Every month, Netflix releases a report detailing which American internet service providers (ISPs) are providing the fastest connection to the streaming service. Since Comcast had been ranking very low on the list and was not offering its customers a good connection to the site, Netflix decided to pay the ISP extra, so that its traffic would not be discriminated against.
Now that a new report has come out for March 2014, it seems like that deal worked. Between February and March, Comcast rose five spots on the list and its average connection speed increased by 65 percent. This seems to back up Netflix’s original claim that the ISP was intentionally slowing down customer connections to the site just because Netflix is a big source of traffic.
Netflix CEO Reed Hastings has been outspoken about the issue with ISPs like Comcast that want the company to pay extra just so that Netflix subscribers can watch movies and TV shows without terrible download speeds.
In what could be described as a moment of weakness, Hastings and his company agreed to pay off Comcast so that while Netflix fights for net neutrality, Comcast is not ruining the user experience.
Hastings hopes that he does not have to make deals with other ISPs as well, but a ruling in January effectively destroyed all net neutrality laws and made it legal for an ISP to slow down some traffic. The EU has recognized that this is a problem and responded by enacting new net neutrality laws, but the United States is lagging behind.
The obvious speed change between February and March shows that Comcast was simply choosing to mess with the high-speed connection that its own customers were paying for. While some people argue that net neutrality laws do not need to be in place, instances like this seem to support the opposite argument.
Question – Does the US need to follow in the EU’s footsteps and put in place strict net neutrality laws?
Summary: Netflix’s latest ISP report shows that after it paid Comcast extra, connection speeds with the ISP improved by 65 percent. This highlights the issue that a lack of net neutrality laws brings.
image credit: adage