If you think your Internet connection does a poor job of streaming media, you may be right. A report by Google calls shows BrightHouse throttling YouTube and other video services.
Report Shows Bright House Video Quality Stuck in Standard Definition
Remember that Lightning package you bought from Bright House Networks? The one that promised to make everything faster and slicker than unicorn snot? Turns out that it's not so hot when it comes to streaming media.
According to the Google Video Quality Report, the Bright House network is only good for streaming Standard Definition (SD) media. In other words, the idea of Bright House throttling YouTube could be a reality.
Of course, the type of people who are likely to buy technology and Internet service want and expect High Definition (HD) quality. So why aren't we getting it?
The answer may depend upon the time you want to watch streaming media. Take a look at this chart showing the peak time for Bright House network slow video service.
If you're the kind of person who likes to watch streaming video between 3:00 am and 6:00 am in Orlando on Bright House networks, good news! You likely don't have a problem. For the rest of us on a typical domestic schedule, you can expect pauses and buffering when watching HD content via Bright House Network slow video service.
UPDATE: Two Years Later and Bright House Throttling YouTube Still at Standard Definition
I originally wrote this article June 2, 2014. As of August 27, 2016, the Google Report for Video Quality still shows Bright House throttling YouTube and other video services at a Standard Quality level.
Charter Communications recently purchased Bright House, but the operations still seem to be the same. I honestly don't expect Charter to make any improvements, but that would be a welcome surprise.
I am a customer of Bright House networks for both consumer and professional services. They always like to tell me about improvements in the network, but I just don't see it. Apparently, Google doesn't see it, either. While I do believe that Bright House is making improvements for bandwidth capacity, I don't see any improvements in the quality of service.
If your network device have to constantly request a re-transmit for video, it doesn't matter how much bandwidth you have to spare. In other words, it is your connection consistency that translates into buffering problems, not your bandwidth capacity.Is Bright House throttling YouTube? Google says it is.Click To Tweet
It's Not Just Bright House
Google didn't create its video quality report just because of Bright House, though. Internet Service Providers across the country are putting the squeeze on content providers. Netflix recently paid Comcast to improve the streaming quality of its content, as its streaming video became slower and slower on the Comcast network.
Sounds like extortion to me.
Comcast and other Internet Service Providers make their money by charging for access. That's fair. The household customer pays and the business customer pays. However, greedy ISPs sold more capacity than they can deliver. As demand for Internet service rises, they need to replace infrastructure to handle the capacity and quality requirements. Where are they going to get that money?
They do it by inventing new fees for services previously rendered. They re-interpret the contracts that customers signed. For instance, we may purchase a plan for 90 Mbps service, but they never said how many bits we get to use before they throttle our performance.
In truth, that's the lie. If they throttle the performance, the Internet Service providers are no longer delivering 90 Mbps Internet service.
Details. They can't be bothered with logic or facts.
Netflix cannot survive if it can't deliver a quality product, so it paid the multi-billion dollar Comcast machine and voilà! Suddenly the problems disappeared. Any reasonable person knows that Comcast didn't upgrade its infrastructure that quickly. It simple turned off the throttle on Netflix traffic. Extortion works.
Google Is Not Netflix
Netflix is small potatoes compared to Comcast. However, Google is huge. Google recently passed Exxon/Mobil to join Apple was one of the two most valuable companies in the world, and it also wants to deliver HD video. YouTube is a money-making machine that relies upon Internet Service Providers to deliver streaming video content.
Unlike Netflix, Google can fight with the 800 pound gorilla on equal (or better) terms. One of the ways Google does that is by using information.
Google's Video Quality Report is a brilliant strategy. While Internet Service Providers like Bright House Network love to tout how fast they perform, Google's report shows that isn't the entire picture when it comes to getting what you want. For example, look at the services that Google certified for HD video streaming.
AT&T U-Verse is technically a much slower service than Bright House Network standard offering, operating around 6 Mbps. Yet it delivers a much more reliable service for HD streaming video. Suddenly, Bright House Network looks like the emperor with no clothes.
What Can You Do About Bright House Network Slow Video Service?
In the past, all you could do is complain to your Internet Service Provider about poor performance. If that ISP is Bright House Network, here's how it goes. A
minion support technician will perform some rudimentary tests to prove that your service meets the criteria that they sold you.
Mind you, this is not the same thing as resolving your actual problem. Your problem is slow video performance. Bright House Network will instead test how long it takes a ping to get from one of their servers to your cable modem. Then it will test the speed at which your cable modem can download a test file from their network.
There's a certain logic to those tests. Bright House controls its own network and can't be responsible for the performance of anything outside on the Internet. Seems valid. So you're getting what Bright House Network promised to deliver. Yet you still have poor quality video.
They will never tell you that some other part of their network is throttling YouTube or other content coming from the Internet. Technically, they never promised you fast performance from Netflix or YouTube. They certainly imply it in their marketing, but not in the contract you sign.
So with this proof that everything is alright with your cable modem, your complaint about the quality of service you receive quietly dies.
Maybe It's Time To Change Internet Service Providers
Are you sick of Bright House throttling YouTube and other video providers?
If you want to do something that gets attention from Bright House Network, leave them for one of the other providers shown to have reliable HD streaming service. If enough of us hit them in the pocketbook, maybe Bright House will change its ways. Even my mother has already done it and she's thrilled with her U-Verse service.
Maybe that's why Google is sharing this video quality report in the first place. If the Internet Service Providers aren't willing to deliver the service they imply, Google will provide information to shift the user base to someone else who does provide a quality service.
Smart. Effective. Surprisingly inexpensive to combat Comcast, Time Warner and Bright House, too.