If you're looking for a new Internet Service Provider, why rely on anecdotal accounts from Yelp or Reddit? When it comes to how fast data moves from one point to another, there's perception, and then there's numbers...and Netflix has the numbers.
"We find ourselves in the unique position," wrote Ken Florance, director of content delivery at Netflix, "of having insight into the performance of hundreds of millions of long duration, high-definition video streams delivered over the Internet."
Netflix ranking of ISP speed isn't simply for short bursts of data transfer, it's for sustained transfer over time. Florance explains that Netflix data actually smoothes out a number of issues in comparing ISP speeds:
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.
Take a look at Netflix chart of the top 16 ISPs in the U.S.:
The company also offers a chart for Canada, where it began offering streaming-only service last year. Florance says the company will update the charts monthly.