Netflix reveals the speeds of top ISPs around the world

The site's new ISP Speed Index page compares the speeds offered by key Internet providers around the globe.

Screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

Is your Internet provider as fast as its rivals? A new Netflix page could provide the answer.

Launched today, the site's ISP Speed Index page displays the performance of certain ISPs in the U.S., the U.K., Ireland, Mexico, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and Finland. As such, it doesn't cover the entire world but simply those countries where Netflix is available.

In the U.S., Google Fiber took the top spot with an average speed of 3.35 megabits per second. Cablevision's Optimum service was No. 2 with a speed of 2.35Mbps, followed by Suddenlink, Cox, and Verizon Fios. Rounding out the bottom of the U.S. list were AT&T's DSL, Verizon's DSL, and Clearwire.

Google Fiber also proved the fastest around the world, followed by Sweden's Ownit with an average speed of 2.99Mbps. Finland offers Netflix subscribers the highest speed on average, while Mexico ranked the lowest.

What if your ISP is at the bottom of the barrel? There may not be much you can do about it.

In the U.S., the quickest connection is provided by Google Fiber, which so far is restricted to just Kansas City, Kan., and Kansas City, Mo. Verizon Fios also fared well but its coverage too is limited.

Otherwise, cable companies typically provide the fastest speeds. But the cable industry is a monopoly with only one choice available in any one area. So if you're unhappy with Comcast, you can't just jump ship to Cablevision.

Until the day when services like Google Fiber are more ubiquitous, most people are pretty much stuck with whichever ISP serves the neighborhood.

The ISP Index Page reports the current month's findings and is updated with each new month. You can also view the findings in a graph format that tracks performance over a selected period of time.

Netflix compiles its speed numbers by measuring the video streaming performance of its subscribers. The company uses data from more than 33 million people around the world who stream over 1 billion hours of TV shows and movies each month.

The speeds listed indicate the average performance of Netflix streams across each ISP and not the peak performance that many users may see.

The measurements show only the speed of Netflix streams and not an ISP's overall performance. Also, Internet providers that are connected directly to Netflix via the company's Open Connect content delivery network (CDN) are likely to deliver a better streaming performance than those that are not.

Netflix's CDN places cached servers at certain locations across an ISP's network, which speeds up video streams and other bandwidth-intensive content.

Cablevision, which took second place on the U.S. rankings, joined Netflix's CDN in January. Verizon Fios, which was No. 5 on the list, and Time Warner Cable, which was No. 7 on the list, are not part of the CDN.

Updated 11:25 a.m. PT to add information about Netflix's CDN.

 

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