Netflix has backed down from its Internet bandwidth shaming campaign against Verizon, bringing an end to what the video streaming company called a trial run to let customers know why the movies they want to watch download slowly. After the warnings gained media attention, Verizon threatened legal action if Netflix didn't stop.
Verizon wasn't amused with Netflix's warnings and responded by sending the company a cease and desist letter demanding the on screen messages stop, and that Netflix hand over the names of customers who saw the warnings. The letter itself isn't a legally binding document, but does set the groundwork for litigation.
The back and forth between Netflix and Verizon falls squarely in the realm of the Net neutrality debate. Netflix executives feel the Internet should be open and all data treated equally as it passes through the various networks on its way to end users, while Verizon executives want companies like Netflix to pay fees to ensure their data isn't throttled to lower speeds.
Verizon contended that Netflix's bandwidth issues come from the source, while Netflix has been insisting it's a "last mile" problem where Verizon and other companies are intentionally limiting the bandwidth available to video streams.
While the FCC is debating whether or not ISPs charging companies to send content through their networks fits with the spirit of Net Neutrality, Netflix has been signing deals with those companies to avoid data throttling. So far, it has deals in place with Comcast and Verizon -- the same Verizon it has been accusing of throttling its video streams.
"This is about consumers not getting what they paid for from their broadband provider," Netflix said in a statement. "We are trying to provide more transparency, just like we do with the ISP Speed Index, and Verizon is trying to shut down that discussion."
That discussion with Verizon looks to be shut down, at least for now.
[Thanks to USA TODAY for the heads up]