Ustream Problem

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We took live calls again last night. I discovered that some of you are unable to view Ustream content – and your ISP may have some major splainin to do.

My assistant Kat knew I was about to take calls, and opened her browser to my live stream page. She wanted to follow along as she always does. However, when the page loaded, the Ustream box did not. There was nothing there at all. She shrugged and thought something was wrong with my page, so she went straight to the home page. There, she was greeted with nothing more than a blank white page – and a very strange message.

Kat apologizes for the bad quality of the screenshot. She was rushing to get that, call the ISP and call me… and didn’t take the time to make sure it was high quality. She simply wanted to make sure she GOT it. The message on the screen stated: Page content cannot be displayed. Please contact your service provider.

Kat thought something odd was going on, and tried two other browsers… attempted to go through her OpenDNS account, AND tried viewing via the Adobe Air app built for my stream. Not a single method would work. Everything was blocked, giving her that same cryptic message. For those of you repeatedly asking… yes. She cleared her cache, restarted the modem herself with a hard reset, and all of the other minor things you have suggested. She’s a Microsoft MVP in Consumer Security y’all – she knows her way around computers.

She then put in a not-so-friendly call to her ISP – BrightHouse networks in Indianapolis. The tech there was extremely patronizing, according to Kat. The lady claimed they would never block anything… yet she said out loud that: “This is strange… I cannot access it here, either.” The rep called a manager over, neglecting to put Kat on hold… she could hear every word. There was something said along the lines of “Well open it up for now then.”

Shockingly, the issue was fixed moments later, via a modem reset! Isn’t that magic? Keep in mind that Kat had no issues viewing ANY other site. Her connection was fine. Her ability to view Ustream was NOT.

When she hung up with her ISP, Kat called in to my stream to tell me about this. As she’s talking, several people in our chat room started saying they’ve been having the same issues lately. Most of them were with BrightHouse also (in other parts of the country), but there were other ISPs involved, such as Time Warner.

Now, I cannot say for certain that BrightHouse (or any other ISP) was blocking Ustream. However, it sure does seem that way, does it not? This is completely and absolutely wrong. An ISP should not arbitrarily decide which content their customers can and cannot view. Yes, Ustream uses up a lot of bandwidth. Is that not why we have to pay such high prices for our services every month? If there is no limit to the amount allowed to use each month (Kat reports there is not), then why would sites such as this be blocked?

Have you run into this issue yourself, either with Ustream or another site? How have you (if you did) resolve it? Please leave us a follow-up comment here on the blog, or send me an email.

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