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Does Your ISP Cap Data, Throttle Netflix?

20 February 2014 2,235 views No Comment

Given the mechanics and politics of that internet net neutrality, isn't happening. So, here's a quick look which ISPs cap data and/or throttle Netflix

What is net neutrality? It is a simple rule that states that all internet traffic should be treated equally. Given the mechanics and politics of that internet that, quite obviously, isn’t happening. Here is a quick and dirty look which US ISPs cap data and/or throttle Netflix.

Call it the double douchebag index (DDI), a listing of broadband ISPs that both cap data and throttle Netflix. And, here, the words “throttle Netflix” is a stand in for the throttling of any streaming media service, like Hulu Plus and Amazon Prime Instant.

Want to know if your ISP is capping data? (GigaOM)

Yes, data caps are common, but enforcement is spotty as a practical matter.

Throttle Netflix: With Both Hands?

What does it mean to throttle Netflix? While Comcast and Verizon have been shown to throttle Netflix — what they’re doing seems to be a conscious effort.

Is your ISP throttling Netflix streaming speeds? (ITWorld)

Other broadband ISPs, like Time Warner, seem to be taking a different path, one that likewise results in poor Netflix performance — not adding capacity to meet peak hour demand, not peering efficiently and/or prioritizing other traffic.

That is, rather than consciously trying to throttle Netflix, some carriers consciously choose not to make acceptable/better.

Where Matters

How does that look out in the real world? Netflix grades US and Canadians broadband ISPs — Comcast and Verizon (DSL) score near the bottom and Time Warner, AT&T U-Verse and Verizon FiOS earn middling ratings.

Netflix Grades Broadband ISPs (Netflix)

It also matters greatly where you live. For example, where I live in Erie, Pennsylvania — I suspect neighborhood matters, too — while Time Warner might indeed be guilty of lacking peak capacity, efficient peering relationships and/or prioritizing other traffic, as a practical matter, streamed video usually is very smooth.

Conclusions? Shop around and talk to your neighbors. Also, even if your best choice broadband ISP is a known Netflix throttler, it is often possible to get around that by using a VPN (virtual private network).

If you are living with a data cap, then you need to find a new broadband ISP, which could involve moving…

What’s your take?

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