Netflix now streaming 65% faster after striking deal with Comcast

Will other ISPs follow suit?

After years of abuse, Comcast customers finally have a reason to celebrate.

After the ISP struck a deal with Netflix in February, the service's streaming video speeds on Comcast's network rose 65% in March 2014, Netflix says.

Netflix content streamed on Comcast at 1.15Mb per second in January, rising to 2.5Mbps in March, according to Netflix's latest monthly ISP Speed Index, which chronicles the service's streaming speeds on various providers' networks.

"This month's rankings are a great illustration of how performance can improve when ISPs work to connect directly to Netflix," Netflix corporate communications team member Joris Evers wrote in a blog post.

Netflix and Comcast, streaming in a tree

The details of the deal between Comcast and Netflix are nonexistent, but rumor has it the two locked arms in February, with money likely changing hands at some point.

They essentially cut out the streaming middle man so that Netflix content is delivered more directly, and thus more quickly, to Comcast customers.

"We are dedicated to delivering a great streaming experience and invest in continually improving that experience," Evers wrote. "Part of that investment is working with ISPs to make Netflix delivery easy and to avoid congestion.

"We see consistently better speeds for customers served by ISPs that directly connect their network to Netflix using our Open Connect content delivery network."

Behind closed doors

Netflix's monthly ISP Speed Index quantifies data from the service's 44 million global subscribers, who reportedly view over one billion hours of content each month.

"A faster network [i.e. Comcast's post-deal] generally means a better picture quality, quicker start times and fewer interruptions," Evers explained.

At the time that the Netflix-Comcast alliance came out, AT&T and Verizon said they were discussing similar arrangements with the service. Now that Netflix has released hard numbers demonstrating the benefits, those talks will likely intensify.

But considering Netflix CEO Reed Hastings openly hates having to pay "a toll" to ISPs, it would be very interesting to learn the details of these transactions.