Is your ISP throttling Netflix streaming speeds?

Video streaming seems to be awry for Comcast and Verizon FiOS customers

Now that a federal court has struck down FCC net neutrality rules, there's no law that says internet service providers like Comcast or Verizon FiOS have to treat all internet traffic the same--which means they can purposely slow down traffic from competitors (like Netflix). Reports around the web suggest this is actually happening, at least for Comcast and Verizon FiOS users.

Consumerist reports, for example, that starting in October, average speeds for Netflix users who used Comcast and Verizon Fios dropped from over 2 Mbps to 1.5 or 1.8 Mbps. In this chart from Netflix, Verizon FiOS is the top blue line, while the green line is Comcast.

Neflix speeds: Comcast and Verizon FiOS

Anecdotal evidence around the web, like this post from software engineer Matt Vukas, suggest even drastically slower speeds. (Vukas demonstrates Comcast is throttling Netflix by connecting to an encrypted VPN--so Comcast doesn't know the kind of content he's accessing, during which Netflix speed resumes.)

I can't even stream Netflix on my computer for some reason. I'm on Verizon FiOS and get an error saying "Whoops, something went wrong..." with my home network or internet connection. It's probably unrelated, but I'm in conspiracy mode today (and possibly an anti-Comcast kick this week).

So, I'm curious and would like to ask you: How's your Netflix bandwidth on your ISP? If you'd like to find actual numbers, do a search in Netflix for "Example Short 23.976" and play the video, which will tell you your streaming bitrate.

Read more of Melanie Pinola’s Tech IT Out blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Melanie on Twitter at @melaniepinola. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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