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Netflix has released March data from its ISP Speed Index – its monthly update on which Internet Service Providers (ISPs) provide the best prime-time Netflix streaming experience.
Back in December, Netflix announced a years-long effort called complexity-based encoding that allowed them to boost streaming performance of TV shows and movies while using less bandwidth. At the time, Netflix said the new encodes would result in lower monthly averages for ISPs in our ISP Speed Index. With about 80 per cent of the Netflix catalogue now re-encoded, that change is beginning to impact the index.
The group of top performers started moving collectively down last month and again this month according to the Speed Index. That movement as a group reflects more efficient streaming on those networks due to the encoding work. For example, with the new encodes, the first episode of House of Cards Season 4 streamed 720p starting at 910 Kilobits per second (Kbps) and 1080p starting at 1620 Kbps on TVs; previously the lowest bit rates for those same streams
Other highlights for March:
In the US, CenturyLink, whose performance has steadily slid since last November, now ranks last in the index with an average monthly speed of 1.53 Mbps. By comparison, the slowest country we currently track — Costa Rica — posted average monthly performance of 1.87 Mbps in March.
In Germany, Kabel Deutschland fell three spots from first place to fourth with an average monthly speed of 3.61 Mbps, down from 3.87 Mbps a month earlier.
In Ireland, Virgin Media continued its climb, rising to first place from third, with an average monthly speed of 3.37 Mbps, up from 2.46 Mbps last month.