Netflix (NFLX) Responds to Verizon’s Cease and Desist

Verizon Communications (VZ) on Thursday demanded Netflix (NFLX) to immediately stop blaming the ISP for slow streaming speeds or face a lawsuit.

Verizon is reacting to messages appearing on the screens of some Netflix users, blaming Verizon for low-quality video streams.

In a cease-and-desist letter sent to the company, Verizon said [via Reuters] “there is no basis for Netflix to assert that issues with respect to playback of any particular video session are attributable solely to the Verizon network”. Verizon also asked Netflix to provide it within five days “with any and all evidence and documentation that it possesses substantiating Netflix’s assertion”.

“Failure to provide this information may lead us to pursue legal remedies,” Verizon general counsel Randal Milch said in a letter to Netflix general counsel David Hyman.

In mid-May, Netflix started displaying messages for users whose videos were slow to load that blamedVerizon and other ISPs for congesting the networks.

A Netflix spokesman said that “this is about consumers not getting what they paid for from their broadband provider”. Netflix also said the company is “trying to provide more transparency, just like [it does] with the ISP Speed Index, and Verizon is trying to shut down that discussion.”

Netflix shares are up $1.97, or 0.46%, at $430.32 in pre-market trading Friday, while Verizon shares are up 10 cents, or 0.20%, at $49.38.

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