youtube shames and blames isps
July 7, 2014

YouTube Follows Netflix’s Lead, Blames ISPs For Poor Video Streaming Quality

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online

Yet another online video streaming service has started accusing Internet service providers for causing poor playback quality, as YouTube has joined Netflix in publically calling out broadband networks for performance issues.

As first reported Saturday by Zachary M. Seward and Herman Wong of Quartz, YouTube has started issuing “a report card for your delinquent ISP” in the form of a blue bar that appears beneath low-quality videos on the Google-owned website.

The blue bar includes a message which reads “Experiencing Interruptions?” and includes a button that says “Find out why.” Clicking on the button takes you to a new Google website that displays video playback quality reports for a wide variety of service providers throughout the world.

The message is similar to one launched in early May by Netflix, which drew the ire of Verizon and led the ISP to send a cease-and-desist letter to the video streaming service in early June. In that letter, Verizon claimed that they were unfairly being blamed for poor playback quality..

Shortly after being contacted by Verizon, Netflix announced that it planned to end its so-called ISP Speed Index program on June 16. However, the company – who said that the speed notification program was designed “to provide transparency and help consumers understand the Internet access they’re actually getting from their ISP” – would not rule out a return sometime in the future.

Now, just weeks after the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced its intention to get involved in the dispute and investigate the actual source of the video quality issues, YouTube has decided to pick up the gauntlet and similarly point the finger at ISPs for poor video streaming quality.

In fact, VentureBeat’s Tom Cheredar explains that Google’s website even compares the speed and service quality of a user’s network to other broadband connections available in his or her general area, and Hothardware’s Seth Colaner added that the company has established a program where networks “can become a YouTube HD Verified ISP,” meaning they can consistently deliver an uninterrupted 720p HD stream.

Jason Del Rey of Re/code said that Google first announced their Video Quality Report program about a month ago, and that a YouTube spokesman said that the report was “about educating people, not shaming ISPs.”

Even so, Colaner said that broadband providers were “no doubt fuming about this development, but with respect to Netflix, Google is a more formidable opponent” – perhaps suggesting that ISPs would be less willing to go head-to-head with the Mountain View, California-based tech giant than the smaller online content provider.


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