YouTube shifts blame for slow video streaming to ISPs

YouTube wants its millions of users to know that it is not at fault for slow video playback. To that extent, the company has begun posting a message when this happens, redirecting the YouTube faithful to a new page where they can find out their Internet service provider’s speed and service quality.

According to VentureBeat, Re/code heard from a YouTube rep who denied that the uber-popular Google-owned video streaming service was out to shame ISPs.

The company’s motives are to simply educate viewers that it’s not YouTube that is responsible for the problem, but the ISP that the users use to access the Internet. Google’s new website analyzing ISP speed quality is “like a report card for your delinquent ISP,” according to Quartz.

One inspiration for YouTube’s move is Netflix, another major video streaming company. A few months ago, Netflix – the home of popular original programming such as Orange Is The New Black and the House of Cards – began displaying video messages during playback that pointed to ISPs as the reason for slow streaming or poor quality.

Netflix stopped the practice in June, but by then, the Federal Communications Commission – in the midst of a highly contentious battle over net neutrality – had noticed and began looking into whether the slow speeds were systematic and what can be done about it.

YouTube and Netflix are on opposite sides of the battle, as the net neutrality discussions center around allowing major ISPs – such as Comcast, Time Warner Cable and AT&T – to charge higher rates for faster access.

“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,” Quartz reported.