Feeds

BBC vs ISPs: Bandwidth row escalates as Tiscali wades in

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

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

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. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
YOU are the threat: True confessions of real-life sysadmins
Who will save the systems from the men and women who save the systems from you?
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
Virgin Media struck dumb by NATIONWIDE packet loss balls-up
Turning it off and on again fixes glitch 12 HOURS LATER
Ofcom snatches 700MHz off digital telly, hands it to mobile data providers
Hungry mobe'n'slab-waving Blighty swallows spectrum
Fujitsu CTO: We'll be 3D-printing tech execs in 15 years
Fleshy techie disses network neutrality, helmet-less motorcyclists
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
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.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
How to simplify SSL certificate management
Simple steps to take control of SSL certificates across the enterprise, and recommendations centralizing certificate management throughout their lifecycle.
New hybrid storage solutions
Tackling data challenges through emerging hybrid storage solutions that enable optimum database performance whilst managing costs and increasingly large data stores.