Netflix comes to France with enough capacity to supply a small ISP


This weekend, the engineer in charge of making sure Netflix’s bits get to the end customer posted a picture of the streaming video provider’s French content delivery servers in advance of Netflix’s expected fall launch date for Europe. David Temkin, who is Netflix’s director of network architecture & strategy, and is in charge of its peering and Open Connect platform, also added an eye-popping stat: Netflix was coming to France with 1 Tbps of bandwidth, which is more capacity than some of the nation’s ISPs have.

Netflix has built the capacity to provide 1 Tbps of bandwidth in the Telehouse-owned Voltaire data center, where it can interconnect with several of France’s leading ISPs. The capacity it has is equivalent to the capacity needed by a medium-sized ISP that serves about 5 million end subscribers. It’s more than SFR and cable operator Numéricable each have, but not as much as Free, France’s second largest ISP.

Netflix is using both Arista and Juniper gear according to a tweet from Temkin:

We’ve covered a bit about how Netflix architects its Open Connect CDN service that it uses to directly serve traffic to ISPs if they elect to link up with a box or put one inside their network. Because Netflix streams can result in so much traffic, the company is trying to ease the burden of bringing it from its AWS servers right to the ISP’s door. Yet, still ISPs may have to upgrade their last mile networks to handle the massive influx high-Netflix demand can generate.

That and the potentially competitive nature of Netflix’s service for ISPs that also provide a video bundle is leading to friction between the service and ISPs in the U.S. Given how Free and other French ISPs have tended to react to YouTube and Cogent over peering disputes, I imagine Netflix will face similar fights in France later this fall.

Updated: This story was corrected on July 23 to reflect the fact that Netflix is providing its capacity as opposed to buying it.

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