Now showing on Netflix: To Whom It Pays Tolls

Internet service providers are getting unsolicited screen time on Netflix. The Los Gatos company in February signed a deal with Comcast, then blasted having to pay “tolls” to ISPs in order to provide its customers with a smooth, fast video-streaming experience. A couple of months ago, Netflix also signed an interconnection deal with Verizon, which it’s now shaming when streaming video slows down.

Here’s how:


As noted on Quartz, Victor — a Vox Media designer — isn’t the only one who’s seen the “error message,” other Twitter users have said they’ve also seen an “AT&T network is crowded right now” message.

Netflix, with its millions of video and TV-rental subscribers, and CEO Reed Hastings are famously outspoken. When the Federal Communications Commission asked the company to weigh in on the proposed Comcast-Time Warner Cable deal, Netflix took the opportunity to blast Comcast and its tolls. The company has for a couple of years released a monthly index that ranks providers’ average speeds; Comcast speeds have improved since the company reached a deal with Netflix. With this latest decision to publicly blame ISPs for slow streaming speeds, Netflix is shaming companies that are now its partners. A Verizon spokesman told ReCode: “This is a PR stunt. We’re investigating this claim but it seems misleading and could confuse people.” Netflix replied that it’s testing the messages as a service to its customers.


Photo: Getty Images archives


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