Comcast Rises In Netflix Streaming Rankings

As expected, Comcast jumped in Netflix’s monthly ISP Speed Index for March, a rise that follows MSO’s recently forged  interconnection deal with Netflix. 

According to Netflix’s tabulations of large broadband ISPs for March, Comcast jumped six slots, to fifth overall, compared to Netflix's February’s rankings. Netflix said the average Netflix stream delivered by Comcast clocked in at 2.50 Mbps in March, versus 1.68 Mbps in its February rankings.

There was no movement among the top six top U.S. ISPs ranked by Netflix, which include many that are members of Open Connect, Netflix’s private content delivery network. Cablevision Systems (2.98 Mbps) led the way, followed by Cox Communications (2.84 Mbps), Suddenlink Communications (2.67 Mbps) and Charter Communications (2.61 Mbps).

After that, the following ISPs all dropped one slot in March: Time Warner Cable (2.41 Mbps), Bright House Networks (2.14 Mbps), Verizon FiOS (1.91 Mbps), and CenturyLink (1.79 Mbps). Among other movers, Frontier Communications DSL (1.78 Mbps) dropped two spots – to No. 11 – and Clearwire (980 kbps) was last, swapping spots with Verizon DSL (1 Mbps).

Netflix’s expanded version of March rankings, which factor in smaller ISPs, has long-time leader Google Fiber (3.60 Mbps) on top, followed by Choice Cable Puerto Rico and Midcontinent Communications (3.02 Mbps), San Juan Cable and EPB (3 Mbps), Cablevision, and RCN (2.96 Mbps). The final five ISPs (of 60 ranked by Netflix) were: Bluebird Network (1.46 Mbps), AT&T DSL (1.17 Mbps), Hughes (1.06 Mbps), Verizon DSL, and Clearwire.

Netflix has historically used the rankings to shine the light on its Open Connect program, which relies on free Netflix-supplied edge caches.  

In the interconnection deal announced in February, Netflix and Comcast took a different approach, with Netflix agreeing to a paid peering arrangement. As part of its call for “stronger” network neutrality rules, Netflix has since labeled interconnection deals as an “arbitrary tax” on over-the-top video service providers.

Netflix is pushing that argument as regulators vet the proposed Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger, and as FCC chairman Tom Wheeler looks to restore network rules that were mostly vacated in January by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.

Last week, Comcast executive vice president David Cohen was asked whether Comcast would be willing to extend network neutrality regs to peering and interconnection. He said he would not negotiate conditions in the press, but reiterated that arguments that conflated the two were off base.