Throughout most of 2013, Netflix subscribers on Comcast were experiencing streaming speeds as fast as 2.13 Mbps. Up until December, Comcast ranked in Netflix’s Top 10 list of cable providers that streamed the service fastest.
But in December 2013, Netflix’s streams on Comcast came crashing to a halt. The company ranked a lowly 13th, delivering an average speed of just 1.63 Mbps, and in January 2014, this fell to just 1.51 Mbps. This deterioration in Comcast’s service is believed to have been what prompted Netflix to strike a deal with the cable provider, wherein it’s agreed to pay for a direct connection to its network, cutting put the middleman.
The deal, which was announced in February, is already proving beneficial for Netflix’s customers. According to Netflix’s USA ISP Speed Index Archives, Comcast’s average speed for February has seen a marked improvement, reaching 1.68 Mbps. Though the deal wasn’t in effect for the whole of month, the brief period it was has already made a big difference. It’s expected that Comcast’s speed will show an even more significant improvement this month.
“In the US there were no big shifts in the major ISP rankings in February. We do expect to see Comcast’s performance improve in the rankings next month when we release March data as a result of the recent agreement between Netflix and Comcast,” Netflix posted on its blog.
As for the service provider that delivers the highest speed, Google Fiber remains at the top with the highest average of 3.74Mbps for February, but for ISPs, Cablevision – Optimum delivers the fastest average speed, at 2.97 Mbps.
“The Netflix ISP Speed Index is based on data from the more than 44 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,” Netflix noted.
The company added that average performance across all cable companies and ISPs is worse than previously, due to factors such as the variety of encodes Netflix uses to deliver content, the various devices people use, and the quality of network infrastructure. These factors cancel out when comparing across ISPs.
Other service providers that have seen deteriorating include Verizon and AT&T, which are both seeking the same deal Netflix has with Comcast. If this trend expands to more ISPs, Netflix subscribers could soon be faced with a skyrocketing subscription fee.