Nate Hakken, Reporter, BroadbandBreakfast.com
WASHINGTON, February 7, 2011 – Online content providers Netflix and Akamai released data recently indicating that U.S. internet service providers meet expectations for promised peak broadband speeds, but fall short when it comes to sustained speeds.
Netflix, which offers streaming video on-demand, released data and charts last month through its blog. The company evaluated sustained downloads as part of its high definition streaming service specific to Internet Service Providers (ISP)s.
According to its data, no ISP in the U.S. sustains Netflix’ ideal speeds for sustained picture quality – but they come close. The company requires streaming service user to have an internet connection that has a speed of 1.5 Mbps, with a faster 3 Mbps being more ideal.
The online movie provider’s top high-definition stream requires about 4.8 Mbps of bandwidth, although the actual bit rate for the stream would vary while viewing video from the service. For slower connections image quality is scaled back making sustained bandwidth an important measure when watching a video stream.
Netflix filtered data for the report to only contain titles that had high definition video streams and devices capable of playing back in these streams (wireless networks were excluded). The results show that most ISPs average well above the minimum requirement bandwidth, Cable modem services appear to be better than most digital subscriber line (DSL) connections for supporting high-definition video streams as cable provider, Charter, led the way, followed by Comcast, Cox, and Time-Warner. Notably, no distinction was made in the report between Verizon’s Fiber optic network and its DSL offerings, they were presented as a single ISP.