The FCC is investigating Netflix's dispute with Verizon and Comcast

The Federal Communications Commission has begun studying who’s at fault in Netflix’s video streaming battle against Internet service providers, an indication that the issue may be subject to broader regulatory oversight as the agency recasts new Net Neutrality rules. Netflix recently struck deals to pay Comcast and Verizon Communications to connect its servers directly with the Internet providers’ networks to improve steaming speeds. Netflix has said it signed the deals reluctantly. Earlier this month, the Los Gatos, Calif.-based company also began issuing messages directly to some Verizon customers on its buffering screen, shortly before the movie starts, that Verizon’s crowded networks are to blame for slow streaming speeds.

The Federal Communications Commission is investigating ongoing traffic disputes between Netflix and a variety of Internet Service Providers, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said Friday. Wheeler said in a statement that he obtained the terms of the deals that Netflix signed with Verizon and Comcast to boost its streaming speeds on their networks. The FCC is in the process of obtaining information about Netflix’s similar deals with other ISPs. “The bottom line is that consumers need to understand what is occurring when the Internet service they’ve paid for does not adequately deliver the content they desire, especially content they’ve also paid for,” Wheeler said in the statement. Netflix streaming speeds have declined precipitously on several large ISPs in recent months, but no company has been willing to admit fault. Netflix blames ISPs for throttling speeds as a way to force the streaming service to pay more for its videos to get to subscribers. Many ISPs argue that content providers like Netflix have long footed the bill for transferring data across the Internet, and Netflix’s current arguments are mostly grandstanding.

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