Google to start naming and shaming ISPs that offer a poor YouTube viewing experience

BY Stefan Constantinescu

Published 27 Jan 2014

While I don’t have the exact number in front of me, I’m pretty confident in saying that YouTube is responsible for a significant amount of the traffic that passes through both wired and wireless networks. Depending on which ISP you’re using, YouTube is either amazing or it’s a complete mess. For me, depending on the time of the day, I either get stuck viewing a video in 360p or 480p, never HD. Other times, the HD videos load fine. Which ISPS offer the best YouTube performance and which ISPs are the worst? Google will soon be able to tell you.

Starting at some point this week, you’ll be able to see a list of internet service providers in your area and how well they stream YouTube videos. The best rating is “HD Verified”, meaning that 90% of the time you click on a video, you’ll get the high definition version in the blink of an eye.

What exactly are you going to do with this data? That’s the big question. If you live in America, it’s not like you have a ton of options. You either get your internet from the phone company or from the cable TV company or … that’s it. Europe is a little better with regard to competition, and I haven’t got the faintest idea as to what’s happening in Asia.

Can an ISP do something to improve their YouTube streaming capabilities? Sure, they could invest in bigger pipes and better connections to fatter backbones, but that would cut into their profits.