ISPs vs BBC iPlayer

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After posted about the BBC’s new on demand iPlayer service in January ‘BBC iPlayer Offers Free On Demand TV‘, it seems not everybody is as happy with the service as others.

This week it emerged that Internet Service Providers have suggested that they should not be soley responsible for paying for the extra costs that have been highlighted as a result of the services success.

ISP providers have stated that on demand services such as the iPlayer are putting a strain on cable networks which need to be upgraded in order to cope with the increasing data that legal on demand television content brings with it.

In the first three months that the iPlayer service was live over 42 million programmes were accessed, taking up 3%-5% of the network. According to Ofcom it will cost ISPs around £830 to pay for the extra capacity needed to allow for services such as the iPlayer.

It is at this point that Simon Gunter from ISP Tiscali stated he believes that the BBC should contribute towards this cost.

With iPlayer the first major success in on demand television streaming, and other terrestrial channels all planning similar services in the future, why should the BBC as a pioneer, be responsible for the cost of this upgrade?

For a long time ISPs have had it far to easy selling ‘unlimited’ download packages to customers that in truth are not ‘unlimited’. With the users paying a broadband service fee to access such content and the BBC already paying to distribute the service, it seems now that ISPs are looking for money from the BBC for delivery of content over a connection the user is already paying for, effectively asking to be paid twice over.

The BBC hit back at the suggestions stating that it could effectively blacklist any ISP that attempted to charge it to distribute content.

“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).” – Mr Highfield

The potential problem of clogged networks in the UK is not a new concern, for years the infrastructure of the net has been debated with a standstill predicted as early as 2010.

In the past traffic throttling has been used by ISPs to control users eating up bandwidth by downloading large amounts of material often from illegal peer to peer sites, but the legal provision of bandwidth hungry content by the BBC has changed the nature of the problem.

Users now want to use their unlimited connection that they pay for, legally!


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