Showing posts with label net neutrality. Show all posts
Showing posts with label net neutrality. Show all posts

Monday, September 8, 2014

Netflix ISP Speed Index for August

We have added August data to the Netflix ISP Speed Index, our monthly update on which Internet Service Providers (ISPs) provide the best prime time Netflix streaming experience.

In the U.S., interconnection agreements with AT&T, Time Warner Cable and Verizon resulted in significant increases in Internet speeds for all three providers in August. AT&T U-Verse led the way, with its speed jumping more than one Megabit per second (Mbps) to 2.61 from 1.44 over last month and rising seven spots in the U.S. speed index to No. 7. Verizon FiOS speeds increased to 2.41 Mbps from 1.61, and Time Warner Cable rose to 2.59 this month from 2.16 in July. These dramatic increases pushed the U.S. average speed to 2.57 in August, now ranking 11th among the countries we track -- ahead of Brazil and Chile.

In Brazil, Oi Velox emerged from last place, increasing its speed to 1.55 Mbps in August from 1.22 last month.

In Norway, UNINETT dropped to last place as Eidsiva and Broadnet both increased their speeds to 2.98 Mbps and 2.95 Mbps respectively.

The Netflix ISP Speed Index is based on data from the more than 50 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 during prime time 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.


Anne Marie


Anne Marie Squeo is a member of the Netflix communications team.








Thursday, September 4, 2014

Netflix Supports FCC Chairman's Call for Increased Broadband Competition

Nearly everything we do today requires an Internet connection. Its persistent, increasing presence in our lives makes today's comments by FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler all the more important.  If the future of broadband competition is 'inexorably tied' to America's economic opportunity, how can we settle for a situation where nearly three-quarters of Americans lack a competitive choice for fast Internet service? 

Given today's broad array of Internet uses, 25 Mbps is 'table stakes' for consumers. These fast connections enable consumers to enjoy movies, games, online classes and more. Open Internet connections enable innovators to build the next-generation of Internet companies with the assurance their content or application can reach consumers without interference. Efficient businesses such as these make the U.S. more competitive with other countries that enjoy faster Internet speeds at lower costs. 

As is the case in most industries, improvements such as faster speeds or lower prices generally result from real competition. Without it, there are no market pressures to set appropriate pricing and no alternatives for consumers and businesses alike. As Chairman Wheeler rightly points out, “last-mile power cannot be a lever for gaining an unfair advantage.” 

In his speech and Agenda for Broadband Competition, the Chairman forcefully stated a hard truth - there simply is not enough competition to protect consumers and businesses who rely on the Internet. It takes real leadership for our country to chart a positive agenda for bigger, faster, cheaper broadband and all the innovation it brings. 

-Christopher 

Christopher Libertelli is Netflix's vice president of global public policy

Monday, August 11, 2014

Netflix ISP Speed Index for July


We have added July data to the Netflix ISP Speed Index, our monthly update on which Internet Service Providers (ISPs) provide the best prime time Netflix streaming experience.
Among the countries tracked in the Netflix ISP Speed Index, the U.S. continues to lag behind many in Europe and the Americas. Of the 20 countries we assess, the U.S. ranked 13th with average speed of 2.23 Mbps. The Netherlands leads in performance, averaging 3.61 Mbps in July, with Norway, Denmark and Sweden all posting speeds better than 3 Mbps. On the other end of the scale, Costa Rica averaged speeds of 1.48 Mbps last month, though it has steadily improved its performance since we began tracking this year.   
This month we also are rolling out technology icons for 12 other countries including Canada and Mexico in our continuing effort to make it easier to compare Netflix performance on different types of networks.

The Netflix ISP Speed Index is based on data from the more than 50 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 during prime time 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.

Anne Marie

Anne Marie Squeo is a member of the Netflix communications team.






Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Netflix Submits FCC Comments on Proposed Net Neutrality Rules

We submitted our comments to the Federal Communications Commission in the Net Neutrality proceeding (which the FCC calls “In the matter of protecting and promoting an open Internet.”) We believe the way the FCC handles this issue will have a huge impact on the Internet innovation that has increased consumer choice in so many ways.   


Here are a few highlights from our filing:

  • Netflix believes that achieving strong net neutrality is critical to maintaining a vibrant, open Internet to promote free expression, diversity of content, and continued innovation. ISPs should not impede, favor, or charge Internet services that consumers choose to use.  To prevent this, the Commission should adopt clear enforceable anti-discrimination and no-blocking rules for the last mile.  The Commission also must require ISPs to provide sufficient interconnection to cover the capacity demanded and paid for by their customers, without charging access tolls to online content providers. (Comments Page 25)


  • The Commission’s proposal does little to protect the open Internet.  In fact, by endorsing the concept of paid prioritization, as well as ambiguous enforcement standards and processes, the Commission’s proposed rules arguably turn the objective of Internet openness on its head—allowing the Internet to look more like a closed platform, such as a cable television service, rather than an open and innovative platform driven by the virtuous circle. (Comments Page 4)


  • Allowing ISPs to monetize congestion will likely create more congestion, threatening the current model that has made the Internet so successful, and likely raising barriers for innovative services.  (Comments Page 6)


  • Title II provides a solid basis to adopt prohibitions on blocking and unreasonable discrimination by ISPs. …The D.C. Circuit in Verizon pointed to the Commission’s failure to reclassify broadband Internet access as a telecommunications service under Title II as the chief impediment to a solid jurisdictional basis for meaningful open Internet rules. (Comments Page 21)


Anne Marie


Anne Marie Squeo is a member of the Netflix communications team.


