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Netflix and Verizon embroiled in network row

Netflix Building41-620x413Verizon Communications has issued a cease and desist notice to Netflix demanding it stop publicly stating that issues affecting playback of series and movies are being caused by Verizon’s “crowded network”.

In the letter it says Netflix’s claims are “deceptive” and could harm the perception of Verizon.

Netflix’s US subscribers watching via a Verizon connection have seen a notice stating, “[t]he Verizon network is crowded right now” when encountering buffering issues.

Verizon reacted angrily and in a cease and desist notice sent by Verizon’s general counsel Randal Milch to David Hyman, his counterpart at Netflix, said the streaming service’s claims had no basis.

The letter claimed that Netflix was itself responsible for any connection issues because it has chosen to use a “panoply of content-distribution and other middle-man networks to reach its customers, trying to lower its costs as much as possible. The cost/quality trade-off is one Netflix has chosen”. It adds: “Netflix’s false accusations have the potential to harm Verizon in the marketplace.”

In recent months Netflix has signed interconnect deals with operators in a bid to improve streaming performance for its subs. It agreed a deal in February with Comcast, agreeing to pay the US cable giant to gain direct access to its network to deliver a better quality service to Comcast subscribers. It also agreed a deal with Verizon.

Netflix did not officially respond, but, via Twitter, corporate communications director Joris Evers defended the US-listed company. He tweeted: “This is about people not getting what they paid for from their ISP. [Netflix] is transparent, [Verizon] is shutting that down.”