Verizon to Netflix: Traffic bottlenecks are all your fault, so shut it.

small__380379732Verizon might have just won its war of words with Netflix over network access for streaming videos.

Verizon’s David Young, vice-president of federal regulatory affairs, landed the seemingly fatal blow in a report posted onto the company’s Public Policy blog, in which he said Netflix’s claims that it deliberately throttles its traffic are false. Rather, he says that any bottlenecks are the fault of other companies Netflix uses to deliver its services to ISPs.

“Netflix chose to attempt to deliver that traffic to Verizon through a few third-party transit providers with limited capacity over connections specifically to be used only for balanced traffic flows. Netflix knew better,” wrote Young. “Netflix is responsible for either using connections that can carry the volume of traffic it is sending, or working out arrangements with its suppliers so they can handle the volumes.”

To hammer home its point, Verizon went to the trouble of making the diagram below which illustrates where Netflix’s traffic was slowed down in Los Angeles. It shows that the bottlenecks took place outside of Verizon’s own network, and that no other services are experiencing these problems.


“What it boils down to is this: these other transit and content providers took steps to ensure that there was adequate capacity for their traffic to enter our network,” stated Young. “In some cases, these are settlement-free peering arrangements, where the relative traffic flows between an IP network provider and us remain roughly equal, and both parties invest in sufficient facilities to match these roughly equal flows.”

When contacted for a statement, a Netflix spokeswoman surprisingly didn’t try to hit back or deny Verizon’s data:

“We’d like to thank Verizon for laying out the issue so nicely. Congestion at the interconnection point is controlled by ISPs like Verizon. When Verizon fails to upgrade those interconnections, consumers get a lousy experience despite paying for more than enough bandwidth to enjoy high-quality Netflix video. That’s why Netflix is calling for strong net neutrality that covers the interconnection needed for consumers to get the quality of INTER-net they pay for.”

So is this the end of the ongoing row between the two firms over Netflix’s video performance on Verizon’s network? Considering how Netflix was at one stage considering taking Verizon to court over the matter, it’d be surprising if the company backed down so meekly now – but it’s response to this latest evidence suggests that’s exactly what it’s doing.

photo credit: walidhassanein via photopin cc; Graphic via Verizon