Monday, July 14, 2014

Netflix ISP Speed Index for June

We have added June data to the Netflix ISP Speed Index, our monthly update on which Internet Service Providers (ISPs) provide the best prime time Netflix streaming experience.

With this month’s update, we also have included icons in the U.S. graph to increase transparency about the type of technology used by an ISP. This should make it easier to compare Netflix performance on different types of networks.

Here are some data points from this month's update:

  • US: Among the major ISPs, Cablevision, Cox and Suddenlink continue to lead the index and show steady improvements over the last three months. Meanwhile Verizon FiOS continued its decline, dropping another two spots to No. 12. Both Verizon FiOS and AT&T U-Verse rank behind DSL offerings from Frontier, Windstream and Centurylink.

  • Canada: After breaking out DSL and fiber from MTS and Sasktel, fiber networks of both providers ranked high in performance, with MTS Fiber taking the third spot and Sasktel Fiber coming in fifth.

  • Latin America: Telecentro retained the top spot in Argentina, increasing its performance by almost 1 full Mbps, rising to 3.26 Mbps from 2.35 Mbps.

  • Europe: While there was no significant change at the top of the rankings, Virgin Media in the UK did expand its lead over BT as the No. 1 ranked provider.

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 during primetime 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.

Anne Marie

Anne Marie Squeo is a member of the Netflix communications team.






Monday, June 9, 2014

Netflix ISP Speed Index for May

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:


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


Joris Evers is part of the communications team at Netflix






Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Case Against ISP Tolls

As the person at Netflix responsible for content delivery, I spend a lot of time thinking about Netflix’s Open Connect CDN and its interconnection with ISPs. We are proud of the performance we’ve achieved through our hundreds of Open Connect partners around the globe.

In fact, Netflix has a mutually beneficial relationship with nearly every ISP in every market where we provide service. But this is less the case for the largest ISP in the U.S., Comcast, which is trying to become even larger by acquiring Time Warner Cable.

Netflix agreed to pay Comcast for direct interconnection to reverse an unacceptable decline in our members’ video experience on the Comcast network. These members were experiencing poor streaming quality because Comcast allowed its links to Internet transit providers like Level3, XO, Cogent and Tata to clog up, slowing delivery of movies and TV shows to Netflix users.

For a content company such as Netflix, paying an ISP like Comcast for interconnection is not the same as paying for Internet transit. Transit networks like Level3, XO, Cogent and Tata perform two important services: (1) they carry traffic over long distances and (2) they provide access to every network on the global Internet. When Netflix connects directly to the Comcast network, Comcast is not providing either of the services typically provided by transit networks.


Comcast does not carry Netflix traffic over long distances. Netflix is itself shouldering the costs and performing the transport function for which it used to pay transit providers. Netflix connects to Comcast in locations all over the U.S., and has offered to connect in as many locations as Comcast desires. So Netflix is moving Netflix content long distances, not Comcast.

Nor does Comcast connect Netflix to other networks. In fact, Netflix can’t reach other networks via Comcast’s network.

For all these reasons, Netflix directly interconnects with many ISPs here in the U.S. and internationally without any exchange of fees.

In sum, Comcast is not charging Netflix for transit service. It is charging Netflix for access to its subscribers. Comcast also charges its subscribers for access to Internet content providers like Netflix. In this way, Comcast is double dipping by getting both its subscribers and Internet content providers to pay for access to each other.

It is true that there is competition among the transit providers and CDNs that transport and localize data across networks. But even the most competitive transit market cannot ensure sufficient access to the Comcast network. That’s because, to reach consumers, CDNs and transit providers must ultimately hand the traffic over to a terminating ISP like Comcast, which faces no competition. Put simply, there is one and only one way to reach Comcast’s subscribers at the last mile: Comcast.

There cannot be an “intensely competitive” market when Comcast alone sets the terms and conditions for access to Comcast subscribers. Comcast can simply refuse to provide capacity to any network at any time, constraining the ability for Comcast users to use the services they want. Comcast’s ability to constrain access to Netflix can be clearly seen in the following chart, which shows how Netflix performance deteriorated on the Comcast network and then immediately recovered after Netflix started paying Comcast in February.


