Does Your ISP Cap Data, 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.
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.
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.
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?