Netflix: We are paying to make the internet better

Netflix has told Pocket-lint that it believes it is making the internet better for all of us, regardless of whether you use the service or not. The amount of money it invests in making sure the internet can stream its movies and TV shows to its customers is of benefit to even its rivals.

"We are providing a substantial amount of money to content delivery networks and they are using the money to build out the infrastructure," said Adrian Cockroft, the company's cloud architect.

"We are effectively funding the further development of the internet in terms of the backbone and the distribution of content."

In the US, Netflix is the primary user of bandwidth into people's homes. Independent figures indicate that around 40 per cent of peak traffic on a Saturday night is generated by people watching content on Netflix.

"What happens at the ISP level is that families upgrade to the next level [of service] and that generates more revenue for them to be able to expand their capabilities," Cockcroft said.  

To cope with the high demand and gradual rollout of the Netflix service around the globe, the company has taken a very different approach to other big internet organisations such as Facebook or Apple. Instead of having a large data centre full of computers in a warehouse in the middle of nowhere, Netflix uses a more global cloud-based option which it created in 2010.

"We made the decision to go cloud in 2010, but it means we have an infrastructure to stretching Netflix across the world without having to worry about whether or not a local data centre can handle the traffic," Cockcroft explained.

"We use the cloud to enhance and improve our personal recommendation algorithm and are constantly tweaking that on a weekly basis to see what works. The speed we can work because of the cloud is far better than if we didn't."

The end result is a service that lets you start watching a movie or TV show seconds after you press the play button, because the content is being streamed from your local ISP rather than from a data centre hundreds, if not thousands, of miles away.



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