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Netflix streaming video speeds dramatically improve for Comcast subscribers – Here’s the deal

By April Taylor , Apr 15, 2014 10:29 AM EDT
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The deal between Comcast and Netflix is shaping up to be of great benefit to consumers, as Comcast customers are seeing notable boosts in streaming video speeds.

Netflix is now blazingly fast and Comcast Internet subscribers continue to see notable improvements in Netflix performance following the partnership between the two companies.

Under the terms of the agreement, Netflix agreed to pay for a direct connection to Comcast, the nation's largest broadband provider. Data released on Tuesday, April 15, confirms the great improvements.

"This month's rankings are a great illustration of how performance can improve when ISPs work to connect directly to Netflix," Comcast boasted in a company blog post on Monday, April 14. "In the US, the average speed on the Comcast network for Netflix streams is up to 65 percent from 1.51Mbps in January to 2.5Mbps in March."

Comcast and Netflix signed this agreement back in February, and the fruits of this joint effort are already obvious. At the same time, this partnership added more fuel to the already heated issue of "net neutrality," which entails that major U.S. Internet service providers such as Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Verizon, and others cannot support specific online services in the detriment of other competing services. Comcast has also proposed to purchase Time Warner Cable for $45 billion, but the deal is still pending regulatory approval.

Direct connections from broadband companies dramatically improve the performance of high-bandwidth services such as Netflix, and greater speeds also mean fewer interruptions and significantly superior video quality.

Just last fall, Netflix speeds for Comcast customers started to decline noticeably, which prompted numerous subscribers to complain about the service quality. Netflix accounts for as much as one third of all Internet traffic during the evening hours, and its popularity continues to grow. Following this deal, Comcast customers are now seeing the best Netflix performance in a long time.

Customers are not the only ones to gain from this agreement, however. By making this deal with the broadband service provider, Netflix now enjoys a direct connection to Comcast's network, which means that it can bypass providers that serve as third-party liaisons between residential broadband companies and Internet services.

"We are dedicated to delivering a great streaming experience and invest in continually improving that experience. Part of that investment is working with ISPs to make Netflix delivery easy and to avoid congestion. We see consistently better speeds for customers served by ISPs that directly connect their network to Netflix using our Open Connect content delivery network," Netflix further explained.

Verizon and AT&T are expected to strike similar deals with Netflix and improve performance for their respective customers. Google Fiber, meanwhile, remains the fastest provider of Netflix in the U.S. 

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