So you’re just about to figure out what the Fox says when all of a sudden, it pops up on your screen: that dreaded rebuffering circle. We’ve all seen it and we’ve all felt the incredible frustration that comes with it. No one wants to wait around for their favourite video to load or settle for watching a low quality version instead—especially in the Great White North, where Canadians are known for their love of online video and benefit from strong broadband access in many parts of the country.

That’s why today, for the first time on YouTube and starting right here in Canada, we’re giving you the information to figure out exactly why the service you love performs the way it does. It’s called the Video Quality Report and it sheds light on exactly what kind of performance your Internet Service Provider delivers and what other factors play a role.

All ISPs quote their peak speeds in megabits per second, but what does having a high Mbps rate actually mean for your experience? Current online speed tests only measure the speed it takes to transfer data from the ISP servers closest to your doorstep, and these last-mile measurements don’t always accurately reflect how quickly your favourite sites actually load online.

That’s why we decided to use a simple test that provides results everyone can understand: a truly fast internet connection means you should expect your favourite sites and apps to work smoothly, even when streaming high-definition content.

Our new report allows you to see exactly how your ISP and others in your region stack up against this standard.
  • If your ISP can consistently deliver HD-quality video (a resolution of at least 720p) without buffering or interruptions, we consider it HD Verified
  • If you can watch videos in Standard Definition (a resolution of at least 360p), your ISP is delivering Standard Definition performance. 
  • If videos load slowly or suffer frequent interruptions, even at resolutions lower than 360p, your ISP is delivering Lower Definition performance. 
The data in the Report is based on the billions of hours of YouTube videos watched every month. We look at how quickly all of those videos were loaded over the last 30 days, slice up those results by Internet provider and location and determine the speed available during 90 percent of measurements. The ratings we give are focused on all users on an ISP’s networks in a given region, rather than your connection alone. If you’re curious for more details about our methodology, check out the geeky details here.

What makes YouTube great is that you can see what you want, when you want. When it doesn’t perform the way you expect, we want you to know why.