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Is Netflix Any Faster On Comcast?
By Swanni

Washington, D.C. (April 14, 2014) - Editor's Note: TV's Answer Man, aka Swanni, takes your questions regarding how to best use the latest products and services in TV technology. If you have a question about TV technology, ask TV's Answer Man by sending an e-mail to

Q. I remember reading that Netflix paid Comcast for access to faster Internet servers. So, is my Netflix any faster on my Comcast Internet service? -- Don, Atlanta.

Don, you're right. In February, Netflix and Comcast
signed a long-term agreement designed to ensure that Netflix's video streams will not be slowed down when watched by the cable operator's subscribers. Netflix had reported previously that its streaming has been slowed in Comcast homes due to a disagreement over how Comcast should connect to Netflix's servers. (The company is experiencing a similar problem with Verizon and AT&T, but have yet to paid the telcos.)

While considerable publicity has been given recently to a court ruling that killed the FCC's 'Net Neutrality' rules, which would now presumably allow ISPs to charge web companies, the Comcast-Netflix arrangement is actually based on creating a better connection (called interconnection) between the companies' servers and pre-dates the Net Neutrality decision.

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Netflix has said it's upset that it was forced to make the payments to Comcast. But have they paid off?

The company just issued its monthly report on Internet Service Provider speeds and -- guess what? -- Comcast's performance dramatically improved in March, the first full month the new agreement was in place. According to Netflix, Comcast delivered Netflix's streaming service at a rate of 2.5 megabits per second in March, which is roughly 66 percent faster than the rate in January (1.5 megabits), the last full month before the agreement was signed.

The higher speed should ensure a better and more reliable picture for Netflix viewers in Comcast Internet homes. At 2.5 megabits per second on average, there should be fewer occasions when a viewer's picture is interrupted ("buffering") while streaming.

While Netflix says Comcast's speed still trails other Internet providers (Cablevision, Cox and Charter all posted faster average speeds in March, Netflix's report states), the improvement shows that the payments had their desired effect.

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Phillip Swann is president and publisher of He has been quoted in dozens of publications and broadcast outlets, including CNN, Fox News, Inside Edition, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Financial Times, The Associated Press and The Hollywood Reporter. He can be reached at or at 703-505-3064.

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