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Netflix slams Movistar connection speed

The conflict between Netflix and Movistar is heating up. The US streaming company has accused Telefónica’s platform Movistar Plus of offering the lowest broadband connection speed in Spain and the fourth-worst in all Europe.

The conclusion is the result of a Netflix ranking of Spanish telco companies based on the broadband speeds available when users connect to the entertainment service.

The list focuses on prime time (8pm to 11pm, according to the US-based company), and shows that Movistar offered the slowest average connection speeds, out of seven companies analysed over the course of a month.

Both Netflix and Movistar have admitted there are problems with the streaming service during evening prime time. El País newspaper quotes Joris Evers, Netflix’s communications director for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, by saying that the problems do not affect all Movistar users. The trouble consists mainly of “slower video starts” and “a poorer image quality” compared to other Internet providers.

The list, which ranks companies by their data rate measured in megabits per second (Mbps), shows three regional cable companies at the top: The Basque Country’s Euskaltel, Galicia’s R (now owned by Euskaltel) and Asturias’s Telecable, which carried 4.15 Mbps, 4.14 Mbps and 3.97 Mbps respectively.

They were followed by ONO-Vodafone (3.85 Mbps), Jazztel (3.85 Mbps) and Orange (3.72 Mbps). Movistar was down in last place with 2.15 Mbps, which according to Netflix makes it the fourth-worst performer in all of Europe.

Telefónica, though, has claimed that it provides average download speeds of eight to 11 Mbps on the company’s fibre optic lines. Telefónica and Netflix began talks several months before the US service was launched in Spain, on October 20, to try to reach cooperation agreements. The online entertainment provider has already signed deals with ONO-Vodafone, Jazztel and Orange. In an official release, Telefónica said that it “complies with interconnection recommendations and rules issued by authorities and regulators”.

The consumer association FACUA-Consumidores en Acción said that it has received a few complaints from Movistar clients who have subscribed to Netflix, but that none have requested a formal complaint against the company for now.

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