FiOS subscriber Colin Nederkoorn, a startup CEO who resides in New York City, pays for FiOS Internet that promised service of 75 Mbps download and 35 Mbps upload. However, his Netflix video streams were limping along at just 375 kbps (0.375mbps). Which is about only 0.5 percent of the speed he’s paying for. So on a lark he decided to connect to a Virtual Private Network service. What Nederkoorn found was that through this encrypted extra hop, which in all other cases would slow down network performance he saw nearly a 10x increase in Netflix performance.
So Verizon, you got a lot of explaining to do!
In the video above Nederkoorn used a special diagnostic video netflix provides to show you the rate and quality of video you are expected to get from Netflix based on your network connection. During the video Nederkoorn starts showing Netflix’s diagnostic video while using the VPN service VyprVPN. You can clearing see in the radical difference in quality and performance.
In Nederkoorn’s video he uses Mac OS X with the browser Safari, which Netflix limits to streams of 3800 kbps. But later he ran his tests with his VPN setup using a Roku 3 setup box and Windows 8 pc using their respective Netflix Apps. In these tests he got 5800 kbps (5.66 mbps), the current max for Netflix streaming for 1080p streams on those two platforms.
In his blog Nederkoorn says, “It seems absurd to me that adding another hop via a VPN actually improves streaming speed. Clearly it’s not Netflix that doesn’t have the capacity,” siding with both Netflix and Level3, the internet provider of choice for Netflix, in proclaiming the fault of poor quality on the factor of Verizon purposely limiting Netflix’s service here
Nederkoorn’s thesis could is summed up with him saying, “It seems that Verizon are deliberately dragging their feet and failing to provide service that people have paid for. Verizon, tonight you made an enemy, and doing my own tests have proven (at least to me) that you’re in the wrong here.”
This disturbing discovery of anti-competitive action to Netflix, a direct competitor to Verizon’s Redbox streaming video competitor after this post turned out to not be an isolated incident. Different users from across the internet have confirmed this is happening in multiple locations which Verizon offers FiOS. It has also been tested with multiple VPN providers acting as a cloak to hide the traffic going through Verizon but only now has it been shown using this Netflix Diagnostic video.
Verizon will most likely have a different narrative of explanation to brush away why Nederkoorn’s Netflix streams suddenly sped up, but in the meantime, it would seem that very serious network neutrality violating throttling shenanigans are taking place at the child of Ma’Bell. But by using a VPN right now Verizon simply doesn’t know which packets to throttle, hence the gross disparity in speed.
While it was not tested if anyone can recreate the similar settings to test this with 4k capable Netflix UHD televisions like the Samsung HU6000 through HU9000 series Ultra HD TV, the Sony X850B through X950B Ultra HD TVs, or the LG UB8500 Ultra HD 4k TV with shows like Netflix 4k release of House Of Cards season 2 we would love to know if this works too.