Last week, Verizon sent a cease and desist letter to Netflix threatening a lawsuit unless Netflix immediately stops sending notices to customers blaming Verizon for poor quality.
Verizon lags behind Comcast in upgrading direct connections with Netflix. "Failure to provide this information may lead us to pursue legal remedies, and Verizon reserves all rights in that regard," Verizon wrote.
The messages the company is sending to consumers are part of a "test" that's ending next week, but that doesn't mean Netflix's public relations campaign is over, Hyman wrote. "The current transparency test to which your letter relates is scheduled to end June 16 and we are evaluating rolling it out more broadly," he wrote.
Netflix's response did not include the list of customers to whom it has sent the messages or specific justification for each one, as Verizon demanded.
When asked if Netflix is not complying with all of Verizon's demands, a Netflix spokesperson told Ars only that the "letter speaks for itself."
|Netflix has integrated its streaming player in many consumer electronics devices including the XBox 360 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
The letter criticized Verizon for not joining Netflix's Open Connect peering and caching program, which lets ISPs connect directly to Netflix or bring Netflix storage boxes into their own networks in order to improve quality. "You have chosen not to participate in the Open Connect Program, but instead have allowed your network connection to Netflix to degrade until we agreed to pay for augmented interconnection," Hyman wrote. "We brought the data right to your doorstep...all you had to do was open your door."
While Netflix caved in to Verizon and agreed to pay for a direct connection to its network more than a month ago, it's not paying off for customers yet.
Verizon hasn't established enough links with Netflix to improve quality and promises only that the upgrade will be done by the end of 2014.
In his letter to Verizon, Hyman wrote that Netflix's messages "merely let our customers know that the Verizon network is crowded. We have determined this by examining the difference between the speed at which the Verizon network handles Netflix traffic at peak versus non-peak times."
Verizon's cease and desist letter blamed Netflix for poor quality, saying that "Netflix has chosen to continue sending its traffic over these congested routes."
Hyman responded that it is "Verizon's responsibility to provide its customers with the service it has promised them... It is my understanding that Verizon actually upsells customers to higher speed packages based on improved access to video services, including Netflix. Verizon's unwillingness to augment its access ports to major Internet backbone providers is squarely Verizon's fault... To try to shift blame to us for performance issues arising from interconnection congestion is like blaming drivers on a bridge for traffic jams when you're the one who decided to leave three lanes closed during rush hour."
A company spokesperson said only, "We look forward to working with Netflix to improve our mutual customers' enjoyment of Netflix."
When asked again if Verizon plans to file the lawsuit that it threatened in its cease and desist letter, the Verizon spokesperson said, "I'm not going to respond."