Netflix is calling out Verizon for its network slowing streaming video, showing viewers with jerky playback a message blaming the ISP for being over-saturated. Suggesting that “The Verizon network is crowded right now,” the pop-up comes on the heels of a deal signed between the two companies supposedly for faster video streaming, though one which Netflix itself was loathe to agree to.
That’s because ISPs are pushing the company to pay up to help offset bandwidth costs, which Netflix argues is counter to net neutrality principles. Earlier this year, the streaming entertainment company signed a similar deal with Comcast, again begrudgingly.
This new alert placing the blame solely at Verizon’s feet in the eyes of the user – spotted by Vox designer Yuri Victor, who has a FIOS connection and also pays for the speed boost upgrade – would seem to indicate that Netflix believes that if it’s paying up, it should get something in return.
According to company spokesperson Jonathan Freidland, “we’re always testing new ways to keep members informed” and the message won’t necessarily be limited to Verizon subscribers. His question that “we’ll see whether they think it is valuable or not” has already been answered.
Verizon spokesperson Robert Elek isn’t impressed, describing the message as “a PR stunt” which “seems misleading and could confuse people.”
Part of Netflix’s struggle as network congestion increases is that customers will often blame it – rather than ISPs – for their problems in viewing. This more abrupt way of shifting the blame is one way to address that, but the net neutrality issue overall looks like it’s not going away any time soon.