JioGigaFiber has debuted at the top on the Netflix ISP Speed index, with an average playback bitrate* of 3.41Mbps for September 2018. That’s higher than all of Latin America’s average playback bitrate, and beats some European countries like France and Poland. Reliance Communications, which recently shut down, has been removed from the index.
All ISPs have been recording slight increases in their speeds, indicating that either broadband speeds as a whole are improving, or (more likely) Netflix is doing a good job of improving its connectivity with Indian ISPs. Another interesting trend is the gulf that seems to be opening up between MTNL, BSNL, Tikona and Tata Communications, and all other ISPs. In the image below, The bottom four lines are the two state-owned operators with Tikona and Tata, and everyone else is represented by the lines above it. The single dot at the top right is JioGigaFiber, which has just been added:
This may be the difference between ISPs that have reached comfortable peering arrangements and those that haven’t, perhaps? BSNL seems to be making material improvements, almost doubling its average playback bitrate over the last couple years.
When 7 Star Broadband, a small ISP in Mumbai, topped the index’s rankings, we had predicted that it would probably stay there forever. But thanks to a multi-pronged effort by Spectranet (now Spectra) to improve peering with Netflix, it was dethroned. And now, JioGigaFiber, with an all-fiber backhaul and a healthy deployment of embedded Netflix servers in its network, has pushed 7 Star to number three. Oh, how the times they change.
Netflix has till date joined five publicly listed peering locations in India — GPX, Extreme IX, Mumbai Internet Exchange, AMS IX, and Bharat IX. These four exchanges in turn deliver Netflix streams to ISPs they are partnered with. It also has embedded last-mile caches at ISPs like ACT Broadband, YOU Broadband, Airtel, Jio, and others.
* The Netflix ISP Speed Index measures the bitrate of the videos being played, not the speed at which the video buffers. For instance, if I am playing a 1080p video on Netflix, and its bitrate is 7Mbps, that stream will be logged as 7Mbps even if my browser is downloading the video at 100Mbps.