However, the old days of limited, shared and/or slow networks are long gone. It is no longer acceptable to tell a consumer that they are and should be getting one speed, but that you (as an ISP) only guarantee something much slower. Back in the days of dial-up the phone companies and ISP would claim their lines were capable of pushing 56Kbps or higher, but the fine print would tell you that you they were not really offering that. The real speeds were much slower and fell between 19 and 28.8Kbs.
As we moved into broadband the term network congestion and usage came into play as well as distance to the CO (central office). These could now be used to explain why you were getting less than what you paid for when using DSL (Digital Subscriber Line). As companies moved into cable and fiber the excuses became less reasonable and the consumer knows it.
However the big ISPs still like to push the issue off on other things, it is not their fault, it is the pirates (Bit Torrent) or spammers, or the companies trying to stream media. It is never their network. Well as with other claims from ISPs, those excuses are being laid open to public scrutiny and are sounding more and more hollow.
After pushing the FCC for the ability to demand more money for better access from streaming media providers ISPs have tried to stand by their claims that it is not their fault, their state that their services work fine, so it must be on the other end.
To combat this claim companies like Netflix have been using transparency reports to show which ISPs have the most inconsistent service including posting a message to end users that their ISP might be having problems when a video is slow to load or needs to buffer again. Netflix is not the only company doing this, but they are one of the few big companies to make a real fuss about it. Well now they have company in the form of Google’s YouTube.
YouTube has started putting in-video messages to alert you to the reasons behind a slow or stuttering video. The alert will take you to a page (that has been around for a while) with more information on the situation. You will get an eyeful when you head over there as you will see some of the ISPs that throttle video performance the most. It will also explain why this might be happening and how it works. It is quite an informative page.
Hopefully with the attention draw to the throttling issue by Google and Netflix the ISPs will be force to do what they should have been doing all along, maintain and upgrade their networks to meet the service levels they are advertising and not simply try to blame it on everyone else. These tactics are simply not going to work in a word where every packet can be followed on it journey from server to end user.
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