YouTube Is Naming And Shaming Australian ISPs For Poor Speeds

Netflix has spent the last few months shaming slow ISPs for their terrible service and speeds, and now Google is out to do the same, expanding its ISP HD streaming report to Australia. The results aren't pretty.

Google is now measuring ISPs based on their ability to stream HD content to customers from its content delivery networks (CDNs).

Australian ISPs have been under the Google microscope of late, and the results are unsurprising: unless you have the NBN, your YouTube experience probably sucks.

Here's how Google measures ISPs:

A typical YouTube video playback consists of a YouTube client (player) fetching video bytes in a streaming fashion from a YouTube server (CDN), in one or more requests (e.g. HTTP GET). The first step in determining ISP ratings is to measure the sustained speed at which these video bytes are transferred from server to the client. To measure the achieved application level throughput (goodput), the following are recorded for each request:
1) Request Identity: The originating request's timestamp, access network (e.g. network block, autonomous system number of ISP) and the coarse geographical location (e.g. country, metro), derived from client attributes such as IP address, User Agent, etc. Note that the IP to location translation done by our automated systems may return a location that is incorrect for some users. 2) Response Size: The number of application bytes (including application headers but excluding any kernel level overhead) transferred by the server to the client, in response to the request. 3) Response Time: The time taken to service the request by server, including network transmission time (all bytes acknowledged by the receiver).
Based on these measurements, the goodput for a given request 'R' is computed using the formula below. Each measured request is considered a goodput sample.

From there, Google and YouTube assign each ISP a rating. To achieve a certified HD rating as an ISP, your results need to indicate that 90 per cent of connections made are able to sustain a HD (720p and above) stream.

Only four stand-out performers earned themselves gold stars from Google and YouTube: one is Telstra Cable Broadband; another two are NBN providers (SkyMesh and Activ8Me), and the fourth is Service Elements, a wholesale network provider.

One of the poorest performers on average is Dodo, ranking low on HD streams around the nation.

Check out your ISP results here, and compare the ones that maintain good connections to see if you should switch. [YouTube]



    from my experience distance from exchange (and probably congestion) plays a massive part in your quality of service here, as it does for all aspects of internet, i used to be on dodo and pretty close to the exchange and the qos was markedly better then my current iinet connection where im about as far away from the exchange as possible, struggles to keep a 720p stream going and 1080 would be a laugh

      I think even the line to my home being too old might be making a difference here during peak hours. I'm close to the local exchange but still have problems later in the day.

        That is actually a network congestion issue then, could be your ISP, could be the DSLAM provider's. Talk to your ISP about that.

      Not sure if you're referring to something else but I'm fairly certain that the YouTube report is more relating to back haul congestion and deliberate shaping of traffic from certain sites to the end user.

      2 issues with your response, distance from exchange affects service because copper has resistance. Longer the copper, higher the resistance. It's generally the higher frequencies that are lost, hence ADSL heavily affected by attenuation.

      What you termed QoS is totally unrelated to actual QoS. QoS deems which packets are more important (by rules) and shunts traffic accordingly. Effectively prioritising traffic.

      Fury you are absolutely spot on with your distance to exchange theory among other tech info (I won't go into here) the greater your cable run the higher the resistance as well as the amount of times your cable has been jointed, unfortunately with the watering down of the nbn don't expect any better in the near future

        Surely copper running to a node in your street is better than running all the way to the exchange.

        Unless you mean the rollout has mostly stopped? It's all going around here. Yesterday there were people all down the street pulling something through several ducts.

          The unfortunate part which you are lead to believe is there would be a node in your street under the new nbn plan... That would be highly unlikely! In order for them to service everyone the nodes will be laid out in the same fashion as current RIMs are... You may well be 2km from a node with the new nbn typically watering down your ADSL speed to 7mbps... The fact they are still using the archaic and absolutely WEATHERED and OLD copper is the issue with that.

