Netflix’s Favorite ISPs

Yesterday, Netflix released bandwidth data measuring how well leading ISPs do at transmitting its HD videos to subscribers. All the usual suspects were listed, but it’s interesting, although not altogether surprising, that cable companies grabbed the top spots over the traditional carriers.

The number one slot is owned by Charter communications, the 4th largerst cable operator in the US, which has achieved download speeds of over 262.6 Mbps. Comcast, Cox, and Time Warner can be found battling it out for the next three positions —though Comcast has an edge.

I can’t be much more accurate in my ratings since Netflix has presented the data as a timeline graph using jarringly psychedelic colors that are giving me a migraine.

What makes this data a pretty good test of an ISP’s network is that Netflix has positioned its video content within special content distribution networks or CDNs, which are essentially video caches that resides closer, network-wise, to the actual video subscribers.

So the collected data points factor out the backbone traversals that are normally made by vanilla bit traffic.

Comcast, which is in a dispute with Netflix’s main CDN provider, Level 3, did quite well. It will be hard to point a finger at them as a network discriminator.

For the record, AT&T and Verizon are somewhere in the middle of the pack.  And wireless ISP Clearwire is in undisputed last place.

Source: Netflix

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  1. rb

    26 Mbps or 2.6 Mbps (2600 kbps)?

    It’s a bit unfair comparison because many T & VZ customers have low speed DSL services. If they had separated Verizon’s FIOS service, it would easily beat Charter.

  2. Editor-one

    You’re right. That should be 2.6 Mbps. While writing this post, I was testing download speeds from my ISP, Comcast, which did register speeds over 20 Mbps for a brief spurt. My wires got crossed

    Yes, an unfair test on Netflix’s part. AT&T’s U-verse now claims 3 million subscribers, and Verizon Fios less than that and both these high speed services lag in customers compared to Comcast with over 25 million.

    BUT no service yet can sustain Netflix HD sustained bit rates of 4.8 Mbps. And all have a long way to go achieve the National Broadband Plan of 100 Mbps.

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