Netflix's Speed Ranking Shows Us How Broken Aussie Internet Really Is

After a long wait, Netflix has switched on its rankings for Australia's internet service providers, and the outcome is pretty bleak. The world's largest streaming video service's speed index for Aussie ISPs throw into sharp relief the abysmal quality of our country's internet.

Internet image via Shutterstock

Here are the seven fastest ISPs in Australia when it comes to Netflix performance, ranked:

The top-ranked ISP in the list, TPG, reports an average Netflix streaming speed of 3.36Mbps. Optus is hot on its heels with 3.27Mbps, iiNet right behind with 3.24Mbps. But let's wait for a second. That TPG result again? Three point three six megabits per second. That is shockingly bad.

To put that in perspective, the bit-rate of a 480p DVD's audio-video stream (using MPEG-2 compression, less effective than the current H.264 standard) sits anywhere between 3 and 10-ish megabits per second — a rough average of 6Mbps. A 1080p Blu-ray video stream (using the VC-1 codec, more comparable to H.264 in its age and compression) can be anything from 20 to 48 megabits per second, and around 30Mbps as an average.

This is for a high quality video file optimised for high-bandwidth physical media, true. But even Netflix's own recommendations suggest that average Aussie internet is, at its very best, only good enough to support standard definition video streaming. That is, 480p, DVD video quality, the kind we were enjoying back in 1997. That's pretty terrible.

Below are the Internet download speed recommendations per stream for playing movies and TV shows through Netflix. 
 

  • 0.5 Megabits per second - Required broadband connection speed
  • 1.5 Megabits per second - Recommended broadband connection speed
  • 3.0 Megabits per second - Recommended for SD quality
  • 5.0 Megabits per second - Recommended for HD quality
  • 25 Megabits per second - Recommended for Ultra HD quality

Also interesting is the fact that Telstra is a fair way down the list with an average connection speed of 2.23Mbps — a full 50 per cent slower than TPG, Optus and iiNet, and not even up to snuff for SD. Given that it's Australia's largest Internet service provider, with the lion's share of network infrastructure and a robust cable broadband network, you'd expect that to be higher.

Maybe, one day, we'll get an average standard of internet around the country that allows us to all reliably stream video in HD quality? Hey, a guy can dream. [Netflix]

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