French ISP Free’s subscribers are being hit by a drop in QoS when watching YouTube videos after 18:00 due to network saturation, according to a study by IP-Label. Tests in the first week of October showed that Free customers are viewing YouTube at 18 frames per second at 18:00, dropping to under 12 frames per second after 20:00 and to an unwatchable 6 frames per second around 22:00. This compares to between 24 and 28 images per second earlier in the day on Free and all day on other ISPs.
Les Echos reports that Free’s subscribers have complained of drops in speed when watching YouTube videos because of saturation problems, which led consumer association UFC-Que Chosir to call for intervention from the economy ministry and telecom regulator in September. Neither has responded yet. Free CEO Xavier Niel blames saturation on the network of Neo Telecom, Google’s service provider in France. He told readers of Liberation that if they are having problems with YouTube they will often find the same videos on Dailymotion. In other countries, Google gets around this problem by putting cache servers at operators’ premises, but French operators are resisting this to keep full control and sell cache hosting as a service to websites, reports Les Echos. When the Neo Telecom network is saturated, Free switches to other transit operators like Cogent and Tata, but there is no QoS guarantee and networks reportedly become saturated quickly. Orange France receives a discrete compensation for the YouTube service degradation from Google, Les Echos writes. Orange has won a court case over remuneration for unbalanced peering traffic. Telecom regulator Arcep is looking into the matter and regularly collects incoming and outgoing traffic volume data from wholesale operators and online service and content providers.
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