FCC to investigate Netflix vs. ISP ‘slow internet’ squabble

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The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has stepped in to investigate the Netflix vs. ISP ‘internet slowdown’ squabble and has obtained agreements between the online video streaming service and the ISPs.

Commission’s Chairman Tom Wheeler said that FCC doesn’t know the answers yet and that it is not suggesting that either of the company is at fault. “Consumers must get what they pay for,” Wheeler wrote. “I have therefore directed the Commission staff to obtain the information we need … to understand whether consumers are being harmed.”

FCC is currently looking at the issue in an investigative capacity and is only collecting information about the issue and complaints from users.

We can’t say for sure at what point in time did the internet speed throttling issue catch flame, but after Netflix published ISP speed index earlier this year that reflected an overall slowdown of the service on all ISPs, the streaming company signed a deal with Comcast to resolve speed issues. This deal was followed by two consecutive deals between Netflix and AT&T and Netflix and Verizon to ensure that Netflix customers get the speeds that they were promised.

However, none of the deals except with Comcast have actually paid back Netflix in terms of speeds increases and it seems that this could have been one of the starting points of the finger pointing. ISPs also didn’t sit back and Comcast said that Netflix’s poor viewability claims were a result of the streaming company’s “commercial transit decisions”.

Verizon sent out a cease and desist letter to Netflix for holding the ISP responsible for slugging streaming on its trademark red buffering screen.