Netflix Seem Slower? You're Not Imagining Things
Site's bandwidth usage spurs disagreements with providers
By Matt Cantor, Newser User
Posted Feb 19, 2014 10:28 AM CST
In this Friday, Jan. 17, 2014 photo, a person displays Netflix on a tablet in North Andover, Mass.   (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

(Newser) – If your Netflix account seems to be running slower than usual these days, that's because it very likely is slower. Traffic conflicts between the service and major broadband providers—especially Verizon FiOS—are resulting in a slowdown, Wall Street Journal reports. Netflix says its average primetime speeds for Verizon customers sank 14% in January, though performance has been getting progressively slower via many broadband providers since November, around the time when Netflix made super-HD video available to all users, possibly ramping up the traffic load. Fees are at the heart of the issue: Netflix is pushing top providers to link to its new "Open Connect" distribution system, but Verizon, Comcast, Time Warner, and AT&T want payment before they'll do it.

Central to the problem is Netflix's heavy bandwidth usage; at times, it's responsible for a third of peak online traffic in North America, analysts say. According to Verizon's rules, networks should pay if they're putting out more data than they're carrying. As it stands, Netflix uses middlemen like Cogent Communications to carry traffic, and those carriers dish out far more than they take back. Both Netflix and Verizon could take steps to help fix the problem, which will likely play a role in federal regulators' decision on the Comcast-Time Warner merger, the Journal notes. Meanwhile, recent rankings, via Ars Technica, show Time Warner and Verizon in sixth and seventh place, respectively, when it comes to Netflix speed. Google Fiber tops the list.

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Showing 3 of 12 comments
Feb 20, 2014 9:58 AM CST
If this net neutrality thing continues, the Verizons/AT&Ts/TimeWarners of the world will see a huge spike in competition/upstart companies offering unmetered Internet with full-speed Netflix... or even the possibility of Internet provided by Netflix itself. If there is demand, someone will step in and do the right thing... and become rich doing it.
Feb 19, 2014 12:42 PM CST
An easy fix, download movies and watch them on your computer for free.
Feb 19, 2014 12:19 PM CST
I need a reason to live while others are fussing over nonsense like taxes, abortion, marriage rights, equality, justice, human trafficking, warfare, atrocities, inflation, crime, disease and on and on. Cut the crap and speed up the dam Netflix. What is wrong with priorities! Oh, and send some spam trivia to everyone in your address book: do NOT use blind copy!