NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Netflix streamers rejoice! Your movies and TV shows are streaming a lot faster now than they were a year ago.
On average, the top 10 Internet providers are sending Netflix streams your way 51% faster than last year. As Netflix explains, that means “better picture quality, quicker start times and fewer interruptions.”
According to Netflix, the average speed jumped from 2 Megabits per second to 3.1 Mbps between November 2013 and November 2014.
Mediacom customers in the Midwest saw the best improvement, with a 74% jump. Comcast and AT&T subscribers are experiencing much faster speeds as well.
Verizon FiOS, Cablevision and Brighthouse were already the fastest of the major providers, and they got even better over the past year.
The down side? You’re probably going to end up paying more for faster speeds. Netflix already raised its prices by $1 a month in May.
Consider this proof that Internet providers can indeed charge media services, including Netflix, for preferential treatment. Netflix noted that streaming speeds shot up at AT&T, Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Verizon “only after Netflix met their demand for interconnection payments.”
This is what the debate over net neutrality is all about: Should government more heavily regulate Internet providers to prevent them from charging companies for Internet fast lanes?
The cable providers say Netflix should pay its fair share for the huge amount of bandwidth it takes up. But Netflix and other media companies argue that broadband companies aren’t doing enough to improve their infrastructure by broadening their pipelines for streaming video.