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Verizon wants Netflix to pay for traffic

Neither side gives as video quality falls
Wed Feb 19 2014, 12:48

INTERNET SERVICE PROVIDER (ISP) Verizon reportedly is throttling traffic to Netflix users.

As we previously reported, a number of the broadband provider's customers have complained about "unwatchable" buffering on the service since Verizon won a federal appellate court ruling allowing it to prioritise internet traffic.

Since that report, the Wall Street Journal has confirmed that Verizon is indeed operating a policy of charging content providers that generate high traffic volumes additional fees for carriage, and Netflix appears to be in its crosshairs.

Although a spokeswoman for Verizon refused to admit the standoff, claiming, "We're talking all the time", a growing number of customers have complained that their Netflix service has become unresponsive and prone to heavy buffering. This coincides with an important time for Netflix, as it releases the second season of the Emmy Award winning TV series House of Cards.

The streaming media service claims that its network speeds dropped 14 percent last month.

The news has wider implications at a time when the US Senate is trying to pass measures to protect net neutrality.

Coincidentally, two of America's biggest cable ISPs, Time Warner and Comcast, are seeking a merger and the larger merged company with interests in both cable television and broadband distribution would almost certainly object to Netflix "clogging" its bandwidth in urban markets.

Though senators are working cross party in attempts to preserve net neutrality, its opponents are determined to make the heavy users pay their dues, and with Netflix taking up to a third of peak internet traffic, it was always going to be in the firing line. µ


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