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How Spectranet topped Netflix’s ISP Speed Index in India

Two months ago, a small ISP in Mumbai called 7 Star Digital conquered Netflix's ISP Speed Index in India. Back then, we had predicted that 7 Star would stay on top forever. Why? Because 7 Star was a very small ISP, and it had every single one of its customers covered with a Netflix Open Connect Appliance, a cache that Netflix gives to some ISPs so that the streaming service's content can directly be streamed from the ISP's own network. Why 7 Star topped... 7 Star Digital is very small — it's not even available anywhere outside Mumbai. With two caches embedded in this ISP's network, every customer theoretically got Netflix video speeds as fast as their connection plan allowed. Netflix calculates its speeds on the ISP Speed Index not by how fast data is being transfered from the cache onto subscribers' browsers — rather, it calculates the bitrate of the video being streamed. This is an important distinction. For instance, if there are two customers, one with a 5 Mbps connection, and another with a 100 Mbps connection; Netflix will record a speed of 3Mbps for streams on both broadband connections if the video bitrate is only that much. Even if the data throughput varies dramatically for both users — 100Mbps for one user and 5Mbps for the other — Netflix will only record the average bitrate of the stream itself. This is why average speeds on the Index have rarely exceeded 4–5Mbps for any country; because that's pretty…

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I cover the digital content ecosystem and telecom for MediaNama.

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