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Telstra and Optus hit back as Google tells users which ISPs are to blame for laggy YouTube clips

Friday, 13 June 2014 | By Andrew Sadauskas

A Google blog post in which the company claims it wants to help customers better understand the video quality available from their ISPS, has upset local providers.


“If you’re regularly seeing a buffering wheel when you play YouTube videos, it’s important to know why,” the Google blog post says.


“Starting today, Aussies can use the Google Video Quality Report to better understand the video quality available from their Internet service providers.”


Telstra and Optus have pointed out a variety of factors that affect video quality after Google ranked them on a three-tier scale based on the speeds at which at least 90% of its users are able to download videos from YouTube.


A Telstra spokesperson told StartupSmart the findings of the report are a general snapshot only and are based solely on the experience of streaming YouTube videos.


“As such, the findings do not reflect the actual experience of our broadband services given the array of different ways our customers enjoy the internet,” the spokesperson says.


“We agree there is great demand for broadband and there are differences in the broadband internet speeds across the country. This is why we continue to invest in the Telstra network and why the investment being made in broadband through the National Broadband Network is very important.”


“Telstra fixed broadband customers are generally capable of streaming high definition video, however there are many factors which affect network performance, including network configuration, a customer’s equipment and software, and the number of people using a connection, which are not accounted for in the report. Of course, we also offer our mobile network which is not covered in the report.”


Meanwhile, an Optus spokesperson told StartupSmart the carrier uses a number of network measures to provide a good customer experience, “including our network monitoring and internal and external test results.”


“There are many factors that determine video streaming quality on fixed networks, including, the source of the content, network type (ADSL 2+, Cable or NBN), distance of customer’s house from the network exchange, number of concurrent users on the network and the state of the customer’s connection,” the spokesperson says.


The Google report looked at data gathered over the last 30 days, with the results segmented by ISP and geographic location.


The Report also lets users see the video quality other ISPs in their area are delivering.


Under the top ranking (“HD Verified”), most users experience smooth playback at high-definition (720p or above), users of “Standard Definition” ISPs can expect smooth playback on standard-definition YouTube videos (360p). Users of “Lower Definition” ISPs can expect interruptions while playing YouTube videos at 360p.