Cable Operators

Cablevision Rises In Netflix Rankings After Cutting CDN Deal

MSO Second Only to Google Fiber on Netflix's ISP Speed Rankings for January 2/11/2013 9:49 AM Eastern

After Cablevision Systems agreed to let Netflix place caching servers at the MSO’s data centers, the average speed of Netflix video streams rose 7% for customers of the New York-area cable operator, according to Netflix’s latest ISP rankings.

For the month of January, Cablevision delivered 2.24 Megabits per second on average to Netflix subscribers, up from 2.09 Mbps in December. That was second only to Google Fiber, which delivered 3.02 Mbps across its limited subscriber base in the Kansas City market for January.

Earlier last month, Cablevision announced that it had joined Open Connect, Netflix’s content delivery network program that also counts Google Fiber as a partner. Netflix saves money on third-party CDN transit fees by co-locating caching servers that store copies of the most-frequently accessed content at ISPs' data centers.

ISPs can participate in the program at no cost, according to Netflix. As an added incentive to encourage providers to participate in the private CDN, the company provides access to select titles in higher-quality “Super HD” format and 3D content to subscribers of Open Connect partners.

“We have a direct connection with the online video provider that ensures superior viewing and more extensive content than any of our competitors can deliver,” Gemma Toner, Cablevision’s senior vice president of broadband product management, said in a statement. “The most recent Netflix ISP rankings make it clear, if you live in this market and you use Netflix, the top choice is Optimum.”

Time Warner Cable has complained that Netflix is unfairly holding back content in trying to wangle “preferential treatment” from ISPs with the Open Connect initiative.

On Netflix’s January rankings, Suddenlink Communications was in third place with 2.08 Mbps, up from 2.01 Mbps a month prior. Suddenlink also is a participant in Netflix's Open Connect, according to Netflix spokesman Joris Evers. Suddenlink senior vice president of corporate communications Pete Abel declined to confirm the MSO's participation in the CDN, saying such information is "proprietary."

Following Suddenlink, each with between 2.0 and 2.05 Mbps, were: Charter, Verizon FiOS, Comcast and Mediacom. Time Warner Cable was in eighth place with an average of 1.99 Mbps followed by Cox Communications at 1.96 Mbps.

According to Cablevision, Netflix measured video streams delivered over both Optimum Online and Optimum Wi-Fi, its network of more than 70,000 indoor and outdoor hotspots across the New York metro area available to broadband subscribers for no additional charge.

As of the end of September, Cablevision had 3.06 million broadband customers. Last week it reached an agreement to sell the former Bresnan Communications operations to Charter Communications for $1.625 billion. Those systems, dubbed Optimum West, serve about 304,000 customers.

October