With a subscriber base passing the 20 million mark in Q4 2010, Netflix has new clout in the marketplace. The company’s top priority has been to maintain and improved its streaming service that has become wildly popular with consumers. Part of the road to improvement is a bigger selection of content with more new releases. This month the company has entered into a bidding war against HBO for Warner Brothers content while welcoming HBO’s content as well. The other critical element of streaming service is delivery. While Netflix has invested in edge networking to bring its stream closer to consumers, it still relies on local ISP’s for the last mile to subscribers. Since virtually all ISP’s are in the pay TV business, Netflix has valid reason fro concern about having it’s stream traffic over managed by those ISP’s. In what appears to be a warning shot to ISP’s The company has published performance rankings for the 16 largest US ISP’s and Canada’s 4 players. The results have a few surprises, the top US provider is Charter, with Rogers in Canada significantly besting its performance, Bottom of the pack is Clearwire. While Clearwire is the only wireless operator, it is also the only operator not offering pay TV service on its network.
Kudos to Netflix for releasing this data to the public. More bandwidth reliant services should follow its lead and release their data. While we have fewer broadband choices that ever, it’s good to have independently produced performance information. With a a little more competition in the marketplace, this kind of data could drive substantial improvement.