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Netflix reveals the best and worst Australian ISPs

Cut-price internet service provider TPG has ranked highest among Australian ISPs.
Written by Josh Taylor, Contributor

A ranking of Australia's largest internet service providers (ISPs) by streaming video company Netflix has found that TPG offers the highest average streaming speed, with incumbent fixed telecommunications company Telstra ranking lowest.

Following the launch of Netflix in Australia and New Zealand in March, the two countries have now been added to Netflix's monthly ISP performance rankings.

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.

New Zealand ranked ahead of Australia overall, at 13 out of 29 countries, while Australia ranked at number 17.

TPG ranked first for the month of April, with an average of 3.36Mbps, followed by Optus, iiNet, Primus, Exetel, Dodo, and Telstra, down at 2.23Mbps.

(Image: Screenshot by Josh Taylor/ZDNet)

In New Zealand, Snap ranked first, at 3.77Mbps, followed by Vodafone NZ, Orcon, Bigpipe, CallPlus, Trustpower, HD, and New Zealand's incumbent Spark also ranking last, at 2.39Mbps.

By comparison, the United States ranked 15th in the index, and its top ISP, Verizon's fibre service FiOS, achieved an average of 3.55Mbps for the month.

The index did not differentiate between fibre, cable, ADSL, wireless, and satellite services in Australia to determine the speeds.

Netflix stated that the performance of Australian ISPs had been "impacted by consumer demand exceeding the forecasts Netflix provided" to the ISPs, and said it is working with the ISPs in Australia to determine traffic forecasts over the next few months to improve speeds.

iiNet has been criticised for not coping with Netflix traffic, and the company's CIO Mark Dioguardi explained in April that Netflix traffic already accounts for 25 percent of all traffic on the iiNet network.

Optus CEO Allen Lew also flagged that the company is considering charging a premium for companies like Netflix to guarantee speeds on the network, but has denied it would be counter to Optus' position on net neutrality.

Netflix has stated that it believes its decision to partner with Optus and iiNet to offer access to Netflix quota-free was in breach of the principles of net neutrality.

The impact of Netflix appears to be felt much more than any other streaming on-demand services in Australia. Sources from ISPs in Australia have confirmed to ZDNet that Netflix traffic is much higher than that on Presto, Stan, and Quickflix.

The Australian reported on Monday that according to Hitwise figures, Netflix received 475,000 visits in one day, with Presto and Stan receiving less than 50,000 visitors each in one day. This figure is contested by Stan, however.

It comes as the Australian government announced on Monday that it will introduce legislation after Tuesday's Budget to require overseas digital service companies including Netflix to apply the 10 percent goods and services tax (GST) to their services at point of sale. The move was unsurprisingly welcomed by rival Foxtel.

"The government's move to enforce GST for the supply of digital content services is the right one. The digital marketplace is an increasingly competitive space, and it's critical to ensure that all players that do business in Australia do so on a level field, with no one player advantaged through tax loopholes," Foxtel's group director of corporate affairs Bruce Meagher said in a statement.

"The introduction of this legislation will not only help to maintain consistency across the competitive landscape, but it will also ensure that Australia gets its due taxes from the companies that choose to do business here, which benefits all Australians."

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