Netflix may have lost this battle, but it still refuses to surrender

Netflix may be ending a series of controversial new error messages for now, but it’s also doubling down on claims that Verizon is at fault when it comes to breakdowns in video streaming. And Netflix’s latest broadside against the Internet provider is characteristically flippant. The blow comes in response to a Verizon cease-and-desist letter sent to Netflix last week. In the letter, Verizon demanded that Netflix stop telling users that drops in streaming performance was the result of congestion on Verizon’s network — and threatened to sue if Netflix didn’t provide evidence backing up its claims. Now Netflix has refused to comply with Verizon’s data request, instead reiterating arguments that Verizon hasn’t done enough to accommodate its subscribers’ requests for streaming video.

Netflix defended its error messages to customers that blamed Verizon Communications’ network, despite a cease-and-desist notice from the broadband service provider. In a reply to Verizon, Netflix’s General Counsel David Hyman wrote on Monday that the message cited by Verizon merely lets Netflix customers know that the Verizon network is crowded. Netflix said it had determined that by calculating the difference between the speed at which traffic was handled during peak and non-peak hours. The video streaming company, however, said that the limited ‘transparency’ tests that had led to customers getting the error message would end June 16, though the company would evaluate rolling it out more broadly. Regardless of the specific test, Netflix will continue to work on ways to communicate network conditions to its consumers, Hyman wrote, suggesting that the dispute between the two companies is far from settled. Verizon threatened to sue Netflix last week after it started displaying error messages that blamed Verizon for low-quality video streams. Users received the message that the “The Verizon network is crowded right now” and that Netflix was adjusting the video for smoother playback.

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