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imagesNetflix’s 44 million domestic subscribers now stream more than 2 billion hours of content each month. All that data in the pipeline puts a huge burden on internet service providers, and some of them may be starting to buckle.

ISPs are currently allowed to “throttle” heavy users on their networks by slowing down connection speeds. Major players Verizon and Comcast have both been accused recently of doing just that to Netflix customers. Netflix publishes a monthly list of connection speeds of the 17 largest ISPs in the country. Verizon’s DSL service customers have seen their speeds greatly decrease in recent months, and Comcast subscribers are in the same boat.

Neither Verizon nor Comcast have come straight out and admitted to any throttling, but the damning speed figures Netflix is publishing are very suspicious to many consumers.

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings recently made his case for why it’s in ISPs’ best interests to keep Netflix humming through their pipelines as speedily as possible:

“ISPs have a very profitable business and they want to expand that business. Part of delivering and expanding for consumers is having a good Netflix experience, a good YouTube experience, things like that. That’s why people get higher speed broadband. And so I think actually our economic interests are pretty co-aligned which is how it’s worked so far.”

As a Comcast subscriber, I can definitely attest to the slowing of my Netflix connection speed. If you’re a Netflix user on either of these ISPs, have you noticed any decrease in your speed lately?

[via The Motley Fool]

9 Responses to “Are Comcast and Verizon Trying to Throttle Netflix?”

  1. Visitor [Join Now]
    Vernon Dent [visitor]

    @ Shane…

    Check out Comcast’s offer to by Time Warner Cable for $45 billion.

    Assuming that Comcast divests the overlap, and that there is regulatory approval 6 to 12 months from now, this means BAD NEWS for customers–higher monthly rates! :(

  2. Member [Join Now]

    I have DirecTV with Verizon for my DSL and votive provider. I have noticed a lot of buffering on the Netflix movies/shows. It has been getting worse over the past year. My contract is up next month. I will probably go back to Comcast for Internet and cable, but I am torn on taking the triple play and adding their voice. I had Vonage at one point, and I have to tell you, seven years ago it was awesome. It can only be better now. I have to see what the price difference is between Comcast’s VoIP and Vonage using Comcast’s internet. Vonage had that great feature where it emailed you transcribed voice mails. Sure, it was garbled and difficult to figure out what people were saying, but it worked. Votive recognition must have gotten better in the past 7 or so years!

  3. Visitor [Join Now]
    Nathan [visitor]

    I’m an AT&T subscriber and my Netflix speeds rarely reach over 1Mbps. My download speed is 18Mbps and when I switch to amazon or redbox I’m seeing speeds around 14Mbps. It is very frustrating for me, but I believe AT&T is doing the same thing.

  4. Visitor [Join Now]
    Paul [visitor]

    I have called Comcast customer service numerous times about my internet speed reduction. I have notice that when I view Netflix often as I usually do, my internet speed decreases from my normal 24 MBPS to 6 to 8 MBPS. I asked them if my signal is being throttled and they said that Comcast don’t do that, and blamed it to my connections or equipment. But last month and part of this month I didn’t watch Netflix much, and surprisingly my internet speed when up to 23-24 MBPS again. I strongly believe that they are punishing Netflix power users.

  5. Visitor [Join Now]
    Charles [visitor]

    I have ATT Uverse and so far haven’t seen much, if any, of a decrease in speed when watching Netflix. It’s rare when it buffers, and internet speed seems to stay about the same. Question is: how long before ATT starts throttling the speed?

  6. Visitor [Join Now]
    Terry Case [visitor]

    With the advent of so-called “net neutrality”, internet providers will not only have the right to throttle your Netflix stream, they can block it entirely. Get ready to pay an additional fee to access streaming services. or any other site that isn’t one of your provider’s “network partners”. In addition to the existing speed tiers, you will see “premium access” packages, which define how much of the internet you might be able to visit. First, pick your internet speed. Then you’ll get to choose your web tier, with higher fees for wider access. Your “streaming package” might only be an additional $10/month and include Netflix, Amazon, Red Box, etc (in addition to your subscription fee for those site, of course) These will basically be based on bandwidth usage, but common “pirate” sites will be unavailable and porn….well, that’s REALLY gonna cost ya.

  7. Visitor [Join Now]
    marissadad [visitor]

    Comcast is definitely throttling Netflix. I’ve been a customer of both for over 2 years and have noticed a major decline in Netflix PQ over the last few months. My ROKU uses bandwidth adjustment on the fly so the picture doesn’t have to keep buffering and I can see how soft it gets at times. I used to have a rock solid PQ, but now everytime I start a show, it takes about 30 seconds to get out of the fuzzy, soft stage to a viewable picture. No way in Hell I will ever get the Super HD from Netflix as long as I am going through Comcast.

    I also have to call them every 6 months and threaten to leave so they will lower my bill. They want $79/month for internet + basic TV (I have it just for backup, never watch it, but it only adds $10/month). I’m happy with internet speed overall, but don’t like that I have to keep calling for a price reduction.

  8. Visitor [Join Now]
    charles [visitor]

    the problem is not the pipe the problem is you have no choice on your isp,unlike the dial up days when you could use anyone.broadband you have 1 maybe 2 choices,cable or dsl.we have slow internet because we have no competition,the irony of comcast statement,yes they have no duplicate service because tehy cannot by law offer in same place.
    cable is a monopoly where ever it is,who ever it have 1 and only 1 choice .

  9. Visitor [Join Now]
    Pootroot [visitor]

    Different subject…..I am probably the only one who hates this but I really do hate it….the movie starting statement—“In our never ending quest…” I really wish they would stop saying that !!!!!!!!!!!!