YouTube, following Netflix, is now publicly shaming internet providers for slow video

YouTube, following Netflix, is now publicly shaming internet providers for slow video By Zachary M. Seward and Herman Wong Jul 5 2014


When videos blur, buffer, or won’t play altogether, YouTube is now pinning the blame on your internet service provider. “Experiencing interruptions?” reads the message in a blue bar underneath choppy video, as seen in the above screenshot. Clicking “find out why” brings you to Google’s new website, where it displays video playback quality for internet service providers (ISPs) in various countries. It’s like a report card for your delinquent ISP. Google, which owns YouTube, has a strong interest in deflecting blame for poor video quality. The US government is considering new “net neutrality” regulations that could affect how information, particularly data-heavy streaming video, flows through the internet. ISPs would like to see more of the responsibility placed on video services like YouTube and Netflix, which account for a growing portion of internet traffic. YouTube’s new notification is similar to one Netflix recently displayed to customers. “The Verizon network is crowded right now,” it said, for instance, when video playback was slow. Verizon called the message“deliberately misleading” and threatened legal action. Netflix defended its finger-pointing but stopped doing it last month. The YouTube notification is more subtle, but the intent is the same. In Google’s view, ISPs are responsible for maintaining the capacity to deliver high-quality video streams. Internet providers argue that crowded networks are inevitable, and video services should find less congested routes for their data, including direct connections that ISPs charge money to set up. Video companies have derided those “fast lanes” even as they sometimes pay for them to improve quality of service. [snip]