The ongoing battle between Netflix and ISPs that can't seem to handle the streaming video service's traffic boiled over to an infuriating level for Colin Nederkoon, a startup CEO who resides in New York City. Rather than accept excuses and finger pointing from either side, Nederkoon did a little investigating into why he was receiving such slow Netflix streams on his Verizon FiOS connection, and what he discovered is that there appears to be a clear culprit.
Nederkoon pays for Internet service that promises 75Mbps downstream and 35Mbps upstream through his FiOS connection. However, his Netflix video streams were limping along at just 375kbps (0.375mbps), equivalent to 0.5 percent of the speed he's paying for. On a hunch, he decided to connect to a VPN service, which in theory should actually make things slower since it's adding extra hops en route to his home.
Speeds didn't get slower, they got faster. Much faster. After connecting to VyprVPN, his Netflix connection suddenly ramped up to 3000kbps, the fastest the streaming service allows and around 10 times faster than he was getting when connecting directly with Verizon.
"It seems absurd to me that adding another hop via a VPN actually improves streaming speed.
Clearly it’s not Netflix that doesn’t have the capacity," Nederkoon vented in a blog post. "It seems that Verizon are deliberately dragging their feet and failing to provide service that people have paid for. Verizon, tonight you made an enemy, and doing my own tests have proven (at least to me) that you’re in the wrong here."
Verizon may have a different explanation as to why Nederkoon's Netflix streams suddenly sped up, but in the meantime, it would appear that throttling shenanigans are taking place. It seems that by using a VPN, Verizon simply doesn't know which packets to throttle, hence the gross disparity in speed. If that's truly the case, Verizon may have made more enemies than just a pissed off customer in New York City.