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​CES 2016: Netflix goes global

Starting now, Netflix streaming is available throughout most of the world with one large exception: China.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor

LAS VEGAS--In 2015, Netflix ate up the bulk of the United States's Internet bandwidth. In 2016, Netflix will consume the world's broadband.


Netflix is expanding to cover the globe. So, if you want to watch Orange is the New Black in Vietnam, or pretty much anywhere else outside of China, you're good to go.

Reed Hastings, Netflix's CEO announced that Netflix had been switched on in 130 countries as he was speaking. This includes both emerging markets like India, Indonesia, Russia, and Azerbaijan, and developed markets such as Singapore and South Korea.

The one major exception? "While you have been listening to me talk," Hastings said, "The Netflix service has gone live in nearly every country of the world except China"

But, if you're in Beijing and want to watch Jessica Jones, there is hope. Hastings added, "We hope to also be in [China] the future."

Netflix, according to Hasting, is now a "global television network." Thanks to the Internet, he's right.

The popular video-streaming service has also added Arabic, Korean, Simplified and Traditional Chinese to the 17 languages it already supports.

But how will Netflix deliver the video goods? While the global government regulation hoops and business content delivery contracts were gigantic problems, the technical problems were also formidable. Bringing Netflix to South Korea was technically trivial. With an average Internet speed of 23.6 Mbp, South Korea has the fastest Internet in the world. But, Azerbaijan? The country is trying hard to become a central Asian Internet power, but even in its capital, Baku, the average Internet speed is just over 5 Mbps.

Hastings didn't address this, but Netflix sources stated that Netflix, which relies on the Amazon cloud in most of the developed world, will depend on the Netflix Open Connect Initiative appliances in most of the less developed countries.

The Open Connect Appliance is a cache server. While it's made from commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) components, the Open Connect Appliance is tailored for each ISP and its bandwidth resources.

So it is that whether you're binge-watching from your home in American suburbia or off a smartphone in a hotel room in Baku, your Netflix connection should be as unbreakable as Kimmy Schmidt.

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