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BBC spars with Internet Service Providers over iPlayer

Written by James Delahunty (Google+) @ 10 Apr 2008 23:14 User comments (2)

BBC spars with Internet Service Providers over iPlayer The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has been locked into a war of words with Internet Service Providers (ISP) in the United Kingdom about who should be responsible for upgrade costs required for networks. The service providers claim that the bandwidth needed to support BBC's iPlayer is putting considerable strain on their networks, meaning they will need to be upgraded.
Ashley Highfield of the BBC believes that ISPs should be solely responsible for upgrade costs for their networks, while Simon Gunter, from ISP Tiscali, believes the BBC should contribute to the costs. The iPlayer allows viewers to catch up with programmes they missed on TV, and in its first three months of operation, 42 million programmes were accessed.

It is estimated that upgrades needed by ISPs in the UK to cope with the extra bandwidth demand could cost in the region of 830m. "The question is about whether we invest in extra capacity or go to the consumer and ask them to pay a BBC tax," Gunter said. Highfield responded to the comment, saying its inflammatory nature is not helpful.

"The success of the iPlayer should be of benefit to the whole UK broadband industry, increasing those who want to take up broadband," he said. In a blog post recently, Highfield outlined a 19 step plan for ISPs, but also appears to have included an indirect threat. "Content providers, if they find their content being specifically squeezed, shaped, or capped, could start to indicate on their sites which ISPs their content works best on (and which to avoid)," he wrote.

Gunter's responded by saying it was a bit rich that a publicly-funded organization should tell a commercial body how to run its business. "Inflammatory comments about blacklisting ISPs do not help. There seems to be a lack of understanding about how networks are built. Either we are not explaining it properly or it is falling on deaf ears," Gunter said.

Michael Phillips of broadband comparison service, said that ISPs were partly to blame for the bandwidth problems. "They have priced themselves as cheaply as possible on the assumption that people were just going to use e-mail and do a bit of web surfing," he said. He recommended that ISPs cease using the term 'unlimited' when advertising its services and make it clear to consumers what they are really getting and how they may face higher charges for excessive bandwidth usage.

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2 user comments

111.4.2008 7:34

The problem is that UK isp's lie, they advertise their services as "Unlimited" and complain when anyone wants to actually use more than 10gig.

lately isp's have been severely traffic managing their networks blocking p2p (iplayer downloader is p2p)from announcing and being connectible and limiting the speeds to as low as 2kbps ip and 5kbps down. But its not just the iplayer that is being throttled beyond use, Skype, 4OD, Vuze and many other legitimate download service utilise p2p but because of the scare tactic of piracy ISP's are allowed to curtail internet usage.

Imagine the damage that VoIP, skype could cause the telecoms if they couldn't find a way to stop ppl making free phone calls and losing all that revenue?

isp's to avoid if you enjoy Net Neutrality:

Tiscali, Eclipse Internet, Pipex, UKOnline(ipstream)

Best UK ISP = BEThere (LLU only) as they have a fair use of 500gig down no restriction on uploads, per month and do not traffic shape p2p.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 11 Apr 2008 @ 7:39

212.4.2008 15:58

they are just doing this because they know there is absolutely no way they will be able to get the BBC to front their network expansion costs, and when they start jacking up the price to the consumer they want to be able to say "its all the bbc's fault, not ours"

see, our global streaming video usage is skyrocketing at the exact wrong time; when it is most expensive to build more network capacity. with less of a chance of smaller companies being able to buy their way into the ISP market, it puts less of a strain on large established ISP's to upgrade their networks to compete. and the worst part is, our consumption of streaming content is only going to keep skyrocketing up, and our economy has no sign or turnaround yet, and is in all likelihood going to collapse even further.

there has been a global rush by all ISPs to squeeze out as much bandwidth as physically possible from their existing networks (some on the old and decrepit side) to accommodate as many users as possible. so far its not doing so great. network speeds are slowing, and even normal people are realizing they have been lied to by their ISPs about exactly how fast their connection is or how "unlimited" it is.

the ISP's brought this on themselves. because most consumers have been fed gross lies about "6 mbps connections" and "unlimited" internet access they are going to be far less forgiving when ISPs start telling people the truth; they are going to give you a 500kbps connection, everything you need fast internet for will be throttled anyway, youll have a download cap with overage fees, and oh by the way YOUR GOING TO HAVE TO PAY WAY MORE FOR IT.

i can only hope the market evolves in the right directions, its a weak time for network neutrality my friends. After the economic downturn reverses is when we will finally see a faster cheaper internet, but I can only hope we can fend off the anti-net neutrality assholes for long enough.

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