If you’re having trouble streaming a YouTube video, you may see a new message from the company blaming your internet provider.
Quartz was the first to notice that YouTube, which is owned by Google, now displays a notification on some videos that explains why streaming might be choppy. The message reads “Experiencing interruptions?” and prompts you to check out this site that rates how well YouTube videos stream when using various internet providers.
For example, here’s the rating YouTube gives Time Warner Cable’s internet service in New York City. It says the network works best with standard definition video, not high definition:
This is a similar tactic Netflix used a few weeks ago. A journalist from Vox Media noticed a message that blamed Verizon for slow video streams.
Verizon responded to the claim with a cease and desist letter, saying it was actually Netflix’s fault users experienced slower streams. Netflix eventually stopped showing the message, but said it was only because it was a test that had ended.
So, why are streaming video companies shaming internet providers like this?
One reason is because the FCC has a new proposal that would allow some internet services to pay for so-called fast lanes to consumers. For example, YouTube could pay Time Warner Cable to make people using the provider get the best streaming quality.
However, the concern is that allowing companies to pay for better access gives bigger companies an advantage and reduces competition from smaller startups. In the end, it could allow the big companies to grow even bigger and dominate the market, which is bad for consumers.
Streaming content companies like YouTube and Netflix want to make sure everyone has equal, fast access to their service, and the recent public shaming is their way of letting the public know internet providers are the ones in control.
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