The movie-streaming service Netflix reported last week that it now has 20 million subscribers, up from 12.3 million one year ago. Netflix’s growth has quickly made it a force in the entertainment business, but its increasingly popular service is putting steep demands on the Internet service providers responsible for delivering all those movies to customers’ homes—and prompting a simmering battle over who should carry the data costs.
Last week, Netflix released a report card ranking ISPs in the U.S. and Canada and their ability to handle Web video offered by the company. Measuring streaming rates in kilobits per second, Netflix ranked Charter and Comcast highest in the U.S. But it was the Canadian providers who stood out, with the top-ranked Shaw and Rogers (which owns Maclean’s) and the third-placed Bell beating out all the American ISPs.
The company says it will offer the reports monthly, keeping tabs on which ISPs remain Netflix-friendly.