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Open Connect: Celebrating a Decade of Smooth and Efficient Streaming


The year is 2012: Netflix had just premiered Lilyhammer, our first original series, and expanded to Europe, launching in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden. Even in the early days of streaming, with 2.4 billion internet users worldwide and rapidly ballooning, it was clear that easy and flexible access to high-quality entertainment over the internet was soon going to become the norm.

In anticipation of this growing demand from consumers and in line with our long-term vision of entertaining the world, we knew we had to invest in our own global content delivery network — and that’s how the Open Connect program was born. We developed an infrastructure that efficiently delivers quality entertainment to our members — no matter where they are around the world or what device they’re watching on — in partnership with internet service providers (ISPs) worldwide.

How does it work and what does this mean for our members?

Every time a member presses play, we want them to have the best possible viewing experience with high definition and no lag. We build and install servers close to where our members are, so Netflix’s shows and films are streamed from nearby, not from halfway around the world. To date we have 18,000 servers in 6,000 locations (and growing) across 175 countries. This reduces the load on networks, reducing traffic and costs for operators all around the world, which allows us to smoothly deliver fan favorites like Red Notice and Bridgerton seamlessly to members.

And what does it mean for our ISP partners?

Open Connect is built to collaborate with ISP partners around the globe. When we anticipate high streaming demand for popular content, Open Connect identifies the most efficient delivery route based on ISPs preferences, and ensures that the show or film is available on local servers ahead of time. So, even when demand is at its highest, members can be assured that they can access must-watch series like Squid Game and Stranger Things and join in real-time conversations around these global hits. This helps our ISP partners avoid paying extra fees for delivering content from a further distance. We estimate that in 2021 alone, the program helped ISPs to avoid $1.25 billion in spend, allowing the growing demand from consumers to be handled sustainably without having to build out additional network infrastructure over time. Additionally, our improved video compression technology means that Netflix now delivers content at half the bitrate of five years ago, lessening the load on all our networks.

What’s next?

As we look to the next decade of Open Connect innovation, we want to thank our partners and look forward to an even closer collaboration to entertain people everywhere. Netflix continues to invest in must-watch, fan-favorite series and films, and we hope to see network improvements that meets consumer demands and that the internet remains open and free without tolls on content usage online — so that people can continue to enjoy great stories from around the world.

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