Time Warner Cable has griped that Netflix is seeking special access to Internet service provider networks in exchange for access to premium "Super HD" and 3D content.
Meanwhile, Cablevision, Clearwire and Google Fiber are among U.S. ISPs on board with the CDN program, which Netflix says is totally free and designed to deliver the best possible streaming experience to users and cut bandwidth costs (see TWC: Netflix Is Withholding Content to Gain 'Unprecedented' Access to ISPs, Cablevision Cuts CDN Deal With Netflix and In Netflix's Version of Net Neutrality, It's Entitled to Non-Neutral Treatment).
What about other ISPs? Verizon Communications, for one, is evaluating the Netflix CDN program, according to spokesman Bill Kula. But, he added, the telco's FiOS Internet service is more than capable of delivering the streaming service to customers today.
"We do not use Netflix CDN for FiOS or DSL. We are their top provider in terms of quality at their customer level (other than Google Fiber) thanks to our robust FiOS network," Kula said in an email.
According to Netflix, for December 2012, Google Fiber provided the highest average bandwidth (2.57 Mbps) to subscribers, with Charter, Comcast, Verizon FiOS and Cablevision close behind (at 2.11, 2.10, 2.10 and 2.09 Mbps, respectively). It's worth noting that Verizon's DSL turned in the lowest average (1.35 Mbps) of the 16 wireline ISPs measured by Netflix. In November, Netflix said it will publish ISP rankings on a monthly basis -- which seems to be another tool it's using to try to persuade providers to co-locate its CDN caches.
Among other big broadband providers, Charter Communications and CenturyLink said they are currently evaluating the Netflix CDN program. Comcast has not responded to a request for comment, while AT&T, Bright House Networks, Cox Communications and Suddenlink Communications declined to comment.
As for what's available in "Super HD" from Netflix, a company spokesman said, "Most recent titles that we have in HD we encoded again in Super HD." I've asked for examples of specific titles and will update if I hear back.
What do you think about Netflix's Open Connect CDN strategy -- is it nothing but goodness, or is it Netflix trying to unfairly get special treatment? Add your comments below.
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