AT&T U-verse Drops A Spot In Netflix Speed Rankings

Netflix posted its ISP Speed Index for July on Monday, and there was not much shuffling among the top 16 U.S. providers that the streaming giant measures.

In fact, there was just one change in that grouping  – AT&T U-verse dropped one spot, to number 14, delivering an average Netflix streaming speed of 1.44 Mbps. That allowed Clearwire (1.48 Mbps), the only U.S. wireless provider measured in that group, to rise one spot, to number 13.

The final rankings of Verizon FiOS (No. 12/1.61 Mbps) and Verizon DSL (No. 16/970 kbps) were unchanged from the Netflix index for June 2014.

The average Netflix streaming speeds delivered by Verizon and AT&T are expected to improve in the coming months as they execute paid interconnection agreements with Netflix. Verizon and Netflix announced theirs in April; AT&T and Netflix reached a deal in May, and announced in late July that the process was expected to be wrapped up “in the coming days.”  Comcast and Netflix went public with their interconnection deal in February.

Netflix has made it clear that it signed those interconnection deals reluctantly, preferring that ISPs join Open Connect, its private content delivery network that relies on edge caching appliances. Netflix wants the FCC to consider interconnection deals as it pursues new network neutrality rules.

Among major U.S. ISPs ranked by Netflix, Cablevision retained the top spot, delivering an average speed of 3.10 Mbps, followed by Cox Communications, (3 Mbps), Suddenlink Communications (2.89 Mbps), Charter Communications (2.85 Mbps), Comcast 2.82 Mbps) Time Warner Cable (2.16 Mbps), Bright House Communications (2.03 Mbps) and Mediacom Communications (2 Mbps).  

Of that group, Cablevision, Cox and Suddenlink are members of Open Connect. And high rankings on Netflix’s monthly Speed Index aren’t all that’s apparently at stake.

Mediacom, which is using a “transparent” caching system from Qwilt to keep OTT video traffic from Netflix and sources in check, said its decision not to join Open Connect is preventing the MSO from offering Netflix on leased TiVo boxes.

 “They appear to be using [integration on leased TiVo boxes] as a bargaining chip in their Open Connect negotiations,” a Mediacom spokesman told Multichannel News (subscription required). Mediacom, he said, is eager to add Netflix to its TiVo, something that’s already being done now by several other Open Connect members, including Suddenlink, RCN, Cable One, Midcontinent Communications, Atlantic Broadband, Grande Communications and Virgin Media.

A Netflix official wouldn’t confirm whether Mediacom’s reluctance to join Open Connect is holding things up because “we don’t discuss negotiations with individual partners.” But Open Connect “ensures an Internet service provider is able to deliver the best viewing experience,” the official added. “We provide Open Connect at no cost to ISPs, providing a clear benefit for them and our mutual customers.”

In Netflix’s extended rankings of U.S. ISPs, Google Fiber (3.59 Mbps) was again tops, followed by San Juan Cable (3.28 Mbps), Grande Communications (3.27 Mbps), CDE Lightband and RCN (both 3.19 Mbps), Midcontinent Communications (3.17 Mbps), and Cablevision.

AT&T DSL (1.11 Mbps) and the aforementioned Verizon DSL were at the bottom – No. 59 and 60, respectively.

 Among individual countries, the U.S. ranked 13th for the month of July, with an average speed of 2.23 Mbps. The Netherlands topped all countries measured by Netflix with an average of 3.61 Mbps.

Netflix said it bases its index on data from more than 50 million subs worldwide, with listed speeds reflecting the average performance during prime time.