Netflix Streaming Speeds Surged 51 Percent In 2014

If your Netflix videos are playing with fewer interruptions, you may have your ISP to thank. Netflix announced that from November of 2013 to November 2014, the average speed for the top 10 ISPs increased to 3.07Mbps. Many users saw a 51% Netflix streaming increase, while people in the Midwest saw a 74% increase. That’s based on the Netflix ISP Speed Index, which measures media streaming performance on ISPs. It’s not meant to be a measure of ISP speeds overall, but it’s a well-known measure of Netflix speeds on ISPs.

Netflix tracks the speeds ISPs deliver bandwidth.
Image Credit: Netflix

Netflix, which is responsible for nearly 35% of bandwidth usage in North America, has an understandable interest in the speeds consumers are receiving from their ISPs. Faster Internet speeds make for better video streaming: higher quality video, fewer interruptions, and faster start times for movies. The company praised Cablevision, Charter, and Cox, for improving Netflix speeds at no cost to Netflix.

With net neutrality battle brewing, it’s tempting to think of this as a sign that ISPs and content providers can play nice without a legal referee, but Netflix has a different take on the high speeds. “[Some ISPs] saw a significant increase in their average speeds only after Netflix met their demand for interconnection payments,” Netflix said in a statement. “We continue to believe the long-term health of the Internet is at risk if ISPs can demand access fees from content providers imply to reach consumers already paying for Internet service.”