Netflix Won’t Point Fingers for Slower Connection Speeds

A federal judge's ruling in January that allows Internet service providers to set limits on bandwidth is still an issue, but a recent drop in Netflix's connection speeds may not be intentional. A monthly report by Netflix that shows the average connection speeds from different service providers shows that speeds for Comcast and Verizon FiOS slowed from December to January.

Netflix has yet to show major concern regarding the Net neutrality ruling last month, and it said it does not believe the slowing connection speeds are being caused by ISPs setting limits. Netflix CEO Reed Hastings and CFO David Wells both said connection throttling was unlikely to occur because of the backlash that Internet providers would have to face. Netflix is a major bandwidth hog, responsible for as much as a third of all downstream Internet traffic during peak viewing times.

Decreasing Speeds

The monthly Netflix USA ISP graph for January shows that at the same time major ISPs were experiencing a decrease in average connection speeds, Google Fiber was continuing to soar. Only a handful of mainstream ISPs, including Cox and Cablevision, saw an increase in speed last month. Other providers, including Charter, Comcast and Verizon, all dropped from December to January.

On average, the speeds reported by Netflix are less than what an ISP is actually providing, but the decreases and increases are relatively proportional and do represent trends in connection speeds. "The average is well below the peak performance due to many factors, including the variety of encodes we use to deliver the TV shows and movies," says Netflix's report.

During the last month, Verizon FiOS experienced the largest speed decrease since November 2012, when Netflix began to collect speed information. In December, Netflix reported a 2.1 Mbps average for Verizon, compared with 1.82 Mbps in January. When Netflix's numbers...

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