Peering deals fail to boost Netflix streaming quality
Joseph O'Halloran
| 10 June 2014
Despite making significant investment with the ISPs to boost quality of service, Netflix customers using Verizon and Comcast networks actually saw a dip in quality of service in May 2014.

According to the over-the-top (OTT) leader's May 2014 Speed Index, which measures which Internet Service Providers (ISPs) provide the best prime time streaming experience, the average Netflix stream is about 2Mbps, with most streams ranging from 256Kbps to 5.8Mbps. This, notes the provider, is but a fraction of the bandwidth most consumers purchase from their broadband provider and in some cases, people are unable to enjoy a high quality Netflix experience.

Among the highlights of the global rankings in the US, Charter entered the top three ISPs while Verizon and Comcast with whom Netflix, somewhat grudgingly, pays to ensure quality both slipped in the major ISP rankings. Verizon FiOS is down two slots and now ranks behind DSL providers Frontier and Windstream. Comcast dipped two spots as well, while Verizon DSL is down one to 20th. In Europe, GET took the OTT slot from Altibox in Norway, while UPC unseated Magnet as the top ranked ISP in Ireland. In the UK Virgin Media took back the No 1 slot from BT after ceding the lead in February.

The findings come just after Netflix angered Verizon with its recent policy of alerting consumers with on-screen messages warning customers of broadband congestion when a streaming video is subjected to delays and extra buffering.

Commenting on the Speed Index survey, and the effect it was causing, Netflix's Joris Evers said: "We pay some of the world's largest transit networks to deliver Netflix video right to the front door of an ISP. Where the problem occurs is at that door the interconnection point when the broadband provider hasn't provided enough capacity to accommodate the traffic their customer requested. Some large US ISPs are erecting toll booths, providing sufficient capacity for services requested by their subscribers to flow through only when those services pay the toll. In this way, ISPs are double-dipping by getting both their subscribers and Internet content providers to pay for access to each other. We believe these ISP tolls are wrong because they raise costs, stifle innovation and harm consumers. ISPs should provide sufficient capacity into their network to provide consumers the broadband experience for which they pay."