Netflix has launched its new Netflix ISP Speed Index which promises to show consumers the top ISPs for streaming movies and TV shows through its service. The new website will be updated monthly and can make country-specific or International comparisons utilizing data collected from over 33 million subscribers.
Not surprisingly, Google Fiber tops the charts in the U.S. with an average streaming bitrate of 3.5Mbps. That figure also bests ISPs internationally, making Google Fiber possibly the world's most worry-free choice for Netflix streaming. Sweden's Ownite was the global runner-up, delivering an average of 2.99Mbps of data to Netflix customers.
Of course, Google's service area is currently only two cities -- Kansas City, MO and Kansas City, KS -- but the company has voiced its interest in expanding Google Fiber to other areas.
CableVision Optimum, meanwhile, is America's distant runner-up at 2.35Mbps while the primary mass of cable and fiber-based Internet providers hover close to the 2Mbps mark. Meanwhile, a plethora of DSL services round out the bottom half with WiMax provider ClearWire at the bottom of the list with roughly 1.2Mbps.
To make these numbers useful, it is important to know what Netflix requires. In this support document, Netflix informs its subscribers:
There are 3 settings to choose from:
- Good quality (uses up to 0.3 GB per hour)
- Better quality (uses up to 0.7 GB per hour)
- Best quality (uses up to 1 GB per hour, up to 2.8 GB per hour if watching HD, or up to 4.7 GB per hour if watching 3D)
Simply put, if you're watching SD video content, "Good" quality requires 0.66Mbps, "Better" needs 1.56Mbps and "Best" requires at least 2.22Mbps of bandwidth. For HD content though, the numbers grow quite a bit higher. "Best" quality HD video clocks in at 6.22Mbps while 3D content chews up a formidable 10.4Mbps of bandwidth.
Given Netflix's significant impact on the world's Internet bandwidth, the company has been pushing ISPs to utilize its Open Connect content delivery network to help alleiviate the strain. ISPs can choose either peering with Netflix at common web junctions or locally install Netflix-caching appliances on their network.
Earlier this year, Time Warner Cable accused Netflix of discrimination due to its Open Connect CDN. It stated its belief that ISPs who participate in the system give Netflix "unprecedented preferential treament" over alternative video streaming services.