Comcast hits No. 3 spot in Netflix rankings, but Canadian ISPs trump U.S. speeds

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In this week's "wouldya look at that" category, Comcast's (NASDAQ: CMCSA) ranking on the monthly Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) Speed Index rose yet again, climbing from No. 4 to No. 3 in average streaming speeds among major U.S. Internet service providers for April. The MSO's ranking leapt from its near-basement ranking of 11th place after signing a peering deal with the online video service in late February.

Netflix speed index April 2014 US
Netflix speed index Canada April 2014

Top: Netflix rankings for major U.S. ISPs. Bottom: Rankings for Canadian ISPs. (Source: Netflix)

Netflix regularly rates the performance of its streaming during primetime across top ISPs globally, gathering data from more than 48 million of its subscribers worldwide each month, and averages the speeds reported for all users on each ISP's network.

The speed improvement for Comcast is no surprise. After more than two years of back-and-forth bickering about whether the cable operator was throttling Netflix's data as it crossed onto Comcast's owned network, the two companies agreed to a peering arrangement in which Netflix pays an undisclosed amount to get preferred access to the cableco's network.

Netflix in late April announced a similar peering deal with Verizon (NYSE: VZ), whose ranking in the latest report remains unchanged at No. 8 for its FiOS service and No. 15 for its legacy DSL. And AT&T (NYSE: T), according to a statement by Chief Technology Officer John Donovan at a Brookings Institution panel, is "in discussions" with Netflix over peering as well.

Apart from the peering drama, however, was the fact that Cablevision's (NYSE: CVC) Optimum broadband service tops the U.S. rankings--at least among major providers--with an average speed of 3 Mbps. Clearwire languished in the bottom spot at No. 16, with an average speed of 0.97 Mbps.

Trumping these speeds, however, were Canadian ISPs, which across the board deliver faster streaming speeds than their U.S. counterparts. Bell Canada and Bell Aliant topped the newly added Speed Index with average rates of 3.19 and 3.10 Mbps respectively. Shaw took third place at 3.00 Mbps. Rogers, at the bottom of the list ranking No. 14, still put in a more respectable showing at 1.67 Mbps than the U.S. ISP in the same spot, AT&T DSL, which managed just 1.29 Mbps.

"As a country, the average speed for Netflix in Canada beats that of the United States, but ranks below most European nations," Joris Evers wrote in a Netflix blog post.

Rogers' low ranking may result from its controversial usage-based bandwidth policies, which caps subscribers at a set level each month, a Multichannel News story said. The carrier is rumored to be working on a streaming service that would compete with Netflix.

For more:
- see the Netflix Speed Index
- Multichannel News has this story
- Digital Trends has this story

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