Light Reading

Netflix Hearts Google Fiber

Jeff Baumgartner
The Bauminator
Jeff Baumgartner

3:45 PM -- If you're one of the few people in the world getting broadband from Google Fiber, you apparently are also getting access to Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX) streams that are packing the most bits.

Netflix VP of Content Delivery Ken Florance blogged that, starting today, the streaming giant will publish monthly rankings of "major" ISPs based on their actual performance. Netflix did this sort of thing a while ago, so it has decided to renew its monthly ISP Hall Of Fame/Shame. (See Netflix Shames ISPs.)

And apparently Google Fiber, which is currently available to a small pocket of consumers and businesses in Kansas City, Kan., now qualifies as a "major" ISP. The Google name carries a lot of cred. (See Google Fiber Starts to Hook Up Customers and KC Gets Google Fiber for Real in October.)

The Netflix rankings do include mobile broadband (more on this later), but Netflix appears to be blind to or is just ignoring satellite broadband services, such as Exede from ViaSat Inc. (Nasdaq: VSAT). (See DirecTV's 12-Meg Bundle Comes With Caps.)

Not that Exede would have changed anything up top, but Google Fiber was No. 1 in November, clocking in an average speed of 2.55Mbit/s for Netflix streams, followed by Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) FiOS (2.19Mbit/s), Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) and Charter Communications Inc. (both at 2.17Mbit/s), and Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC) (2.15Mbit/s).

ISPs with DSL trailed all ranked fiber and cable ISPs, with AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) U-verse considered the best of the DSL lot, ranked 11th with a 1.94Mbit/s average. Among wireline providers, AT&T's and Verizon's plain-vanilla DSL were the worst among the ranked wireline providers.

Netflix also shined the light on mobile broadband. Clearwire LLC (Nasdaq: CLWR) was tops (1.18Mbit/s), followed by Verizon (760Kbit/s). AT&T, with 480Kbit/s, was at the bottom of the heap. We'll have to see how those numbers evolve and rise as mobile carriers expand their Long Term Evolution (LTE) networks and more customers get hooked in.

While the lack of satellite broadband appears to be an oversight, I likewise wonder when Netflix will start to rank the Wi-Fi networks operated and managed by the cable operators and telcos. (See TW Cable Smartens Up Its Wi-Fi.)

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

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Jeff Baumgartner
Jeff Baumgartner,
User Rank: Light Beer
1/10/2013 | 4:00:13 AM
re: Netflix Hearts Google Fiber

There's about a 1Mbit/s gap between the highest and lowest ranked wireline ISPs.  GigaOM has some additional insight on where the bit-rate ceiling is for Netflix these days: 4.8Mbit/s for 1080p video streams, and 2.2Mbit/s for non-HD. JB



Jeff Baumgartner
Jeff Baumgartner,
User Rank: Light Beer
1/10/2013 | 4:00:13 AM
re: Netflix Hearts Google Fiber

I'd wonder if a service like Exede was left off because of the strict caps, but mobile must also deal with strict caps and overage fees, making them less than ideal for a lot of video streaming as well. JB

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