updated 03:39 pm EDT, Thu May 29, 2014
Report shows streaming performance of YouTube videos over 30-day period
Google is expanding the coverage of its Video Quality Report to all Internet service providers in the United States. Originally launched in Canada in January, the service monitors the quality of connections between YouTube servers and the end user, with ratings provided for each ISP in an attempt to pressure telecommunication companies to improve their services.
Just as with its service in Canada, Google provides one of three ratings for an ISP. To be YouTube HD Verified, a service needs to be able to stream 720p video at least 90 percent of the time with quick loading times, with a Standard Definition rating given for at least a 360p stream with moderate loading. Lower definition ratings will be provided in cases where the ISP permits video at a sub-360p resolution with slow loading and occasional rebuffering. Results offered are based on individual regions as well as the ISP, with ratings based on video served over a 30-day period.
Jay Akkad, Product Manager for YouTube, advises in a blog post the report will be available to users in other countries in the coming months.
Connection speed is a hot topic for streaming businesses, with various services having to make peering agreements with providers in order to provide a higher quality of service to viewers, sometimes at a price. While Comcast and Verizon have made public agreements with Netflix, causing the FCC to investigate the practice, Google Fiber recently announced it would be providing free access and server storage in its facilities. Google Fiber claims the policy is a win-win-win situation, as it benefits customers, streaming services, and Google Fiber itself, and since it benefits from reduced bandwidth costs, it does not see the need to charge for its peering agreements.