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back to article How the BBC plans to save your ISP

The BBC iPlayer is now an undeniable success with consumers. The technological mistakes and management waste of its lengthy gestation are almost forgotten in the flush of popular excitement surrounding the fact that now - at last - quality television is available on demand on the web. A hostage to this success, the Corporation …

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Nice work Chris

Enjoyed the article a lot.

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Over a Barrel

The BBC are on top here. If I was them, I would be offering to licence the content on to CDNs provisioned by the ISP. "Install and pay for this kit, or your users will trample your core network...."

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Boffin

Concept valid, need dubious, implementation impossible?

This concept has appeal on paper, especially to people who don't know how BT's broadband network works internally.

In practice, the way BT currently implement IPstream make the idea impractical (or impossible) to implement. Whether it will be any different once BT's much over-hyped 21CN arrives remains to be seen.

It's probably practical for the LLU guys to interconnect their exchange kit to an exchange-based content delivery network, but why would they want to? This is about money not technology, it's about BT charging a fortune to interconnect from their network to the non-LLU ISP's networks, and the LLU guys don't have to pay BT that cost, they have their own non-BT networks.

Go back to the original Plusnet article re the impact of streaming. Then read the associated article on the costs of broadband (and the one on the impact 21CN pricing will have in non-LLU areas), links below. You might conclude that the content delivery "problem" in the UK is down to (non-existent) regulation of BTwholesale monopoly pricing.

http://community.plus.net/blog/2008/02/28/how-uk-isps-are-charged-for-broadband-the-cost-of-ipstream/

http://community.plus.net/blog/2007/10/01/21cn-and-regional-pricing/

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Flame

fiber network?

The argument involving the possible FTTH or even FTTC deployment is rediciulous unless it's going to take the BBC 5+ years to deploy this CDN locally to users.

I seriously can not see any fiber deployment in the near future unless it's government funded and I highly doubt that will happen.

Also the idea of putting servers in every local exchange would surely end up costing way more than the BBC would ever think of putting into the iPlayer project.

the only real way this is going to end up will be servers at the ISP level to keep the cost for them down so they do not try and create a backlash against the BBC

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Good for Virgin Media?

Once the virgin version of iplayer comes on stream early april (apparently) not only will VM TV customers be able to have access to the full iplayer library in better quality than via the bbc website but this would mean, one assumes, a lower usage of the virgin media broadband for the internet iplayer than other ISPs?

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isp's victam of marketing

they are stuck they should never have offered the "unlimited" packages but it was SUCH a good marketing gimik and how much bandwith can pepol realy use they said and just look at how meny pepol will switch to us we will be rich and now they are stuck they can not stop offdering "unlimited" cos unless every boady dose pepol will switch off them

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Alert

Of course the ISPs have been very positive...

...after all, if the BBC is willing to install a CDN, either in ISP network centres, or telephone exchanges, at the BBCs expense, how can the ISPs loose?

If fiber to the home (ever) goes ahead, the ISPs loose nothing. If it doesn't, then they are saving on bandwidth costs. An ideal solution for them.

The only possible looser here is the BBC - they stand to waste the investment in a CDN if the local loop goes fiber.

The real question we should be considering is: does the BBC know something the rest of us don't?

After all, installing a nation-wide CDN is not something to be considered lightly - unless of course you already KNOW that there is little or no realistic chance of the local loop being fibered up...

The only other explanation I can see for the BBC giving the idea any serious consideration is their propensity for squandering license payer's money.

So, inside information about the probability of a fiber local loop in the near future?

Or, lack of fiscal caution?

Go on - you choose.

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Dam
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ISPs point ?

Wait, what is the ISPs' point here ?

That the BBC's player eats bandwidth ?

They're blaming users for using the bandwidth they've subscribed to ?

Or are they saying the 20mbs you're paying for was never even close to 3mbs in the first place, because ISPs sell bandwidth they don't have ?

They sell bandwidth at overly inflated rates:

"Hey pal we've installed you a 10gbs line, but you can only use 2kbs at a time because we sold it to 6bill other users and our network can't cope; however let's agree you pay for a 10gbs subscription".

ISPs

Got

Bitten

Back

\o/

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tom

Not our problem guv

I don't quite know why the Reg has been so keen on peddling this muck recently.

It's quite simple: the introduction of capacity based charging over the past few years has tightened ISP margins to such an extent that it makes sense for them to campaign for tighter control of what flows down their pipes. It's not the user's fault that ISPs have gone down the wrong commerical path, exacerbated by BT Wholesale's CBC structure.

Users are paying for a pipe, they should be allowed to use it!

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Anonymous Coward

BBC Should ignore the critics

Whenever the BBC does anything, the creeps come out of the woodwork and attack it. So telecoms companies will cry foul and attempt to force Beeb to pay them extortionate fees to do this, and News International will do it's attack (Because Sky competes with the new Freesat) and a bunch of others will crawl out of their respective holes trying to enrich themselves.

(Remember how the BBC did their iPlayer plans, and lobbying started to get DRM in it, effectively crippling their P2P player by restricting it to only PCs and then only Windows PC, and then only Windows PCs with Media Player where the person had accepted the DRM agreement....).

Beeb should ignore the critics and get on with it. Better still they should build exit nodes at the UK and *sell* or get adverts into any programs (even radio) that it is allowed by contract to profit from. BBC World is restricted to what it can fit on 1 channel, but that doesn't need to be so. They have a huge back catalogue that could generate them a lot of money.

