Can our Internet services cope with streaming TV?

I  am sitting at my parent’s house trying to use the Internet.   It is so slow through the household’s ADSL connection that we are all shaking our heads.

The whole suburb appears to have “fallen over”.  Could this be a welcome notice from Netflix that Australia simply doesn’t have the right type of technology in place to cope with streaming television?   It is just five days since Netflix arrived on our shores and the blame game has already started.  Iinet is blaming Telstra, Netflix is blaming Telstra, meanwhile, if Telstra provides high quality support for Netflix’s requirements their own investment in Foxtel appears to be at stake.  A strange and compelling set of circumstances in emerging media and infrastructure ownership isn’t it.

Already, Internet Service Providers like Iinet are saying that 15% of their traffic is coming from Netflix use.  Iinet has been promoting that Netflix users can enjoy quota free use of the television services.

In a recent article in the Sydney Morning Herald, global video quality analytics expert from Conviva has commented about the ability of Australia’s networks to cope with the demand for streaming.

Simon Jones, their head of marketing said the internet in Australia is “chaotic” and “unbalanced”.

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“Australia has plenty of bandwidth, although there has been a lot made in the last couple of weeks of how its dropped down … that ‘oh my goodness New Zealand is running faster than Australia’,” Mr Jones said.

“But the average bandwidth available is 6.6 Mpbs,” he said to the Fairfax press.

“The reality is you can throw a pretty decent HD (high definition) stream down at about 4 or 5 Mpbs. But because the internet is fundamentally kind of chaotic – there are lots of different players, the stuff bounces around – where you get into trouble is just blindly sending stuff out across the wire, not understanding the state of network.”

He said it is up to the subscription on demand TV companies to work with ISPs to meet local requirements where services are struggling to deliver.  Sounds to me like there is a lot of pain ahead to manage the needs of the consumers who will no doubt have high expectations.

Previous research in subscription TV in the USA shows that people will tolerate a delay of up to about 4 minutes, and after that they lose patience, switching off.  Not surprising really considering TV is an immediate satisfaction leisure activity.

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Let’s talk about Internet connections today.  Have you signed up for a subscription TV on demand package in the recent weeks?  Are you finding it is working for you? 

Do you think Australia’s Internet setup can cope?  Has your internet connect become sluggish this week?