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Verizon Working 'Aggressively' With Netflix for Faster Streaming

10 Jul, 2014 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Telco executive confirms joint efforts with Netflix while reiterating blame for fluctuating streaming speeds lies solely with the SVOD pioneer

Verizon said it is “aggressively” working with Netflix to establish a more direct ISP connection that will enable the latter’s subscribers using the FiOS network smoother streaming speeds.

The “cooperation” between the two companies likely means Netflix will have to pay Verizon an interconnection fee — something the streaming pioneer is loathe to do, but already doing with Comcast — to ensure faster streaming.

David Young, VP of federal regulatory affairs at Verizon, in a July 10 policy blog, used the opportunity to again challenge claims by Netflix that fluctuating streaming speeds on the FiOS network are due to congestion caused by the telecom operator.

Netflix had been sending emails to its Verizon subs intimating that slowing streaming speeds were the fault of the telecom operator. It has since stopped sending emails.

Citing an email received from an alleged Los Angeles FiOS subscriber not getting the 75 megabits-per-second streaming speed he was paying for to watch Netflix, Young said Verizon conducted a complete diagnostics test of its network to measure the utilization (the percentage of total capacity used) at every link in the network — from the customer to the edge of the network, where it receives Netflix traffic — to determine where congestion was occurring.

“There was no congestion anywhere within the Verizon network,” Young wrote. “There was, however, congestion at the interconnection link to the edge of our network (the border router) used by the transit providers chosen by Netflix to deliver video traffic to Verizon’s network.”

Specifically, Young said Netflix’s choice of intermediary transit operators is not adequate to handle the SVOD service’s burgeoning streaming traffic. With Netflix accounting for up to a third of all streaming traffic during peak primetime hours, the imbalance in traffic flows precipitates the fluctuating speeds.

Indeed, Young said the links from other transit providers (carrying non-Netflix traffic) to Verizon’s network did not experience congestion and were performing fine.

“Netflix chose to attempt to deliver that traffic to Verizon through a few third-party transit providers with limited capacity over connections specifically to be used only for balanced traffic flows,” Young wrote. “Netflix knew better. Netflix is responsible for either using connections that can carry the volume of traffic it is sending, or working out arrangements with its suppliers so they can handle the volumes.”

Netflix, in a statement, thanked Verizon for laying out the issue "so nicely." It said congestion at the interconnection point is controlled by ISPs like Verizon.

"When Verizon fails to upgrade those interconnections, consumers get a lousy experience despite paying for more than enough bandwidth to enjoy high-quality Netflix video. That's why Netflix is calling for strong net neutrality that covers the interconnection needed for consumers to get the quality of Internet they pay for."


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