Verizon says it's working with Netflix to improve streaming quality

Verizon (NYSE: VZ) has taken the offensive--sort of--in sorting out complaints that its network is responsible for network congestion that impacts the quality of experience for its FiOS customers viewing Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX).

In a blog entry aimed at "dispelling the myth" of network congestion, David Young, Verizon's vice president of federal regulatory affairs, asserted that Verizon is not deliberately throttling Netflix traffic but conceded that the Netflix network did suffer from congestion on parts of the network which Verizon does not control, in turn, affecting the quality of experience for Verizon customers.

"There was no congestion anywhere within the Verizon network," Young wrote. "There was … congestion at the interconnection link to the edge of our network (the border router) used by the transit providers chosen by Netflix to deliver video traffic to Verizon's networks."

The assertion was the latest volley in a war between the two companies, with Netflix blaming Verizon for the impairments and Verizon blaming Netflix for blaming Verizon in its statements to customers. Young offered an olive branch, of sorts, by writing that the carrier is "working aggressively with Netflix to establish new, direct connections from Netflix to Verizon's network."

These new connections, he emphasized, will not prioritize Netflix traffic but will ensure that the OTT provider's traffic "gets on our network through direct connections--not middleman networks--that are up to the task."

Netflix was slightly mollified, but not enough to back off demands for better connectivity and net neutrality and maintaining that interconnection points are, in reality, controlled by the carriers, according to a statement offered to Ars Technica.

"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 Internet they pay for," the statement read.

On at least one point the two companies did agree: End users should not get a bad experience.

"Even though there's no congestion on our network, we're not satisfied if our customers are not," Young wrote. "We fully understand that many of our customers want a great streaming experience with Netflix and we want that too."

Improving the Netflix connection without prioritizing Netflix traffic, he said, will give Verizon customers a "significantly improved experience as Netflix traffic flows over non-congested links."

For more:
- Verizon has this blog entry
- Ars Technica has this story
- CNBC has this video

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