Netflix and Verizon are embroiled in a feud over video streaming traffic, and it appears as if Netflix users are the ones paying the price.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Netflix wants broadband companies to support its platform without any additional fees. Unsurprisingly, the Journal notes, "the biggest US providers – Verizon, Comcast, Time Warner Cable and AT&T – have resisted, insisting on compensation." And as the providers and Netflix hash out their differences, streaming speeds are falling.
On Verizon's FIOS network, for instance, prime-time streaming speeds dropped 14 percent last month.
Monitor readers will remember that earlier this month, tech expert David Raphael went public with claims that Verizon was intentionally throttling the bandwidth of big cloud services, such as Amazon's AWS, which helps support the Netflix network. "In my personal opinion, this is Verizon waging war against Netflix," Mr. Raphael wrote on his blog, after recounting a particularly testy exchange with a Verizon customer service representative.
Verizon denied the claims, saying that it treated "all traffic equally."
But there can be little doubt that the carrier is less than thrilled with having to shoulder all that streaming traffic, especially at a time when streaming video continues to account for more and more bandwidth. (One study has shown that half of all Internet traffic in North America is taken up with YouTube and Netflix streams.)
"Just using the Netflix example — it uses a lot of bandwidth and it takes money and a lot of infrastructure to support that, and it also has implications for the rest of the traffic," Jeff Silva, a telecommunications analyst at Medley Global Advisors, told NPR this week.