          We currently have the exact same structure happening - Fibre is lead to a RIM which can then service more homes through copper distribution. They are pulling wool over your eyes it will be slightly better for 50% of people(getting 10mbps instead of say 3mbps) and potentially worse for 50%

          I am on HFC cabl and get roughly 80mbps... That kind of speed will not be acheived under this nbn

            That's not correct. There are around 2900 exchanges across Australia at the moment with an average service capacity of around 800 each. Current plans are for 30,000 nodes, and the NBN node trial announced two weeks ago has 1000 nodes covering 200,000 premises, at an average capacity of 200 premises per node, in line with the planned density. Based on those figures alone, you're looking at four to ten times the node density compared to exchange density. Higher node density means lower average distance to the nearest node.

              Yes in theory there are ways you can spin it but unfortunately the one thing that numbers dont and never will account for in Australia is the geographical limitations... Are you honestly suggesting that 200 premises out towards rural areas are going to be the same distance from each other as 200 premises in the CBD???

              It is severely flawed and only looking to improve the overall average for Australian speeds... It has nothing to do with giving the end user a superior product

                I don't know why you'd take the average across all exchanges (urban and rural) and apply it to rural areas as though it was the norm there. That's not how averages work. Exchange density is much lower in regional areas than in urban centres, and higher in urban areas. Nodes follow the same principle - eg. there may be 50 premises per node in rural areas and 800 per node in the CBD. The average is 200, which makes node density considerably higher than exchange density, regardless of the region.

                  I dont think Telstra are going to be looking at node density in such a way...

                  Either way it is an inferior product to today's standards! 800 per node in CBD - 200 users are suffering at least. 50 nodes in rural... up to 20-30 of them could be at extended line length from these nodes... It wont work in such a large country with such disparate settlements

                  I dont care I'm getting fibre to the premises in my area anyway I just feel for the general public - Besides the fact that line length is sucha variable in the equation - Do you actually understand the quality/age of the copper infrastructure - ESPECIALLY in the distribution pairs?!
                  I worked with C&M in Telstra for years and its NEVER been up to scratch for ADSL let alone trying to throw high speed services down it.

                  A lad opened up a lead cable down on West Tce in Adelaide 2 years ago - Pride tag was from 1922 - YES the last time anyone had looked at that joint or had to patch up that section of cable was in 1922.... 1922 technology does not translate to a technology which will put Australia on the map for the future. It is dumb and it is only to keep Telstra in the monopoly of owning the comms infrastructure in Australia because their attempts at becoming a media comms company have all but failed! MOG?! Really you gonna compete with Spotify?! When such endeavours didnt work they just kept pointing back to NBN and trying to sway that contract all the time. It is disgraceful that as a nation we will be held back by someone in parliament holding a corporations hand....

                  If you think FTTN is a good viable cheap quicker option then you are a fool too. With the state of the copper network FTTN is simply not viable! Telstra will need remediation to be taken on most of the ESAs which will be sponsored by ACMA and the government as it currently and always has been - Government gives Telstra a certain amount of money to keep their cables in top shape and if they dont do something in time they get fined./.. But of course if you can explain why no fines.... So Telstra just looking for another scheme where they own and operate the infrastructure then take take take instead of giving back!

            Hmmm, either way, fibre is on the way to my place, expected around November. My area was somehow one of the ones left in when the government changed. About 25% of the area is connected so far.

              My whole ESA is under HFC but for some reason they started the fibre rollout there a few years back... Some areas are live already and ive just seen more fibre in an adjacent street again a couple of weeks back. Green fibre already running down my street just gotta find out when its going live

          they probably just removed the fibre to sell it back for crack money :P

    If this isn't a wake up call to our government that even watching video content is a hassle with our current internet infrastructure then I don't know what is, however I would be interested to know which locations they tested each ISP at as my ADSL2+ connection is able to stream 1080p video with no interruptions from the buffer animation along with 1440p.

    Actually this data is based on the end to end connection, i.e. including wifi. Because Wifi is likely to be the weakest point in most connections, this makes it a measure of wifi connections to Youtube, hardly an "Australian" measure.

    Worse, if you think that most youtube downloads are onto tablets or smartphones, wifi is likely to be the majority of downloads

      This. 100 thousand times this.

