We have just added May data to the Netflix ISP Speed Index, our monthly update on which Internet Service Providers (ISPs) provide the best prime time Netflix streaming experience.
The Netflix ISP Speed Index aims to provide transparency and help consumers understand the Internet access they’re actually getting from their ISP. The average Netflix stream is about 2 Mbps (with most streams ranging from 256Kbps to 5.8Mbps), a fraction of the bandwidth most consumers purchase from their broadband provider. Still, in some cases, people are unable to enjoy a high quality Netflix experience.
As part of this transparency campaign, we started a small scale test in early May that lets consumers know, while they’re watching Netflix, that their experience is degraded due to a lack of capacity into their broadband provider’s network. We are testing this across the U.S. wherever there is significant and persistent network congestion This test is scheduled to end on June 16. We will evaluate rolling it out more broadly.
Some broadband providers argue that our actions, and not theirs, are causing a degraded Netflix experience. Netflix does not purposely select congested routes. 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.
Here are some data points from the May update of the Netflix ISP Speed Index:
- US: Charter has entered the top three ISPs while Verizon and Comcast 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.
- Canada: No change to the top three, but TekSavvy, Allstream and Rogers all climbed two spots in the rankings with Rogers showing the biggest average speed improvement.
- Latin America: Live TIM has unseated GVT as leader in Brazil while in Costa Rica Cable Tica has taken second place from Japi, which saw its average speeds decline.
- Europe: Get has taken over the top slot from Altibox in Norway, while UPC has 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 Netflix ISP Speed Index is based on data from the more than 48 million Netflix members worldwide who view over 1 billion hours of TV shows and movies streaming from Netflix each month. The listed speeds reflect the average performance of all Netflix streams on each ISP's network and are an indicator of the performance typically experienced across all users on an ISP network. A faster network generally means a better picture quality, quicker start times and fewer interruptions.
Note: the average performance is below the peak performance due to many factors including the variety of encodes Netflix uses to deliver the TV shows and movies as well as the variety of devices members use and home network conditions. These factors cancel out when comparing across ISPs.
The latest regional rankings are below.
Joris Evers is part of the communications team at Netflix