updated 05:30 am EDT, Thu June 5, 2014
Claims warning is attempt to shift connectivity blame from Netflix to Verizon
Verizon has fought back against reports of a Netflix error message informing users "The Verizon network is crowded right now." The error message, which directly blames the Internet service provider (ISP) for the slow connection has been described by Verizon as a PR stunt and an attempt to shift blame away from itself, claiming the error message "is not only inaccurate, it is deliberately misleading."
A blog post by David Young, Vice President of Verizon Federal Regulatory Affairs, writes that the "source of the problem is almost certainly not congestion in Verizon's network. Instead, the problem is most likely congestion on the connection that Netflix has chosen to reach Verizon's network. Of course, Netflix is solely responsible for choosing how their traffic is routed into any ISP's network. Young goes on to accuse Netflix of misleading customers "so they can be used as pawns in business negotiations and regulatory proceedings," and suggested a more accurate error message would state "The path we have chosen to reach Verizon's network is crowded right now."
Netflix signed an interconnect deal with Verizon in April, allowing it to directly connect to the ISP instead of using a third party, something which in theory would minimize any lag or congestion. According to Recode, Verizon is still working on implementing the agreement, leaving Netflix to continue to use a third-party connection.
Ultimately, it is difficult to tell exactly who is to blame with the connection, and it is unlikely that the issue will go away until Verizon completes the work on its network for a direct connection with Netflix servers.