If you’ve ever had to deal with a Netflix video that buffers itself into a blurry, low-quality mess, you’ve probably wondered whom to blame. If you’re like most people, your first instinct is to blame your broadband provider for buffering. But new reports and data from the FCC, MIT, and even Netflix itself show that edge providers are responsible for Internet congestion. William Check explains in a blog post for NCTA:
So what do these reports reveal? The FCC shows ISPs are generally over-delivering on speeds in the last-mile. MIT says the core interconnection points are not congested, except those related to Netflix. And Netflix’s own report implicating ISPs turns out to calculate things ISPs have no control over. So if we assume your home network is functioning properly (you can call your ISP to check) these reports confirm that edge providers, in this case Netflix, are a source of persistent congestion which can lead to buffering and a less-than-HD experience.