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Updated: Fri, 16 May 2014 07:02:25 GMT | By CBC News, cbc.ca

Rogers explains why it came last in Netflix rankings



Under the new deal between Netflix and Dreamworks Animation, the video streaming site will offer more than 300 hours of original series pegged to DreamWorks franchises like Shrek and upcoming feature films. Mike Blake/Reuters

Under the new deal between Netflix and Dreamworks Animation, the video streaming site will offer more than 300 hours of original series pegged to DreamWorks franchises like Shrek and upcoming feature films. Mike Blake/Reuters

Rogers now has a detailed explanation for why it was named as Canada's slowest internet provider for streaming movies or TV shows on Netflix.

Netflix released its first speed rankings of Canadian internet providers Monday, listing Bell as first and Rogers last.

Later that day, Keith McArthur, vice-president of social media for Rogers Communications, posted on the company's  Redboard blog that the speed results "only apply to customers’ specific Netflix connection and not overall internet speeds," which were much faster. He added that the test was conducted "just before we virtually doubled Netflix capacity."

That led some people to speculate that Rogers might be throttling or deliberately slowing down Netflix as part of its internet traffic management practices. If that were the case, it would be required to disclose the practice under Canadian net neutrality rules.

Rogers's social media team responded both on its blog and on Twitter that "We absolutely do not throttle traffic on our network."

University of Ottawa law professor Michael Geist, who specializes in issues related to the internet, wrote on his blog Tuesday that Rogers's responses "raise troubling questions about how Rogers manages its network and whether the slow Netflix speeds could have been used to create a competitive advantage for its own online video services."

He questioned why Netflix-specific links within the network were a problem and if Rogers separates Netflix traffic from other internet traffic.

Netflix traffic connects via special network

On Wednesday, Rogers's social media team responded that Netflix prefers internet providers to connect directly to Netflix via a network called "Open Connect."

"That’s why these results only apply to customers’ specific Netflix connection and not the overall internet speeds," wrote a spokesman named Rogers_Chris. "As traffic grows we need to increase capacity. Testing was done just before we added significant capacity to these links."

However, he denied that Rogers separates Netflix traffic from other traffic.

In the comments on the Rogers Redboard, RogersMike explained it this way: "Let’s say we have a two-lane highway to the Netflix building. Over time, the traffic gets more congested and more people are on the road, therefore the speed of the traffic slows down. 'Throttling' would be removing a lane. 'Adding capacity' is building another lane to allow traffic to move at a better, faster rate. Makes sense?"

He also urged customers to "wait and see how things turn out after the next survey."

Based on its latest survey late last year, CBC's Media Technology Monitor estimated about 5.8 million Canadians were using Netflix. A report released by Canadian networking services company Sandvine Inc. Wednesday suggests that Netflix accounted for more than a third of wired internet traffic in North America so far this year.

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