Netflix could have a big problem on its hands, one that could affect its business model far worse than their nefarious $400M password sharing dilemma. Netflix and its users depend on high speed broadband connections in order to stream Netflix content effectively, particularly the growing number of ultra-HD 4K offerings. For that reason, Netflix and its subscribers are essentially at the mercy of internet service providers (ISPs) to provide their advertised high-speed connections reliably and consistently to all streaming services – not just the ones owned by each particular ISP. In what could be one of the first shots fired in the war over net neutrality, Verizon is reportedly throttling some users’ connections to Netflix, and customers aren’t happy.
The alleged Netflix throttling was noticed by a number of reddit users who took to the popular news aggregator and forum site to post their observations while using Verizon’s internet and data service. Several users compared Verizon’s advertised speeds to their actual speeds using online speed test tools, while other users compared their Netflix experiences both while using a VPN and while streaming directly through Verizon. One Reddit user, u/crux57, reported a significant discrepancy in speeds while streaming Netflix over Verizon compared to other ISPs:
Confirmed it myself today. Running fast.com produces 9-12mbps, settles down to 10mbps. Running speedof.me, Speedtest, and coverage, produces speeds upwards of 60mbps. This is a clear issue. Nowhere does Verizon state they throttle to 10mbps. Not cool Verizon. When test on home wifi, which I get up to 250mbps down, I’m able to consistently get that with fast.com. The issue is with Verizon throttling. My Netflix setting is set to “unlimited” I do not have this issue with my ATT line.
This isn’t the first time Netflix has noticed ISPs slowing down its subscribers’ connections to their streaming service. Netflix launched the speed test site Fast.com in response to its own observations of ISPs throttling its subscribers’ connections. Ensuring its users have a reliable high-speed connection regardless of ISP is of critical importance to the success of Netflix and other streaming services; thus, it’s easy to see why so many major streaming players are joining the fight for net neutrality.
If you’d like to keep the web neutral for all and ensure the future of streaming video, see what you can do to help at BattleForTheNet.com.