Did Verizon admit to slowing down Netflix?

by: William Neilson JrJuly 18, 2014

Verizon_Throttling_Netflix_Wide DailyTech

Last May, Level 3 noted that six of the largest Internet Service Providers (ISP’s) were intentionally creating points of “permanent congestion” by refusing to upgrade their side of transit-operator facing connection links which can only be resolved through direct interconnection payments to the ISP’s. Yet, Verizon and other ISP’s have consistently denied that any slowdown issues are their fault.

Over the last month, Verizon and Netflix have intensified their public peering and interconnection fight. Verizon has recently taken to their blog to deny that the Netflix issues are absolutely not due to any congestion.

net speed TekSyndicate

In their blog post, Verizon stated that they had studied the situation closely and found that there was plenty of capacity available where Netflix could deliver traffic to its network. According to Verizon, the congestion was being caused by Netflix, which had made the decision to send all its data over a limited set of very crowded routes.

Then yesterday, Level3 Mark Taylor stated that Verizon’s denial actually proves that they’re intentionally throttling connections. In his response (which is a good read), Taylor reiterates that Verizon once again seems to ignore that the height of congestion exists where the Level 3 and Verizon networks interconnect.

Verizon has confirmed that everything between that router in their network and their subscribers is uncongested – in fact has plenty of capacity sitting there waiting to be used. Above, I confirmed exactly the same thing for the Level 3 network. So in fact, we could fix this congestion in about five minutes simply by connecting up more 10Gbps ports on those routers. Simple. Something we’ve been asking Verizon to do for many, many months, and something other providers regularly do in similar circumstances. But Verizon has refused. So Verizon, not Level 3 or Netflix, causes the congestion. Why is that? Maybe they can’t afford a new port card because they’ve run out – even though these cards are very cheap, just a few thousand dollars for each 10 Gbps card which could support 5,000 streams or more. If that’s the case, we’ll buy one for them. Maybe they can’t afford the small piece of cable between our two ports. If that’s the case, we’ll provide it. Heck, we’ll even install it. – Level3.com

Young also accuses Verizon of using their monopoly status over the only connection that end-users have  to drive up the costs.

But, here’s the other interesting thing also shown in the Verizon diagram. This congestion only takes place between Verizon and network providers chosen by Netflix. The providers that Netflix does not use do not experience the same problem. Why is that? Could it be that Verizon does not want its customers to actually use the higher-speed services it sells to them? Could it be that Verizon wants to extract a pound of flesh from its competitors, using the monopoly it has over the only connection to its end-users to raise its competitors’ costs?– Level3.com

  • Amadeus Klein

    Glad someone in the industry is calling BS… Now I’d be curious how the other providers stack up… About the same i’d guess …

  • David Morales

    This has been an ongoing issue with FiOS. Everytime I have called to complain, they tell me that its either my router or the devices I’m using. Instead, I use this VPN: http://www.slickvpn.com and it works most of the time to get better speeds…especially over the past couple of months. It isn’t just Netflix though, but with Hulu as well. I don’t know why Verizon is adamant about throttling so much.