Feeds

BBC vs ISPs: Bandwidth row escalates as Tiscali wades in

'We don't take business advice from civil servants'

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Outspoken broadband provider Tiscali has crossed swords with Ashley Highfield, the BBC's top technology executive, over calls he made for ISPs to lump the potentially devastating effect of the iPlayer on their business.

Since the launch of the popular streaming service, the iPlayer is costing ISPs dear, with one reporting a trebling of its streaming bandwidth charges. ISPs were already operating on razor-thin margins.

Simon Gunter, strategy chief at Tiscali, today echoed the industry scorn directed at Highfield last week, and reported by The Register. He charged that it's a "bit rich that a publicly-funded organisation is telling a commercial body how to run its business," the BBC reports.

Highfield's blog posting, published 2 April, suggested a 19-point plan for ISPs to handle the boost in bandwidth costs fired by the iPlayer. Many of his ideas were quickly shot down as unworkable, however, or seen as demonstrating a misunderstanding of how the market is regulated. He asserted providers should offer unlimited bandwidth - a pipedream in the most literal sense.

The BBC technology chief went on to threaten that ISPs who don't allow iPlayer traffic through unhindered at all times might expect to be named and shamed. "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 replied today: "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."

Tiscali's broadband packages are some of the most aggressively priced on the market, and it has no intention of changing that strategy. "The BBC would like us to pass all those [iPlayer bandwidth] costs on to the end user," Gunter said. Tiscali is instead demanding help from the BBC licence fee to cover the charges rather than slap a "BBC tax" on broadband subscriptions.

One possible solution, a distributed content delivery network, described here, is already under consideration at the BBC, but Highfield today said the BBC should not be expected to pay for distribution. "I don't think that's what the BBC is funded to do," he protested.

"It may be putting extra strain on the network but it would be a bit odd for the BBC to fund such an upgrade."

You can listen to a Radio 4 Today piece on the escalating hostilities by following this link. ®

Remote control for virtualized desktops

More from The Register

next story
Mighty Blighty broadbanders beg: Let us lay cable in BT's, er, ducts
Complain to Ofcom that telco has 'effective monopoly'
Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked
Attack of the Clones? Yeah, but much, much scarier – report
Broadband sellers in the UK are UP TO no good, says Which?
Speedy network claims only apply to 10% of customers
Yahoo! blames! MONSTER! email! OUTAGE! on! CUT! CABLE! bungle!
Weekend woe for BT as telco struggles to restore service
Fujitsu CTO: We'll be 3D-printing tech execs in 15 years
Fleshy techie disses network neutrality, helmet-less motorcyclists
Facebook, working on Facebook at Work, works on Facebook. At Work
You don't want your cat or drunk pics at the office
Soz, web devs: Google snatches its Wallet off the table
Killing off web service in 3 months... but app-happy bonkers are fine
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
Driving business with continuous operational intelligence
Introducing an innovative approach offered by ExtraHop for producing continuous operational intelligence.
5 critical considerations for enterprise cloud backup
Key considerations when evaluating cloud backup solutions to ensure adequate protection security and availability of enterprise data.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?