Digicel and LIME identified by Netflix’s ISP Index as the Slowest in the Caribbean

Think Jamaicans are feisty about their slow Broadband Internet?

They may now have a reason after it was revealed that Digicel has the slowest Broadband in the Caribbean. So says Netflix in their Netflix’s ISP Index for the month of December 2014, which ranked all the Caribbean ISP in terms of their ability to Stream Netflix Video. The Rankings are as thus:

  • 3.53Mbps for Mexico’s Totalplay
  • 2.37Mbps for Flow
  • 1.38Mbps for LIME
  • 0.69Mbps for Digicel Broadband

Digicel is ranked by Netflix as the slowest in the Caribbean, with Mexico’s Totalplay being the fastest, besting even ISPs in US and Canada. However, Digicel isn’t alone; Jamaica overall has the slowest average broadband rates in the World.

Netflix’s Methodology for the results, which were captured in the month of January 2015, were based on an average rate during a three (3) hour of peak Prime Time as note in their statement, quote: “The Netflix ISP Speed Index lists the average prime time bitrate for Netflix content streamed to Netflix members during a particular month. For ‘prime time’ we take the peak three hours of Netflix streaming on a daily basis per ISP,” stated Netflix on its methodology”.

This Prime Time would be around 12pm to 3pm, when most working class people in Jamaica and School children turn to their smartphones, Tablets and computers to check their Social Media Statuses Online. At that time most Networks in the Caribbean will also be experiencing a logjam of traffic, making it the perfect facsimile for HD (High Definition) Streaming Video Traffic.

Netflix Methodology not Scientific – Can’t compare different types of Broadband

To be fair, this is not purely scientific, as Netflix is comparing different types of Internet; Wireless Broadband (3G and Wi-Fi), FTTH (Fiber to the Home) and Cable Broadband. So the declaration that Digicel is the slowest isn’t fair.

Still, our Blogger Horace pointed out in a two (2) part expose Digicel Jamaica WiMaX Review – Part 1 and Digicel Jamaica WiMaX Review – Part 2  when they’d originally launched back in August 2010 that Digicel’s service was slow.

To be fair, he later did a detailed follow-up of his experiences with Digicel 4G Broadband in September 2011 in the article Digicel WiMaX: One Year After Launch which wasn’t very flattering either.

Digicel in a statement when these results were published in the Jamaica Gleaner Wednesday February 4th 2015, responded as thus, quote: “Cable, fibre and DSL technologies offered by other telecommunications providers in Jamaica are different services designed for different uses to mobile and wireless Internet services delivered by Digicel. Therefore, it is misleading and unhelpful to compare the two”.

Netflix’s Service still Poor – Telecom Providers need 4G LTE for Faster Mobile Broadband

Then again, maybe most people weren’t watching Netflix due to their poor offerings as noted by Horace in his article Is Netflix a Netjoke?. So is this Netflix trying to deflect criticism about their lacklustre offerings by claiming that slow Broadband was the reason most people weren’t hip to paying US$8.99 per month for Streaming Netflix?

Maybe, but the issue of slow Broadband Internet has got many Caribbean Nationals all hopped up about slow Broadband speeds. This includes the BVI (British Virgin Islands), whose grouses about slow Broadband was directed at LIME.

So the experience is different for the other Caribbean islands; both LIME and Digicel have to improve their game with the coming 4G LTE (Long Term Evolution) Networks. Either that or face the continued wrath of customers and Regulators, the next time Netflix’s ISP Index  is updated and is cause for them to react to criticism about their Slooooooow Broadband Internet.

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Lindsworth is a Radio Frequency and Generator Maintenance Technician who has a knack for writing about his work, which is in the Telecoms Engineering Field. An inspired writer on themes as diverse as Autonomous Ants simulations, Power from Lightning and the current Tablet Wars.