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Netflix Will Stop Showing Internet-Congestion Messages After Verizon Legal Threat

Netflix said it will discontinue a “small-scale test” informing users via browser messages when their broadband provider’s network is congested as of June 16.

The announcement Monday via a Netflix blog post came after Verizon Communications issued a cease-and-desist letter to the streamer last week demanding that the notifications stop.

Netflix started a test in early May to inform consumers that their experience is “degraded due to a lack of capacity into their broadband provider’s network,” VP of communications Joris Evers wrote in a blog post.

Verizon had previously called the Netflix browser messages “a PR stunt” that “seems misleading,” before formally enlisting its legal team to call for an end to the practice.

The test is being conducted across the U.S. “wherever there is significant and persistent network congestion,” Evers said. The test is scheduled to end on June 16 after which “we will evaluate rolling it out more broadly,” he wrote.

SEE ALSO: Verizon Sends Netflix Cease-and-Desist Letter Over On-Screen Warnings

Netflix will continue to post its monthly ISP Speed Index ranking the average connection speeds its users experience. For May 2014, Verizon FiOS fell two spots, with an average of 1.9 megabits per second — behind DSL providers Frontier Communications and Windstream Communications, according to Netflix.

Verizon is in the process of directly connecting its networks to Netflix, under the companies’ interconnection agreement reached in late April. Netflix, which accounted for some 34% of all downstream bandwidth used on North American broadband networks in March 2014, has a similar deal with Comcast.

Netflix has tried to conflate its disputes over paid-peering deals with net neutrality, describing such deals as a “toll” on content companies that it should not have to pay. Internet service providers and the Federal Communications Commission have said the two issues are separate.

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