Figuring out real world broadband speeds can be confusing. We’re of course given the “up to Xmb/s” advertisements and we always have Speedtest.net. But figuring out the real world bandwidth provided is a bit trickier? Netflix has released findings on how fast they can deliver HD streams to customers on each U.S. and Canadian ISP.
When a customer starts one of Netflix’s streaming movies, and it’s available in HD, Netflix attempts to throw 4800 kilobits per second into that screen—at least, by the time the movie is up and running. Your computer or set-top box doesn’t get the same exact connection every time, but the chart above is weighted to show you a broad average of speed available on each ISP. As Netflix explains:
As we use a number of CDNs, and our clients can adapt to changing network conditions by selecting the network path that’s currently giving them the best throughput, Netflix streaming performance ends up being an interesting way to measure sustained throughput available from a given ISP over time, and therefore the quality of Netflix streaming that ISP is providing to our subscribers. Obviously, this can vary by network technology (e.g. DSL, Cable), region, etc., but it’s a great high-level view of Netflix performance across a large number of individual streaming sessions.
Unfortunately, here in the U.S. we’re locked into a particular broadband provider. There’s no REAL competition so this information won’t provide you ammo to go find a new ISP. It is however interesting to see how fast the service we have hits in a real world scenario. The full-size chart is offered at Netflix’s blog post.