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BBC ponders P2P distribution

BT and Auntie do lunch over Internet plan

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The BBC is to make its programme archive available over a peer-to-peer network, it said at the International Broadcasting Convention last weekend.

BT, meanwhile, has confirmed that it is in talks with the BBC to find a way "of ensuring that their plans have a positive impact on broadband Britain".

The BBC plans to develop a "super electronic programme guide", which allows users to record content as they do with a personal video recorder, New Media Age reports.

The announcement comes after confirmation that Auntie* will be making its archive accessible via the Internet, and clarifies the mechanism by which this will happen.

The BBC's new media director, Ashley Highfield, said that a P2P network will allow the BBC to handle the volume of traffic it expects when the Internet Media Player (IMP) goes live. The IMP will enable users to download or stream content to their PC, laptop or palmtop computer.

The corporation is exploring ways of using legitimate P2P systems to "get users to share on our behalf", Highfield said.

This is a neat way of tackling the bandwidth issues it would otherwise face, but in effect passes the buck to the broadband providers. With BT in talks with the Beeb*, it seems reasonable to expect some kind of partnership deal.

Watch this space for more info on what it all means. ®

Bootnote

*Extra-UK readers should not that Auntie and Beeb are both affectionate terms for the BBC.

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