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iiNet takes top place in Netflix speed rankings

As research estimates that over 1.4 million Australians are accessing the streaming video-on-demand service, Netflix has given iiNet the crown for the best prime-time Netflix speed performance for the month of June.
Written by Josh Taylor, Contributor

iiNet has edged out its suitor TPG to take out the top rank in prime-time Netflix speeds for the month of June, according to statistics released by the streaming video-on-demand company.

After launching officially in Australia in March, Netflix initially awarded TPG and Optus the top two rankings for prime-time Netflix performance. As of June, however, iiNet has overtaken Optus and taken the crown from prospective buyer TPG. The company recorded 3.36Mbps average speed compared to 3.34Mbps for TPG.

(Image: Screenshot by Josh Taylor/ZDNet)

The speed index calculates the average bitrate for streaming Netflix content in "prime time". This is the peak three hours of Netflix viewing per day.

iiNet said it is pleased with the result.

"We're very happy with the result. Testament to a lot of focus and good work. Not only number one, but a solid improvement since April, whilst Telstra seems to be floundering," the company's chief technology officer Mark Dioguardi said in a statement.

Telstra has retained the lowest ranking of all ISPs listed by Netflix. After a modest rise in May, it has seen a decline in average speeds in June from 2.23Mbps down to 2.09Mbps.

(Image: Screenshot by Josh Taylor/ZDNet)

Telstra's ranking is affected by the size of its legacy copper network providing services to 3.9 million customers in metro, regional, and remote areas of Australia in over 2,800 exchanges.

"The factors that influence the national average include the larger size of the Telstra network over a wider ADSL footprint and customer base," a Telstra spokesperson said.

The spokesperson said that the company continues to monitor and improve user experience for all services -- not just Netflix.

"Our aim is to provide a network that offers a reliable performance, and the majority of our customers continue to be able to watch uninterrupted video across a range of streaming services, including Netflix, Presto, and Stan," she said.

"We have seen no material change in calls or complaints about video streaming or other online service performance."

iiNet's top ranking comes despite the company's initial issues in handling the volume of Netflix traffic being added to its network. iiNet initially reported that Netflix traffic made up 25 percent of all traffic on the company's network, but that is now believed to be closer to 30 percent.

The demand for Netflix has yet to ease up, despite the free trial periods ending for many customers. On Tuesday, research released by Roy Morgan showed that over 1.4 million Australians in over 500,000 homes now have a subscription to the service, up over 100,000 from the company's estimate a few weeks ago.

The research also revealed that Telstra has the most households subscribed, at 142,000, followed by iiNet, with 113,000 households, and Optus, with 102,000.

(Image: Roy Morgan)

Proportional to total customer base, iiNet has the most customers on Netflix, at 16.8 percent.

Roy Morgan said TPG is rumoured to be negotiating a quota-free deal with Netflix, despite the streaming company saying it would not sign any similar agreements due to its potential to be in conflict with Netflix's strong stance towards net neutrality. TPG also offers unlimited download plans, so it is likely not as much of an issue for TPG as iiNet or Optus.

Roy Morgan general manager Tim Martin said that Netflix is a double-edged sword for ISPs.

"Rapid uptake can see internet traffic soar, with significant and targeted network investment required to keep pace with the demand. NBN in particular will need to keep a close eye on how subscription video on demand affects adoption rates in particular areas," he said in a statement.

Optus' initial partnership with Netflix is now over, and the Singtel-owned company has flagged that it would like to charge a premium to companies like Netflix to guarantee traffic on the Optus network. CEO Allen Lew has denied that this would be in breach of the principles of net neutrality.

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