14 October 2011

Netflix Streaming Performance by ISP

Today Netflix posted an update on its "tech" blog on the average streaming performance for its customers using various ISPs.

For the first time, Netflix broke out Verizon's FiOS internet service from its DSL offering and AT&T's U-Verse internet service from its DSL. Here's the takeways, none of which is a surprise to those familiar with consumer internet service:
  1. Verizon and AT&T's fiber-based services are significantly faster than their DSL services.
  2. Verizon FiOS was the top performer with an average speed slightly above 2,500 kB/sec.
  3. Places 2-7 were held by cable ISPs, with Charter leading the way.
  4. AT&T's U-Verse service scored above all the DSL providers, but behind all but one of the cable modem services (that would be Suddenlink)
  5. Clearwire's mobile broadband service had an average speed materially below that of the poorest performing DSL service (Verizon).
It is my understanding that Netflix is looking at this from the basis of the average streaming customer irrespective of the level of internet service which the subscriber gets. At this point most of these providers are offering several levels of broadband service (e.g., Time Warner Cable in NYC has Basic, Standard, Turbo and Wideband with significant price and performance differences between them), so differences between the cable providers might be more reflective of the mix of internet service levels Netflix subscribers are taking than differences in what each ISP is capable of providing.

Netflix first posted a similar report in January 2011 where they described the methodology employed to come up with these figures.

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