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Net Neutrality Fuels Verizon-Netflix Spat

Finger-pointing tied to the heated network-neutrality debate continued last week, as Verizon Communications took aim at Netflix, saying the over-the-top streaming giant, not the telco, is at fault for recent congestion issues that caused video to buffer.

This spat — and others like it between MVPDs and Netflix — is expected to contunue as long as the issue is debated by the FCC and Congress.

Verizon said a review conducted by its network operations team, which measured the capacity used at every link in the telco’s network from the customer to the edge, found congestion was absent within its own network, but was occurring at the interconnections links used by transit providers selected by Netflix.

“This review confirmed … there was no congestion anywhere within the Verizon network,” David Young, Verizon’s vice president of federal regulatory affairs, wrote in a blog post last Thursday (July 11) that enters play as the Federal Communications Commission pursues a new set of Open Internet rules.

“While the links chosen by Netflix were congested (congestion occurs when use approaches or reaches 100% capacity during peak usage periods), the links from other transit providers (carrying non-Netflix traffic) to Verizon’s network did not experience congestion and were performing fine,” Young added. “For whatever reason (perhaps to cut costs and improve its profitability), Netflix did not make arrangements to deliver this massive amount of traffic through connections that can handle it.”

Netflix expressed a different view, saying ISPs such as Verizon have allowed peering points to degrade, forcing companies such as Netflix to forgo settlement-free peering arrangements for paid interconnection deals that produce higher-quality video streams.

Netflix, which has reluctantly agreed to such deals with Verizon and Comcast and is in similar talks with AT&T, prefers that ISPs join Open Connect, a private content-delivery network that relies on Netflix-supplied edge caches.