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YouTube starts shaming ISPs for delivering awful streaming

Published Jul 7th, 2014 10:19AM EDT
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Move over, Netflix — you’re no longer the only video streaming service capable of shaming ISPs. Quartz notices that YouTube has started delivering small pop-up messages in videos that are experiencing slow buffering that invite you to “find out why” you’re “experiencing interruptions.” When you click on the message, you’re taken to Google’s new website that documents ISPs’ video streaming quality and shows you that your ISP happens to be doing a bad job of getting you the video you want to watch.

Quartz points out that Google’s new YouTube notifications are much more subtle than the notifications that Netflix started using earlier this year, but they’re still designed to foist the blame for shoddy streaming squarely onto your ISP.

Google, Netflix and other streaming services have been involved in peering disputes with ISPs over who should be responsible for upgrading ISPs’ interconnection infrastructure, and they haven’t been shy about publicly embarrassing ISPs whenever streaming quality drops. Netflix was the first to publicly call out an ISP for subpar streaming when it started sending out messages to uses on Verizon’s network informing them that Verizon was to blame for their poor experience.

This angered Verizon, although Netflix was seemingly spurred into action by the fact that streaming quality on Verizon has actually been getting worse despite the fact that Verizon and Netflix reached a peering agreement earlier this year in which Netflix agreed to pay Verizon money in exchange for improving its interconnection quality.

Brad Reed
Brad Reed Staff Writer

Brad Reed has written about technology for over eight years at and Network World. Prior to that, he wrote freelance stories for political publications such as AlterNet and the American Prospect. He has a Master's Degree in Business and Economics Journalism from Boston University.