Netflix’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]