      At home on my PC connected via ethernet I can stream 1080p easily. On my laptop I might get 720p if I'm near the router and 480 if at the other side of the house.

      You can't fairly judge an ISP based on wifi connection speed.

        you can because ISPs should (are saposse to) be able to deal with packets being dropped the whole way through from A to Z, its the name of the game. Sure we could probably all agree the most packets are dropped from the WiFi end but the speed from an ISP should be able to pick up the slack.

        So to your comment and the one above, yes they can be judged by this.

        Last edited 07/07/14 7:31 pm

          Your ISP is NOT responsible for the client end communication, from your device to your router is your issue, not theirs.

            I don't think you understood with redex said.

              Oh I understood, WiFi is still irrelevant in the scheme of the article, it's still not an ISP issue. It's a physical network provider issue.

            no router under $1000 can give you lossless communication so when the isp is not keeping up with current trends but router manufactures are, the isp is to blame,

              Show me a router, any router, that can provide no packet loss over wifi

                yeah i know, was only trying to make a point that it is hard, as the process of packet dropping is built right into Layer 2 and 3. So no I cannot show you one, but im sure the juniper and cisco high end core routers get pretty close

          You lost me at "saposse"

            oh wow so because i used a word that isnt a word but everyone knows what it means then everything i said is invalid. good life you must lead there, im sure its full of lots of friends and happiness. get real dude!

              Hey be nice, i am or have all those things plus a NZ education and it still lost me.... ;)

                k i edited it to make it more standard english

            Hell I even googled it thinking I was missing something...!

          No, you can't. If your ISP is delivering 20mbps to you but you're losing 75% of that to packet loss between your router and device, there is nothing the ISP can do to improve your experience and it is in no way their responsibility to do so. The fault lies in your environment (interference, distance) or your equipment, not in the ISP's delivery speed.

          ISPs are responsible for everything up to and not including the point where the physical cable enters your premises. If you live in an apartment, that means the central junction box, NOT your individual socket. If there is a fault anywhere from the entry point onwards, it is your (or your landlord's) responsibility.

          @johnbutt and @tonyintsv are correct. In the above scenario, YouTube will register an average speed of 5mbps for your connection, even though your ISP is delivering a successful 20mbps service.

            but since our ISP networks are not up to scratch when they them selves have a large amount of packet loss aswell ontop of the packet loss you are getting from your home devices it does come into play then and so they should be shamed.

              If the report was limited to that, I'd agree absolutely, but that's a hard thing for websites to measure in isolation.

                Thanks Zombie Jesus, Finally someone who can understand the big picture. I still however find this to be accurate information.

          you might be 50 feet away behind 4 walls and have a speed of 4 megabits. no matter how fast your internet (and I have 110 down and 40 up) at that crappy speed there is no way in hell they can fix it.

          this goes double because while my tech is good enough to connect to my ac cisco commercial router my roomies are stuck with the dodgy ISP wireless. they can get 5 megabits a second and I can get 110 on both gigabit cable and my cisco wireless.


      What makes you think WiFi is the weakest link?

      Bit rate (Mbit/s)
      Standard Peak Down Peak Uplink
      WiFi: 802.11a 54 54
      WiFi: 802.11b 11 11
      WiFi: 802.11g 54 54
      WiFi: 802.11n 600 600
      WiFi: 802.11ac 1,300 1,300

      At half their rated peak all except 802.11b should be able to handle HD streaming. WiFi performance on phones could be much less than these however.

        Can they hit even half their rated peaks in real world conditions though?

          If you are on g or n and within a few meters of the router you should have no issue streaming HD content.

          802.11g - ~20 Mbps downstream
          802.11n - 40-50 Mbps typical.

          HD content streams at around 8Mbps on YouTube.

          Last edited 08/07/14 9:13 am

        Interference and distance makes wifi the weakest link. Theoretical peak speeds are never seen in practice, and the structural design and composition of the building and distance between the device and the WAP has a significant effect on sustainable bandwidth.

