Feeds

BBC tells ISPs to get stuffed

Sealed with a loving threat

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

Relationships between the BBC and internet industry have plunged to an all-time low, after the BBC's internet chief Ashley Highfield used a blog post yesterday to tell ISPs to get stuffed - and even threatened to name and shame them.

The cost of carrying iPlayer traffic has been a sore point for ISPs, who must absorb steeply rising traffic costs. Regulator OFCOM's Market Impact Assessment estimated the P2P version of iPlayer would create up to £831m in extra costs for the internet industry. In the first month of the "low bandwidth" iPlayer, ISPs saw streaming costs rise 20 per cent.

(See iPlayer Politics: Behind the ISPs vs BBC row.)

But Highfield, Director of Future Media and Technology at the £4bn-a-year corporation, said the BBC won't help them out.

"I would not suggest that ISPs start to try and charge content providers," he scolds.

"They are already charging their customers for broadband to receive any content they want. If ISPs start charging content providers, the customer will not know which content will work well over their chosen ISP, and what content may have been throttled for non-payment of a levy."

Highfield instead advises them to pass the increased costs onto their customers in the form of tiers of service (ie price increases).

And if ISPs didn't follow his "advice", and dared to traffic shape their networks to manage their bandwidth hogs, Highfield threatened that the BBC would name and shame them.

"Content providers, if they find their content being specifically squeezed, shaped, or capped, could start to indicate on their sites which ISPs their content worked best on (and which to avoid). I hope it doesn’t come to this, as I think we (the BBC and the ISPs) are currently working better together than ever."

Being put on the BBC's List of Shame could have serious commercial repercussions for internet providers.

(Highfield also raised eyebrows with his assertion that "The best technical solution is usually Moore’s law". An oddly ignorant thing to say, since the capacity and price of copper and fibre connections have very little to do with the density of transistors on a semiconductor die. Earth to Ashley: Ceci n'est pas une pipe.)

It's a lose-lose situation for the ISPs. If they refuse to carry iPlayer material, they lose customers and go out of business. If they do carry iPlayer material, and traffic shape their networks, the BBC will shame them, and they go out of business. Who'd be an ISP?

Highfield's heavy-handed intervention may undo much of the conciliatory work undertaken by iPlayer boss Anthony Rose. As we reported recently, the BBC is exploring building its own Content Delivery Network (CDN) to ease the delivery costs for ISPs.

One executive at a major ISP stormed back at Highfield:

"Relying on the customer's failure to read the small print is not the basis for a digital content strategy."

And so the bloodbath nears. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
So, Apple won't sell cheap kit? Prepare the iOS garden wall WRECKING BALL
It can throw the low cost race if it looks to the cloud
EE fails to apologise for HUGE T-Mobile outage that hit Brits on Friday
Customer: 'Please change your name to occasionally somewhere'
Time Warner Cable customers SQUEAL as US network goes offline
A rude awakening: North Americans greeted with outage drama
We need less U.S. in our WWW – Euro digital chief Steelie Neelie
EC moves to shift status quo at Internet Governance Forum
BT customers face broadband and landline price hikes
Poor punters won't be affected, telecoms giant claims
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.