Feeds

BBC vs ISPs: Bandwidth row escalates as Tiscali wades in

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

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

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. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
UK fuzz want PINCODES on ALL mobile phones
Met Police calls for mandatory passwords on all new mobes
Canadian ISP Shaw falls over with 'routing' sickness
How sure are you of cloud computing now?
Don't call it throttling: Ericsson 'priority' tech gives users their own slice of spectrum
Actually it's a nifty trick - at least you'll pay for what you get
Three floats Jolla in Hong Kong: Says Sailfish is '3rd option'
Network throws hat into ring with Linux-powered handsets
Fifteen zero days found in hacker router comp romp
Four routers rooted in SOHOpelessly Broken challenge
New Sprint CEO says he will lower axe on staff – but prices come first
'Very disruptive' new rates to be revealed next week
PwC says US biz lagging in Internet of Things
Grass is greener in Asia, say the sensors
Ofcom sees RISE OF THE MACHINE-to-machine cell comms
Study spots 9% growth in IoT m2m mobile data connections
O2 vs Vodafone: Mobe firms grab for GCHQ, gov.uk security badge
No, the spooks love US best, say rival firms
Ancient pager tech SMS: It works, it's fab, but wow, get a load of that incoming SPAM
Networks' main issue: they don't know how it works, says expert
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.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
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.