Korea to boost Internet speeds while Canada’s suffer

techinternetpic2Internet carriers SK Telecom and LG’s U+ have announced plans to offer 300Mbps service to their customers in South Korea, despite the fact it will require cell phone manufacturers to provide models that can take full advantage of the speed.

The two carriers will improve their available speed by using the 4G LTE Advanced mobile communication standard. Carriers in other countries such as Russia, Sweden, Norway and the Phillipines have also performed tests and begun to develop the same system in their own cities.

To put it in perspective, Canada’s average internet speed, as determined by the Canadian Radio-Television Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), is just under 19Mbps. This speed earned Canada the 33th spot on broadband research company Ookla global survey; holding the top spots were Hong Kong, Singapore and Lithuania. While South Korea placed fifth in the survey last year, these recent developments may gain them a higher position.

In a similar vain, Google has offered a new service that gives internet users a video quality rating based on their internet service provider (ISP) and geographical area. This service is available to Canadians first and deals directly with the quality of Youtube’s streaming and buffering services.

Google’s Director of Product Management for Youtube, Shiva Rajaraman, explained to the Financial Post that this initiative was meant to provide users with an understandable rating of their video performance.

“We wanted to give users a measure of performance that they can truly understand,” said Rajaraman. “The other side is we felt this would be beneficial for ISPs too, because now they can describe their service and the various product offerings and price points they might have to their customers in a way that they can truly understand: You can access YouTube in HD on my ISP, or not.”

However, there is some conjecture that this is little more than a PR move to put blame on the ISPs for poor Youtube performance. Critics claim that Google throttles expensive buffering and boosts streaming which is why it buffers so poorly but plays with even the slightest progress. In the explanation for their methodology, Google offers somewhat vague explanations as to how your ISP could be responsible for poor Youtube streaming speed and quality.

“In addition to congestion in your ISP’s network, your video performance can also be affected by the size of the ISP’s connection into your home.”

“When you click play, YouTube carries the video data through its system to your Internet Service Provider (ISP) via the most efficient path possible. Sometimes, exceptional circumstances mean we may need to use a less-direct path.”

The explanation continues like this, toeing the line between taking or pinning much blame elsewhere. The result (my own is pictured above) is somewhat ambiguous, showing available streaming quality over the course of the day.

To check your own speed, you can visit speedtest.net (also by Ookla) which will ping your server and give you a measure of your upload and download rates. To view Google’s video rating for your area and provider, visit google.com/get/videoqualityreport/

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