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FCC weighs into Netflix-Verizon streaming row

NetflixUS communications regulator the FCC is investigating who is at fault for the problems occurring with streaming Netflix content via some broadband operators, notably Verizon.

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler issued a statement that read: “As the consumer’s representative we need to know what is going on. I have therefore directed the Commission staff to obtain the information we need to understand precisely what is happening in order to understand whether consumers are being harmed.”

It continued: “Recently, at my direction, Commission staff has begun requesting information from ISPs and content providers. We have received the [recently agreed interconnection] agreements between Comcast and Netflix and Verizon and Netflix. We are currently in the process of asking for others.”

Wheeler added that the FCC is information-collecting mode and is not yet regulating. “We are looking under the hood,” he said. “Consumers want transparency. They want answers. And so do I.”

Verizon and Netflix have been involved in a bitter war of words and both blamed each other the streaming problems affecting the viewing of Netflix content. Verizon issued a cease and desist notice, claiming an on-screen notice Netflix was posting blaming the Verizon network for viewing problems could damage its reputation and alleging that Netflix was to blame for the core issue.

Netflix responded with a letter in which it said Verizon was to blame for the streaming issues and that it was letting down its customers. It added that the contentious notices, part of what it called a transparency testing, will be stopped from today (June 16).