Google Shames Slow U.S. ISPs With Its New YouTube Video Quality Report

The relationship between ISPs and large content providers like Netflix, Hulu and YouTube has become pretty contentious lately. To bring some transparency into how well ISPs deliver video content, Netflix launched its ISP Speed Index a while ago and today, YouTube is bringing a somewhat similar report to the U.S.

The Google Video Quality Report will show which ISPs in your area can sustain an HD YouTube video feed and which ones may only let you watch standard definition 360p video without buffering.

To become “HD Verified,” an ISP has to be able to show HD for more than 90 percent of streams over the last 30 days. The throughput required for this, Google tells me, is about 2.5 Mbps.

As an extra, the report also gives you some details about when people are watching YouTube videos in your town and how many of them are getting HD and SD streams.

Here is what this report looks like for San Francisco:


Google first published this data for Canada in January and it promises that it will also offer reports for other countries soon.

While Google is giving YouTube users some tips to improve their connections, there isn’t really all that much you can do beyond switching to an ISP that offers better bandwidth for video content. That is also why Google is releasing this report. For the most part, this amounts to public shaming, after all, and Google wants all ISPs to step up and become HD Verified. The better the video looks, the more you will watch and the more ads YouTube can serve.