We do a great deal of work at Netflix to provide our users with great video quality whenever they chose to use our service. Comcast already controls access and sets the terms of access to a substantial portion of people who connect to the Internet in the United States. We're very concerned that a combined Comcast-TWC will place toll taking above consumer interests and will use their combined market power to the detriment of a vibrant and efficient Internet. That’s why Netflix opposes the merger.

Ken

Ken Florance is vice president of content delivery at Netflix

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Internet Tolls And The Case For Strong Net Neutrality

The Internet is improving lives everywhere – democratizing access to ideas, services and goods. To ensure the Internet remains humanity's most important platform for progress, net neutrality must be defended and strengthened.

The essence of net neutrality is that ISPs such as AT&T and Comcast don't restrict, influence or otherwise meddle with the choices consumers make. The traditional form of net neutrality which was recently overturned by a Verizon lawsuit is important, but insufficient.

This weak net neutrality isn't enough to protect an open, competitive Internet; a stronger form of net neutrality is required. Strong net neutrality additionally prevents ISPs from charging a toll for interconnection to services like Netflix, YouTube, or Skype, or intermediaries such as Cogent, Akamai or Level 3, to deliver the services and data requested by ISP residential subscribers. Instead, they must provide sufficient access to their network without charge.



Some major ISPs, like Cablevision, already practice strong net neutrality and for their broadband subscribers, the quality of Netflix and other streaming services is outstanding. But on other big ISPs, due to a lack of sufficient interconnectivity, Netflix performance has been constrained, subjecting consumers who pay a lot of money for high-speed Internet to high buffering rates, long wait times and poor video quality. A recent Wall Street Journal article chronicled this degradation using our public data.

Once Netflix agrees to pay the ISP interconnection fees, however, sufficient capacity is made available and high quality service for consumers is restored. If this kind of leverage is effective against Netflix, which is pretty large, imagine the plight of smaller services today and in the future. Roughly the same arbitrary tax is demanded from the intermediaries such as Cogent and Level 3, who supply millions of websites with connectivity, leading to a poor consumer experience.

Without strong net neutrality, big ISPs can demand potentially escalating fees for the interconnection required to deliver high quality service. The big ISPs can make these demands -- driving up costs and prices for everyone else -- because of their market position. For any given U.S. household, there is often only one or two choices for getting high-speed Internet* access and that’s unlikely to change. Furthermore, Internet access is often bundled with other services making it challenging to switch ISPs. It is this lack of consumer choice that leads to the need for strong net neutrality.

Netflix believes strong net neutrality is critical, but in the near term we will in cases pay the toll to the powerful ISPs to protect our consumer experience. When we do so, we don’t pay for priority access against competitors, just for interconnection. A few weeks ago, we agreed to pay Comcast and our members are now getting a good experience again. Comcast has been an industry leader in supporting weak net neutrality, and we hope they’ll support strong net neutrality as well.

ISPs sometimes point to data showing that Netflix members account for about 30% of peak residential Internet traffic, so the ISPs want us to share in their costs. But they don't also offer for Netflix or similar services to share in the ISPs revenue, so cost-sharing makes no sense. When an ISP sells a consumer a 10 or 50 megabits-per-second Internet package, the consumer should get that rate, no matter where the data is coming from.

Some ISPs say that Netflix is unilaterally "dumping as much volume" (Verizon CFO) as it wants onto their networks. Netflix isn't "dumping" data; it's satisfying requests made by ISP customers who pay a lot of money for high speed Internet. Netflix doesn't send data unless members request a movie or TV show.

Interestingly, there is one special case where no-fee interconnection is embraced by the big ISPs -- when they are connecting among themselves. They argue this is because roughly the same amount of data comes and goes between their networks. But when we ask them if we too would qualify for no-fee interconnect if we changed our service to upload as much data as we download** -- thus filling their upstream networks and nearly doubling our total traffic -- there is an uncomfortable silence. That's because the ISP argument isn't sensible. Big ISPs aren't paying money to services like online backup that generate more upstream than downstream traffic. Data direction, in other words, has nothing to do with costs.

ISPs around the world are investing in high-speed Internet and most already practice strong net neutrality. With strong net neutrality, new services requiring high-speed Internet can emerge and become popular, spurring even more demand for the lucrative high-speed packages ISPs offer. With strong net neutrality, everyone avoids the kind of brinkmanship over blackouts that plague the cable industry and harms consumers. As the Wall Street Journal chart shows, we're already getting to the brownout stage. Consumers deserve better.

Some big ISPs are extracting a toll because they can -- they effectively control access to millions of consumers and are willing to sacrifice the interests of their own customers to press Netflix and others to pay. Though they have the scale and power to do this, they should realize it is in their long term interest to back strong net neutrality. While in the short term Netflix will in cases reluctantly pay large ISPs to ensure a high quality member experience, we will continue to fight for the Internet the world needs and deserves.

Reed

*Defined as 10 Mbits/sec -- sufficient for a good Skype video, an MLB.tv live game or high quality Netflix streaming. DSL and mobile do not generally offer these speeds.
**in other words, moving to peer-to-peer content delivery