        This is their theoretical max speed. have you ever truly stood beside a wireless n router and been able to transfer at 36 megabytes per second? no way in hell. I can get 40 with my wireless n cisco 10 feet away in an open room. 40 = less than 400mbps

    can someone just tell me the best and worst. just a list of 5 of each would be great. thanks heaps. oh, and if you have time a photo of a cat wearing some sort of shark costume, that would be great.

      Cat in shark costume, riding a roomba and chasing a duckling. Got'cha covered.

        forget the best and worst list. this is why I come to giz.

        Huzzah!! Two internets and a bottle a shandy my good man! Pip pip!

    iiNet here and they are saying standard def...which is pretty much on the money for me.

    My net can be painfully slow and I think it is because of the area, I am still stuck on ADSL 1 like I'm living in the 00s! Can't even get ADSL2+, I could go cable but would end up paying a fortune with Telstra.

    Kind of annoyed since the NBN is in (or scheduled very very soon) across the road (20m) but nothing for our side.

      I'm on ADSL1 and 20 mins north of Brissy. Telstra reckon that my exchange doesn't need upgrading. I avg 1.5 - 2.5mbs for $100 month. Cant use anyone else as Telstra wont allow others into my area.

        You do know Telstra resells their ADSL to other ISPs who might be able to give it to you cheaper and with better customer service etc...

      Cable isn't that much. I pay about $104 a month for 200 gigs of data- that includes home phone line rental cost.
      The speed is good. :)

    Hmm... No data for Internode.

    For me youtube goes fairly decently most of the time but sometimes my internet chugs along between 3pm and 5pm which does coincide with kids getting home from school.

      Likely congestion from being stuck on a Telstra or Optus DSLAM, ring Internode about that, they may be able to swap you to their own (or iiNet's) non-congested DSLAMs (and possibly save you cash).

    There are 43 service providers selling services over the NBN in my area and SkyMesh is the only one on the list.

    Maybe now Google might remove the buffer limit of Videos going to Australian connections. That would be great kayyyy thanks.

    This is the most rubbish I've seen in a long bloody time. ISPs (unless you're on Telstra/Optus Cable) are NOT responsible for the telephone line or fibre that they deliver their service across.... The MAIN factors are two fold the exchange equipment (you could be stuck on a 1.5mbit DSLAM) which Telstra won't upgrade because it's not worth their money (and somewhat due to NBN coming), second factor is the line itself (in copper terms) how long it is and how bad it's condition is.

    ISPs are at the whim of the line/hardware provider so shaming them won't do crap. Shame Telstra for letting the network degrade into the mess it's in now.

    Shame on Gizmodo and Google for posting this junk.

      This was originally done for the American market where most often the ISP does own the infrastructure and more often than not there is only a single provider.

      A little different in Australia.

      The graphs reveal a lot more than just overall speed, take a look at Optus, the ratio between HD and SDdrop dramatically during peak times, this is indicative of network congestion which is exactly what this service was created to measure. I can say from experience going from Optus to Internode that those charts line up exactly with my experience, Optus oversells bandwidth and as such suffers greatly at times during peak use, compared to the much MUCH rarer congestion issue on Internode. Whilst ISPs cannot overcome limitations of line quality many do NOT regularly provide what the line is capable of, so if your shaming telstra for letting it degrade you should be shaming the other poorer quailty ISPs doubly so for being far worse.

      I should add that when I say Optus I mean specific Optus from Adelaide, don't know how it fairs elsewhere

      Last edited 07/07/14 5:53 pm

    don't ISP's store youtube data in cache? so that when another user decides to view a video that other people have seen before(Gangnam Style), keeps all data local instead of downloading international traffic several billion times over and over?
    doing it this way also helps with buffering speeds, so really googles claim at slow ISP's is nonsence.

    Last edited 07/07/14 4:28 pm

      just did some googling, most australian ISP's cache youtube data, speeds should be fine.

    Mr Zobel, perhaps leave the drama for acting school.

    I can tell you for a fact that ISP buy bandwidth and resell it to their clients, in efforts to save money they shape/scale/limit your data tunnel when certain content is accessed. If you use TPG for instance, they don’t own the hardware Telstra or Optus do so its the same as most other ISP’s but they use sophisticated software to detect where the requested data is coming from and limits the speed. Why do they do this you ask? Its simple to make more money from the chunk of data they purchased. They selling unlimited data for 60 bucks, this is how they can do it.

