, routers not responding, ICMP throttling, ICMP being treated differently from TCP etc.).

      But let's assume it was established that the first hop on Verizon's network had higher packet loss for TCP than the last hop before (taking the same path), indicating some capacity issue on the connection between Verizon and the next network. That still wouldn't tell you who is responsible for that this link doesn't have sufficient capacity - is it Verizon or their peering partner?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "The letter goes on to claim that Netflix has opted to rely on a number of "middle-man networks" rather than agree to a direct connection deal with Verizon. Because of this, says Verizon, the streaming video provider has only itself to blame for poor traffic."

    So, when Verizon isn't the incumbent CLEC in an area and they have to use a "middle-man network" to provide service to their customer, do they blame the incumbent in the area or their customer?

    Maybe Netflix should turn the argument around and state that Verizon doesn't have a direct connection to Netflix in order for Verizon to service the needs of their paying customers.

  7. Don Jefe

    If Only

    If I had a direct line into millions of screens I'd blame Verizon for the shitty service too. They are at least as bad as the five man 'hometown' service providers. If there's a problem with your service, and Verizon is involved, it's guaranteed to be them. They need someone with a voice to speak up. Verizon doesn't have to listen to the people with only one choice for broadband service and they don't. Fuck 'em.

    On the plus side. Perhaps this is a really fantastic way to get at the ISP's wanting to charge more for preferential speeds. Is your viewing experience extra shitty? Call your Representative and tell them fast lane Internet access is shit.

  8. Andrew Jones 2

    Interesting - so they draw the line at messages on the Netflix app warning people Verizon is crap, but they don't say anything about the ISP Speed Index site which clearly shows Verizon is crap:

    Hell - Talk Talk in the UK is a faster connection than that one!

    1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

      .... never had a problem with talk talk - always get the full 18Mbs with good latency and no peak traffic jams.

    2. Chad H.

      Comparing Verizon to Talk Talk... It seems a pretty low blow, but I cant tell who its unfair to....

  9. LaeMing

    'Crowded' is a rather polite way of putting it. They could have said several other words there with equal accuracy.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      But 'crowded' isn't on George Carlin's list of 7 dirty words.

  10. tempemeaty

    Please continue Verizon, your own actions will out yourselves....

    The more Verizon makes a stink about it the more it will become clear how much they are throttling Netflix.

    1. Wade Burchette

      Re: Please continue Verizon, your own actions will out yourselves....

      It seems to me that those who shout the loudest have the most to hide.

  11. Big_Ted
    Thumb Down

    I can understand Verizon users being upset

    I am located in the UK and use chrome with Hola extension and a three mobile with H+ connection to stream Netflix, I can get HD quality from the USA version any time of the day without buffering.

    That being the case then I would say that maybe Netflix is correct that Verizon is the problem.

    I wonder if using a vpn or proxy service would be quicker for them.........

  12. Inachu

    tracert.exe shows that verizon is the one lying.

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