Surprise! Paying off Comcast does have its benefits. Less than two months after coming to a peering arrangement with Comcast where it agreed to make regular payments to the cable giant to ensure high-quality streaming for its customers, Netflix reported that average streaming speeds have surged by 65% on Comcast’s network. In fact, the increase in streaming speeds was so large that Comcast jumped ahead a full six spots in Netflix’s rankings of Internet service providers and now is the fifth-fastest ISP for Netflix streaming in the United States with an average speed of 2.5Mbps.
Streaming quality on Comcast first began tanking last fall, when Comcast started asking Netflix to chip in money to help it deal with heavy traffic loads. Netflix reluctantly agreed to do so and now speeds have gone from a low of just 1.5Mbps in January to 2.5Mbps last month. Now that other ISPs are lining up with their hands out for similar payouts, we should expect to see a boost in quality across all major ISPs when it comes to Netflix streaming over the next few months.
Whether this is a good thing for the Internet is certainly open for debate, but for the time being Netflix subscribers can at least be happy that their streaming quality has gotten significantly better.