If you’re a Verizon subscriber hoping to binge watch Orange is the New Black this weekend, good luck! It appears as though the lack of net neutrality has once again bit Netflix in the ass, but at least they’re doing exactly what I suggested they do a few months ago when the streaming service slows down: They’re rightfully blaming it on the Internet Service Provider, according to USA Today. The problem in this case is that Verizon is denying (lying) that they’re the problem, and they’re threatening legal action against Netflix if they don’t shut the f**k up.
If you’re a Verizon user experiencing slow-downs, Netflix is now including a message on your buffer screen: “The Verizon network is crowded right now. Adjusting video for smoother playback.” A user took a screenshot of that message on Tuesday and tweeted it out, and Netflix confirmed exactly what it was doing: “We are testing ways to let consumers know how their Netflix experience is being affected by congestion on their broadband provider’s network. At present, we are testing in the U.S. in areas serviced by many broadband providers.”
This is smart, because it shifts the blame and puts pressure on the Internet service provider to increase the speeds or lose their customer (although, as John Oliver pointed out, most customers aren’t given a lot of choices to begin with in what is a virtual monopoly). The problem is, Verizon doesn’t want customers to know that it’s their fault. They’ve sent a cease and desist letter to Netflix demanding that they stop alerting their subscribers to Verizon’s issues, saying it could be a number of other problems out of Verizon’s control, such as the connections between multiple networks, in-home wiring, Wi-Fi and device settings.
Uh huh. Right. It’s Verizon.
What’s weird is that Netflix has already signed a deal with Verizon to ensure better speeds for their customers. However, Verizon apparently hasn’t yet completed work to ensure better speeds, though they do plan to abide by the terms of the contract by the end of the year. Until then, however, Verizon ISP subscribers may continue to suffer slower speeds while they’re catching up on the best TV shows streaming on Netflix, while Netflix has to be wondering if this is a shakedown to squeeze more money out of Netflix in order to ensure the agreement goes into place faster.
Source: USA Today