Now that the Federal Communications Commission has decided to redefine net neutrality instead of enforcing it, content providers are turning to their consumers to pressure ISPs not to throttle their connection speed. Taking a page from Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX), Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) is now providing users with a Video Quality Report that tells them whether to expect decent streaming video from their ISP.
A YouTube HD Verified rating means that users should have consistently get 720p streaming video with fast loading times, Standard Definition means that YouTube videos should stream in 360p or better resolution with moderate loading times, and Lower Definition is Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL)’s polite way of telling you not to get your hopes up.
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The stats are based on ISPs in specific regions based on what’s available 90% of the time over a thirty day period. It doesn’t analyze individual results, which should keep privacy advocates happy, but it should give consumer more information about competing ISPs.
The video quality report isn’t quite as blunt as Netflix rankings
Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL)’s new service explains how internet traffic gets can get stuck in a bottleneck (shown as a series of tubes, of course) if the ISPs don’t pull their weight, and then explains the steps that it takes to ensuring high quality service. The implication is that when people are suffering through choppy video and slow loading times, they should blame it on the ISP not on YouTube.
Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL)’s approach to naming and shaming ISPs isn’t nearly as direct as the ranking system setup by Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) (which has criticized ISPs despite signing a deal with Comcast Corporation (NASDAQ:CMCSA) (NASDAQ:CMCSK) for better service). The ISP Speed Index lists ISP average speed by country and lets users toggle between an extensive list of ISPs or a shorter list of major providers.
FCC net neutrality rules allow for a tiered internet
These moves are a reaction against FCC head Tom Wheeler’s new rules that are best described as weak net neutrality. Net neutrality normally means that ISPs must treat all internet traffic equally, sending it along on a first-come, first-served basis, but under the new rules content providers would be allowed to pay for better service. It’s the IT equivalent of a fast lane that doesn’t bar anyone from using the internet, but creates a tiered service that will advantage established companies.