    I have used 3 ISP in one location with the same hardware, there were massive differences.

      You're on the right ideology zzz but came to the wrong conclusion. TPG's consumer business is a volume based one and if they shaped things somebody would have blown the whistle by now and they wouldn't have customer's. ISPs speeds slow down due to peak usage times as you will observe in graphs and as to how tpg can afford to provide internet at 60 dollars per month is because they own a lot of te backed such as dark fibre etc which subsidises their DSL business.

      So what you're saying is you can't blame TPG because it's not their hardware, backbone network. Exactly.

      Yes there are some dodgy ISPs out there throttling traffic but they're cheap and you should expect crap service. Most ISPs rent the copper line, DSLAM hardware AND fibre backhaul FROM Telstra/Optus who over-subscribe and under-maintain their hardware to push profits.

    I use TPG at home and at work.

    Work is fine.

    Home would always buffer to the point it was pointless watching youtube. However once I changed to Getflix, it works better than I've ever had. TPG really need to investigate WTF is happening with their DNS routes.

      It's unlikely it's to do with DNS issues but you can try google public DNS just to see if that might be faster.

    I don't know if my opinion is naive, however I do notice that google services have been slower as of late particularly youtube and this is across connections, computers and even on fibre networks like university and work, and if you notice in the graphs all the videos play on SD in most cases hardly any LD which means the internet connections are at least 1.5 down otherwise that wouldn't be possible right?.... Shift of blame?

    So iiNet are an "SD" service according to that list. I don't see what they can do about that though. I'm with iiNet, and I'm getting about 8mbs sync speed, I don't see any differences in speed at various times of the day, it's very constant. I don't see how they can improve this connection at all. The limitations are purely around the quality and length of cabling from the exchange to my house. That isn't their cabling, they can't change that.

    I'm all for naming and shaming, but we should be practical here. Lets look at how well an ISP against the sync speed of a connection, that's what they have control over. That's the reason Dodo is so crap. If your syncing at 8mbs and can barley download at 25kbs, there's a problem further up the line, possible with your ISP. Lets look at those numbers, the ones that these companies we're naming and shaming actually have control over.

      @moonhead Its good to see your getting a good speed there. iiNet in general try to over compensate for the number of users they have in back-haul at the exchange so that no matter how many people are online everyone will get a good speed.

      SYNC speed and distances from the exchange with ADSL is one thing that determines speed, but also the throughput and actual download speeds is another. Providers who offer "unlimited" will usually be over-subscribed so there is very little bandwidth for all their users during peak times hence the slowdown.

      iiNet have download quotas for a reason. It means that they are able to have that backhaul bandwidth available for all their customers. You do get what you pay for.

    Does the Editor even bother to see if a story has been posted before? Seems to happen alot on Giz/Kotaku

    Last edited 07/07/14 5:30 pm

    Maybe the editor can email Telstra! Who most would agree are F*^@wits.

    So, basically everything that's not on the NBN or Telstra's cable (i.e. Everything on the copper network) is pathetic.

    The surprises just don't stop coming tonight.

    Thats a joke.

    Does everyone realize that skymesh and activ8me are NBN satellite providers? A service that on a good day is capable of supplying at best 6 megabit down and 1 megabit up. That doesn't take into account that NBN satelitte is a interim service due to be upgraded next year. A service that is already over subscribed and free installation was supplied through the Australian government. Yes, how dare them supply a slow internet speed to people that cannot get any other type of service. Heres a good way to not have slow internet speeds. Don't live in the middle of nowhere. To blame ISP's for slow speeds with ADSL is joke as well. You could have the largest amount of backhaul bandwidth to supply that customer at the exchange but will mean very little if that a 4.5kms from the exchange with .4 gauge cable resulting in a sync speed of about 1.5megabit. Australia does need to get with the times but seriously, blaming an ISP for slow speeds if its due to physical limitations of infrastructure available is just stupid.

      exactly, blame the liberal party and all the morons who voted for them

      Not just physical limitations of the network but also end user setup.

