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Netflix Releases ISP Streaming Quality Report: DSL/Mobile Offer Poor Results

Phillip Dampier December 13, 2012 Broadband Speed, Competition, Online Video, Wireless Broadband No Comments
Cable to Netflix: You better think about going back to the U.S. Post Office and mailing DVDs. Our customers can't afford to throw away their usage allowance on your streamed movies.

Keeping ISPs honest

Netflix may have the most accurate national broadband speed honesty test around, at least when it comes to streaming video. With 30 million members viewing over one billion hours of Netflix streamed content every month, the company is well-positioned to report the real-world performance of virtually every ISP in the country.

Starting this month, Netflix will publish once-monthly surveys of the best and worst-performing providers.

The results from November are not surprising. Fiber to the home offers America’s fastest and most reliable streamed video experience. Google Fiber, with its 1,000Mbps network, topped Netflix’s list, followed by Verizon’s FiOS fiber service.

Cable providers also performed well. Comcast delivered the best Netflix experience, Suddenlink the worst.

AT&T’s U-verse, which isn’t really a true fiber network but simply an extended form of DSL performed markedly poorer than its cable competitors.

DSL providers also performed poorly, ranging from CenturyLink to Verizon’s now neglected DSL. Frontier Communications made some improvements in its rankings. It used to be dead last.

Watching Netflix on mobile broadband proved to be both expensive (with data caps for most) and slow. Clearwire, which only operates a 4G WiMAX network performed the best. Despite the growing prevalence of HSPA+ and LTE 4G service from many other carriers, more common 3G service dragged performance down considerably. Verizon performed the best of the mixed networks, AT&T performed 40% worse than Verizon, coming in dead last.

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