June 9 Netflix Inc said on Monday it
will stop sending messages that blame Verizon Inc's
broadband service for slow delivery of its TV shows and movies,
an action that may defuse tension between the two over Internet
The messages, which appeared on screen when a video was
buffering, were a "small scale test" that will end on June 16,
Netflix spokesman Joris Evers said in a post on the company's
blog. But he left open the option that the alerts could resume.
"We will evaluate rolling it out more broadly," he said.
A Verizon spokesman had no comment.
The notices are part of a "transparency campaign," Netflix
said, that is meant to inform customers when "their experience
is degraded due to a lack of capacity at their broadband
provider's network." The company also publishes a monthly index
that ranks the speed of Internet service providers.
Netflix previously said the buffering messages started in
mid-May and were sent to a few hundred thousand customers of
Verizon and other broadband providers when streaming was slow.
Last Thursday, Verizon, which had called the notices a "PR
stunt," sent Netflix a letter that demanded that the company
stop the practice and threatened legal action if it failed to
provide information on who received them.
Verizon argues that the messages are deceptive and that the
responsibility for slow streaming falls on Netflix. Verizon said
Netflix tries to save money by using middleman to distribute the
content while knowing some of them have issues with congestion
in some networks.
Netflix disputed that on Monday. "Netflix does not purposely
select congested routes," Evers said on the blog.
In April, Netflix said it reluctantly signed a deal to pay
fees to Verizon to bypass those middlemen and deliver content
directly to the company, ensuring faster speeds. Verizon is
still implementing the needed architecture and expects to finish
by the end of 2014.
Netflix argues that the fees are a toll that should be
prohibited and has urged the Federal Communications Commission
to address the issue.
(Reporting by Lisa Richwine and Marina Lopes; Editing by Steve