By Drew FitzGerald
Netflix Inc. said it reached a commercial deal for direct access to Verizon Communications Inc.'s network, improving the streaming video service's performance even as its chief executive has complained publicly about having to pay for such connections.
A Verizon spokesman confirmed the deal. The terms weren't disclosed. The agreement follows a similar deal Netflix reached with Comcast Corp. in February. Netflix said it paid Comcast for connections for the first time, because its existing routes were congested and slowing service for its subscribers.
Netflix had been at odds with broadband providers like Verizon and Comcast for months, in a debate over who would pay for the huge volumes of traffic Netflix was sending that stretched back into last year.
The dispute involves the plumbing behind parts of the Internet that are invisible to consumers. As more people stream movies and television, that infrastructure is getting strained, intensifying the debate over who should pay for upgrades.