Netflix Caves And Will Take Down The Messages Blaming Verizon's Internet For Slow Streams

Netflix slow verizon serviceYuri Victor/TwitterThe message some Netflix users see.

Netflix said today that it will stop showing messages blaming internet providers for poor streaming quality after receiving a cease and desist letter from Verizon.

In a blog post, Netflix said such messages were part of a test that began in May. The test is due to end June 16 and Netflix will figure out later whether or not it will conduct further testing.

Here’s the announcement from Netflix:

As part of this transparency campaign, we started a small scale test in early May that lets consumers know, while they’re watching Netflix, that their experience is degraded due to a lack of capacity into their broadband provider’s network. We are testing this across the U.S. wherever there is significant and persistent network congestion This test is scheduled to end on June 16. We will evaluate rolling it out more broadly.

Some broadband providers argue that our actions, and not theirs, are causing a degraded Netflix experience. Netflix does not purposely select congested routes. We pay some of the world’s largest transit networks to deliver Netflix video right to the front door of an ISP. Where the problem occurs is at that door — the interconnection point — when the broadband provider hasn’t provided enough capacity to accommodate the traffic their customer requested.

Verizon issued the cease and desist letter to Netflix on Thursday after a journalist at Vox Media tweeted a screenshot from Netflix on his Mac warning that Verizon’s internet was to blame for poor streaming quality. The image quickly went viral. Verizon’s letter gave Netflix five days to take down the message or face legal action.

Netflix has always maintained that the message was a test, but still told Business Insider last week that it intended to continue such testing:

This is about consumers not getting what they paid for from their broadband provider. We are trying to provide more transparency, just like we do with the Netflix ISP Speed Index, and Verizon is trying to shut down that discussion.

We are testing ways to let consumers know how their Netflix experience is being affected by congestion on their broadband provider’s network. At present, we are testing in the U.S. in areas serviced by many broadband providers. This test started in early May and it is ongoing.

Our test continues.

Based on today’s announcement, it sounds like Netflix found a way to comply with Verizon’s request without actually admitting it’s doing so.

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