Verizon's average Netflix speeds have dropped considerably in recent months, adding to concerns that the FiOS provider may intentionally be slowing connections to the streaming video service. In its monthly grading of ISPs, Netflix says that Verizon fell to an average of 1.82Mbps in January. That's down from 2.2Mbps in October, and has resulted in Verizon dropping from sixth to seventh place in Netflix's overall ISP ranking. (Google Fiber still leads the competition, delivering average speeds of 3.78Mbps.) Other ISPs have also been on a downward slope; Comcast now averages just 1.51Mbps.
Internet providers like Verizon are under close scrutiny after the FCC's net neutrality rules were largely tossed out by a judge last month. That ruling gave ISPs free rein to eventually charge companies like Netflix to speed up their connection to customers. Earlier this month, David Raphael published a blog post that seemingly confirmed FiOS has been limiting bandwidth to Netflix — or "throttling" its streaming services. But as Ars Technica quickly pointed out, the low-level customer support representative Raphael spoke with was likely just incorrect. And the evidence he produced to illustrate the slowdown didn't conclusively point to Netflix throttling. In response to the claims, Verizon said it treats "all traffic equally."
Verizon continues to insist its internet services "deliver a pristine user experience to our customers at any time of day on every day of the week." In a statement to Ars Technica, the company went even further, shifting blame for any Netflix streaming woes that customers are experiencing back to Netflix itself. Verizon said:
How the Internet works can be complicated, and consumers should be aware of the fact that the integrity of their home Internet connection is only a portion of the streaming video quality equation. If their broadband connection is functioning correctly, the source of their frustration and the content they wish to see may be one in the same.
Clearly Verizon isn't willing to admit fault in this situation. But the blame game isn't likely to satisfy customers who are seeing pixelated or jerky video over what's supposed to be a super-fast internet connection. We reached out to Netflix for a response to Verizon's statement, but the company offered no comment.