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Summary:

Netflix may have only signed the peering agreement with Comcast because it had to, but the results clearly show a better performance for Comcast subscribers.

The peering deal between Netflix and Comcast seems to be paying off for consumers: The average speed of Netflix streams consumed by Comcast subscribers has increased by 65 percent over the last two months, according to Netflix’s most recent ISP Speed Index. In January, Comcast customers accessed Netflix with an average bit rate of 1.51 Mbps. By March, that rate was up to 2.5 Mbps.

The average performance of Netflix streams consumed by Comcast subscribers. Data: Netflix.

The average performance of Netflix streams consumed by Comcast subscribers. Data: Netflix.

This increase led to Comcast climbing the charts in Netflix’s monthly speed index, where the company is now fifth among the country’s big ISPs. Comcast still comes in behind Charter, Suddenlink, Cablevision and Cox, but is faster than Time Warner Cable, Verizon or AT&T.

USA ISP Speed Index Results- Netflix march 2014

Netflix entered a paid peering agreement with Comcast in February after previously resisting demands by internet providers to pay for peering. The agreement guarantees Netflix enough peering capacity to prevent slow-downs when its traffic enters Comcast’s network, but it also sets a precedent for content providers paying ISPs for their traffic.

Netflix subsequently called on the FCC to make peering a net neutrality issue and prevent ISPs from charging these kinds of peering fees, but the commission declined to take up the issue. 

Correction: A previous version of this story said that the average speed for Comcast customers in January was 1.15 Mbps, when in fact it was 1.51 Mbps. We updated the story at 1:08 pm with the correct number.

  1. This double-charging by Comcast will hurt the consumer. The added cost will ultimately be borne by us.

    If the major content providers would work together, they could take control of the situation because they have the content that consumers want.

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    1. I’d like to know how much money Netflix is saving by buying transit from Comcast instead of Cogent, Tata, L3, et al. Dan Rayburn believes it’s considerable, but the terms of the deal are not public.

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    2. Yeah man, a content cartel would be awesome. /sarcasm.

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