Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) has issued a cease-and-desist order to Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) over an error message that blames Verizon for poor streaming service on Netflix titles.
On Tuesday night, Vox Media designer Yuri Victor noticed that his streaming service was moving particularly slowly, and that Netflix blamed the slowdown on Verizon’s service. “The Verizon network is crowded right now. Adjusting for smoother playback,” read an error message on Netflix’s site. Netflix Chief Communications Officer Jonathan Friedland later confirmed via Twitter that the message was legitimate, stating that it was designed to “keep members informed.”
In response, Verizon issued a statement firing back at Netflix on Wednesday. Verizon denied that the issue was related to ongoing disputes over Net neutrality and claimed that “the source of the problem is almost certainly NOT congestion in Verizon’s network.”
“Instead, the problem is most likely congestion on the connection that Netflix has chosen to use to reach Verizon’s network,” the statement continued. “Of course, Netflix is solely responsible for choosing how their traffic is routed into any ISP’s network.”
On Thursday, with the issue apparently unresolved, Verizon began exploring legal options, sending a formal cease-and-desist order to Netflix, the Washington Post reports.
"Verizon demands that Netflix immediately cease and desist from providing any such further 'notices' to users of the Verizon network," the order reads.
“We further demand," the letter continues, "that within five days … Netflix provide Verizon with any and all evidence and documentation that it possesses substantiating Netflix's assertion to Mr. Yuri Victor that his experience in viewing a Netflix video was solely attributable to the Verizon network."
Netflix’s error message comes only one day before the streaming site debuts the second season of its widely acclaimed original series “Orange Is the New Black.” Viewer numbers for the series have not been released, but given the show’s popularity with fans and critics, it’s guaranteed that Netflix is expecting a huge surge in traffic when the new episodes premiere and can’t afford a slowdown in its traffic.
Read the full text of Verizon’s cease-and-desist order below.