Netflix has been releasing monthly ISP speed reports that show the performance of Netflix content on different internet providers worldwide.
The Netflix ISP Speed Index is based on data from the more than 36 million Netflix members who view over 1 billion hours of TV shows and movies streaming from Netflix per month. [via Netflix blog]
There are a couple of interesting parts of this report, starting with Google Fiber, which clearly sets the benchmark for high speed. Of course not all users can access Google Fiber, which leads to the question will it perform equally well in large metropolitan areas with a high density of users once rolled out.
In international comparison with UK, Ireland, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Norway and Mexico, the USA leads the pack with Google Fiber. If you take out Google Fiber, it’s on 6th place, with only Ireland and Mexico performing worse.
The historical graph is interesting as well. After Google Fiber, Verizon was the fastest ISP in November 2012. A couple of months later, it fell from 2nd to 6th place.
This leads to the question if different ISPs provide special peering capabilities just for Netflix’s traffic, that could influence this index.
And they indeed do – there is a recent peering dispute between Verizon and Cogent that impacts the Netflix streaming performance.
If you look at the more neutral Ookla index (speedtest.net), the performance of Verizon vs. Cablevision for NJ, NY or CT looks very different, and Verizon is at a top spot in front of all other providers.
Clearly peering is a very important part of the index, and not the overall internet performance of an ISP.
But is Google Fiber really fast, or is this also peering related? Based on the Ookla Index, it’s indeed fast – blazing fast.
Sometimes it’s good to cross check data. The Netflix report is clearly a “who works best with our content” report, and not a benchmark for overall ISP performance.