When Netflix announced its expansion to Africa earlier in the year, the excitement of most Africans had been tangible, wrapped up in the coinage Netflix and Chill.
Unfortunately, though, the continent’s Netflix lovers were to be introduced to a different phenomenon, Netflix and Buffer.
Where Netflix and Chill held promise for cool afternoons and evenings with friends, parked in front of a TV, binge watching a favored show, the poor connectivity in most countries on the continent ensured an erratic streaming experience.
Slow internet would plague the enjoyment of Netflix in Africa and the Netflix and buffer experience soon frustrated some to the point of foregoing the Netflix experience altogether.
Even where internet was relatively stable, pricey data plans became another problem, making Netflix and buffer ventures unduly expensive. With the streaming giant’s goal of capturing a new and expansive market in Africa, these two problems needed to be surmounted.
Netflix can do very little about how much local internet service providers charge for their data plan so it is no wonder that the streaming giant is focused on fixing the issue of slow and spotty internet for its African users.
To that end, Netflix has deployed a dedicated server in Nigeria in partnership with Spectranet, a local internet service provider. This dedicated Netflix server “will hold the entire Netflix content library” and will provide customers “with the best possible video streaming performance.”
Netflix’s deployment of a dedicated server brings to mind one of the reasons why Africa’s internet is really slow; most of the content Africans access is likely being loaded from servers in a different continent.
Basically, every time you click on a link to a web page, your device sends a request that is routed to a server where the web page is hosted, and the data for the page is sent back to you. Now imagine if that server is tens or hundreds or thousands of miles away; although the data is moving fast it will take time to travel the great distance.
Netflix is also depending on its video compression technology, which compresses more data through more advanced encoding to giver users the best possible streaming experience for those places on the continent where it does not yet have servers.