Streaming video relies on high-speed internet connections, a luxury that’s not always available in every area. To keep its users up-to-date with internet speeds in their areas, Netflix publishes a monthly Netflix ISP Speed Index. Each month, the streaming service collects data from various internet service providers (ISPs) around the globe and compiles those into an easy-to-read searchable report. The April 2017 ISP Speed Index just came in, and the data show that North America has some serious catching up to do.
According to Netflix’s ISP Speed Index, their data should be taken with at least a small grain of salt, as there are dozens of variables which affect individual users’ speeds at home. They note that their index is a measure only of “prime time Netflix performance on particular ISPs (internet service providers) around the globe, and not a measure of overall performance for other services/data that may travel across the specific ISP network.” In other words, don’t take this data at face value; your results will vary.
In the United States, Netflix ranked Comcast as the fastest domestic ISP, clocking an average speed of 3.92 megabytes per second (Mbps). Comcast was closely followed by Verizon’s FiOS service which boasted 3.84 Mbps, and Optimum, which scored 3.81 Mbps. As a nation, the United States clocked a 3.64 Mbps average, quite faster than its neighboring countries (Canada showed 3.25 Mbps and Mexico 3.07 Mbps). Meanwhile, Australia ranked quite low on the list with 2.95 Mbps.
Overall, the fastest global speeds in April 2017 were measured in Switzerland, who came in first on Netflix’s worldwide list with an average speed of 4.28 Mbps. Switzerland was followed by Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg, and Sweden who filled out the top five global speeds. The United Kingdom, while not as fast as its European neighbors, was still faster than U.S. averages, with a mean speed of 3.68 Mbps. Singapore was the only non-European country to make it on the top ten with an average speed of 3.80 Mbps.
Given the relatively slow North American speeds, it’s easy to understand why Netflix is expanding in Europe and Asia. Speeds in countries throughout Europe and the Asia Pacific region are much higher on average than in the Americas, providing a perfect market for a streaming video service. If Netflix wants to keep expanding in North America, maybe it should start investing in telecom infrastructure.