Netflix speeds became so slow in December 2013 and January 2014 that customers grew irate, Netflix said in its petition. Calls made to Netflix's customer support center about slow-loading videos more than quadrupled during those months.
"For many subscribers, the bit rate was so poor that Netflix's streaming video service became unusable," the company said. "Some of them canceled their Netflix subscription on the spot, citing the unacceptable quality of Netflix's video streams and Netflix's inability to do anything to change the situation."
Netflix and its CEO Reed Hastings have become outspoken critics of those direct-connect deals, accusing the Internet service providers of shakedown tactics.
Writing in Wired last week, Hastings said that Internet users will "never realize broadband's potential if large ISPs erect a pay-to-play system that charges both the sender and receiver for the same content." He has called on the FCC to ban broadband companies from charging content providers like Netflix to connect to their networks.
The Internet companies counter that Netflix plays an outsized role in network congestion, accounting for around a third of data consumption online during peak hours, and Netflix should therefore help foot the bill for delivery.