      Bitching at Telstra "I can't watch youtube" while sitting by the pool where the router is upstairs and the signal has to go through 2 brick walls as well as the hedge shrubs you planted around the pool to increase your privacy is stupid

      This is my mother and many other, many not of the older generation. Have explained to her that it won't work like that, to which she replies "my phone used to work here" Of course it did, you had it set to switch to mobile data if you lost WiFi, thats why you got a $600 excess usage bill!!! (Yes she continued to use it even though she received the SMS at 50%, 80%, 100% 125%, 150%....)

    As long as the video doesn't pause momentarily to buffer, I'm not concerned

    Dear @theadamtron Australia is a first world country with third world internet. A lot of people work in the outback positively contributing to the Australian economy which allows you to afford you the luxuries you enjoy. If technology does not move forward it moves backward. The only people who are happy with the status quo are people with access to higher internet speeds and government officials who do not feel the country is worth investing in. O wait ... Mr Abbott is that you?

      @shsguy I absolutely agree with you and I think you completely miss my point.

      Australia does have a second rate internet speeds internationally.

      I work for a major ISP and am well aware of the infrastructure that exists in Australia. Most people even in capital cities cannot even get ADSL, let alone people in remote areas.

      Things like NBN satellite, and NBN wireless address these infrastructure issues to remote Australia.

      However, it is heavily over-subscribed to the point where speeds slow to crawl because of the amount of bandwidth split to all the users on the NBN Satellite system to the point where its been withdrawn for sale. This plans to be improved next year with the launch of a new satellite.

      My point was that you can't blame an ISP for slow speeds when the wholesaler has over-subscribed the service making it slow for everyone. Besides if you live away from everything that's the best your going to get at the moment in remote areas.

      No its not perfect, but the government did pay for alot of people to get dishes on their roof that cost a couple of thousand dollars a pop giving some people the luxury of checking email and even browsing the web. Of course your not going to be able to stream 1080p video over a satellite connection and if your trying to do gaming good luck with that ping. Its a physical limitation of the technology, You would be stupid for pointing and laughing at these 'slow' internet speeds. These people that live far distances from anywhere and some would be lucky to even have a telephone line.

      Secondly you can't blame an ISP for slow ADSL speeds when it is a physical limitation of the infrastructure based on distances from the exchange. It has very little to do with the ISP and limitation of ADSL technology itself.

      I never said I was 'happy' with that situation

      Australia does have crap internet and there are measures underway to improve it. The NBN Wireless is still rolling out and NBN satellite upgrade which will boost speeds to outback Australia is slated for 2015. As for this hodge podge fibre to the node scheme the Abbott government plans to rollout in my opinion is the worst move ever and I can tell you will fail to deliver it faster and cheaper as they claim. Do it once, do it right with fibre to the home.

        Most people? Are you telling us that lest than 50% of people get internet?

        Pity they didn't do this research from my place. We are on nbn satellite in the Logan area and the only way that I can either watch or post videos or pictures is in the wee early hours of the morning. Try doing this even after mid morning and it is very frustrating. guess it is still better than tho

    The article was stupid but what fun reading the comments.

    These results are why I am now on Telstra Cable and will never return to ADSL. The speeds you get and the congestion at times was BS, all my previous providers (Dodo, TPG and Optus) were all useless. This is on the Gold Coast fyi.

    The bureau of Meaningless Statistics is at work again!
    There are some pretty lines on the chart, but the "video consumption" is not actually labelled.

    So, in theory, you could have a peak of 10 users on Telstra Cable, with 90% of them getting HD. Compare this with [for example] 10,000 users on Optus, with only 60% of them getting HD, and suddenly Optus "looks bad".

    NEVER trust a graph with the scale data missing!

    It's nice to hear that those wholesale providers are topping the chart for high speed streaming. More people using giant ISP might suffer from line congestion and slow speed in some areas.

    I don't think it is the ISP. I can watch a video and it will play OK until I favorite it. Then it slows down. But if I switch my proxy, it works again. Why would my ISP be slow on just one video but not others?

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