If you’re in the US and your Netflix stream keeps freezing while you're binge-watching House of Cards, rest assured: Canadians are enjoying it faster.
According to Netflix’s latest ISP speed index—which for the first time included Canada’s results—Canadians stream videos at an average pace of 2.52 Mbps, compared to Americans who watch videos at an average of 2.33 Mbps.
But both countries fell significantly below most European countries, like the Netherlands, which streamed video on average as high as 3.49 Mbps, while Costa Rica lagged in last place streaming at a lowly average pace of 1.18 Mbps. In general, countries in the Americas ranked behind European ones.
Netflix gets this information from its over one million Canadian users; the listed speed reflects the average performance of all Netflix streams on each of the fourteen available ISP networks. Unsurprisingly, Bell Canada’s fiber optic network, the largest communications company in the country, supplies the fastest streaming at 3.19 Mbps.
Its arch rival Rogers surprisingly places last, with a 1.67 Mbps average streaming speed. Several secondary carriers like Teksavvy, which leases lines from providers including Rogers, had faster speeds.
In the past, Rogers has been accused of throttling internet traffic for gamers, but there’s no evidence anything like that affected streaming speeds in the latest Netflix study. A spokesperson for Rogers pointed out in a statement to CBC News that the speeds only referred to Netflix connections and not overall internet speeds; the company cited a PC Mag speed test which placed them as the fastest ISP in Canada. It's worth noting that Rogers is rumoured to be looking into creating their own online streaming site.
One reason for the discrepancy in speeds between the US and Canada could be the possibility of throttling by service providers in the US trying to curtail Netflix traffic—which can account for up to around a third of all internet traffic at peak times, according to network equipment company Sandvine. To combat that issue, Netflix recently signed two separate deals with Verizon and Comcast to ensure faster trafficking speeds for their content, with more contracts liklely on the horizon. From these rankings, Comcast is already enjoying faster speeds, finding itself in third place among the US ISPs.
While Canadians might have speedier streaming speeds watching Netflix than Americans, those statistics are just one small part of the story of the countries' internet access. Other organizations like Ookla place Canada below the US when it comes to average network speeds, and internet prices aren't cheap north of the border. In a 2013 annual report from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD), Canadian broadband ranked among the world’s top ten most expensive.
On that note, the speedier streaming north of the border is already looking less sexy: just last week Netflix announced new subscribers in both Canada and the US will spend a dollar or two more per month on their service.