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Stop

Re: ISPs point ?

Exactly. I don't see why this is a BBC problem.

They're providing the content. The people are paying the ISPs for delivery. If the ISPs can't perform this service, they need to spend more money on their own infrastructure, or be squashed by OFCOM for not delivering what they're contractually obliged to.

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I'll never hit target this month........

Does this perhaps the beginning of pay-per-view with the BBC? If the beeb have a distributed presence then they can deliver content potentially on demand in a sort of half-arsed version of NTL (if you can get half-arsed compared to that bunch), then of course in time they can establish a separate channel via iPlayer and then demand a fee from viewers to see content. Not only that, but if it proved popular then they could conceivably restrict viewing to the users of that ISP only - thus making them a premium content provider demanding payment for the siting of their boxes in each ISP - so they'd have cash coming in from both ends of the food chain.

Depending on your stance this is good or bad. Personally if it means we have someone finally able to square up to Murdoch then it's a 'good thing', but there are plenty of negatives to chew over too.

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Unhappy

Stuff and nonsence

Oh dear oh dear..

Another crazy example of the BBC trying to diversify from its core objectives. Let the ISP's figure out how to get content to the consumer. The last thing I want is the BBC wasting more of my cash on things they know very little about. I quite happily get BBC streams on BT Vision. BT/Virgin and all other the other ISP's have the experience in doing this stuff.

But out BBC, and watch my words when I say that it will only be a matter of time before the BBC petition the government that we all should pay an internet license!

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let's see if I've understood this

The BBCbroadcasts programmes via TV signal, and then provides some content from it's internet servers for people who forgot to watch it the first time. OK so far.

Now,the ISPs are whinging that all this extra traffic is actually using their resources. Riiiight.

So the BBC are planning to put copies of their internet servers in (some) ISPs premises, to cache the content the viewers ask for. Thus effectively giving the ISPs some of our licence fee. Hmmm.

Here's a radical plan: why not put some hardware in people's houses? You could send the programmes to it using the TV signals the BBC already broadcasts. That way they'll have the data locally - so they won't have to stream it across the internet. You could call it a BBC programme recorder - no, too long. How about: BBC TV recorder - hmmm, not very snappy. Why not generalise it, to record programmes from *any* TV station? That's it! we'll call it a VIDEO RECORDER.

I wonder if such a device would catch on?

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Logical flaw?

FTTH by itself will noit fix the problem or makes exchange-based caching services irrelevant. FTTH is about putting higher bandwidth from the exchange to the household. What it will do is create extra demand from the exchange to the central connections points. It still makes sense to cache commonly accessed data at the edge of the network as it avoids at least some of the massive costs involved in uplifting the connections to the exchange. However, what is required is not a BBC specific caching service - what is really needed is a service-neutral caching service to which any operator can interconnect. However, achieving this would be extremely difficult given the many ways in which operators connect.

As for anonymous coward, BTW wholesale rates are heavily regulated in order to leave a margin for LLU operators and those of datastream services. There are plenty of studies on the Ofcom website if you care to look. BTW can't reduce interconnect costs arbitraily low for regulatory and competition law reasons. There are some new moves to divide exchanges up into duifferent competition groups so that interconnect rates to popular, low-cost exchanges could be reduced.

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@fiber network

But NThell already provide fibre to the home[0]!

At least that is what a last months flyer trying to get people to sign up to more than thier yoyo broadband was inferring.

It also inferred that bandwidth was not an issue - because fibre can handle thousand of channels at once.

Jacqui

[0[ if you can call copper fibre.

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Bandwidth

It seems to be a typically British problem, no investment in infrastructure. Where I am now I can get a 4Mb connection and guess what, I get 4Mb! I can pay more and get 16, but for me 4 is enough.

The ISP is simply a carrier of data and, as has been said, they shouldn't offer what they haven't got.

The only real way for the UK to keep up with the rest of the world is to get fibre closer to the door and invest in infrastructure.

Two other thoughts while I'm here:

1. If I remember rightly, BT kept trying to push me towards ISDN and dragged their feet over ADSL. I think there are still areas in the UK without ADSL.

2. Could it be that the Internet is becoming less popular? The media has nicely hyped it for some years but I've noticed my non-IT friends seem to be using it less now that they've stopped using Facebook. Some of them have even started meeting real people again! Is the Internet going to become like a once fashionable restaurant?

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Coat

Just a fad?

I wonder how much long term appeal iPlayer has or if people will get bored with it after a few months like with the social networking sites - an initial explosion of interest then lots of people getting bored? There must be a lot of "oooh lets have a go on that!" especially with the BBC advertising it so much at the moment. How many of these people are going to keep using it after the initial... "humm... I can watch old TV programs again... what else does it do?" wears off?

I for one am not interested, I've got a Sky+ PVR which watches 2 channels at once for me already so I don't have to!

Chris

P.S. I'll get my coat and go outside into the _real world_, with the fresh air and the sunshine.

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Re: Over a barrel

"The BBC are on top here. If I was them, I would be offering to licence the content on to CDNs provisioned by the ISP. "Install and pay for this kit, or your users will trample your core network...."

To which the ISPs simply respond, "OK we'll start charging our customers by the gigabyte and remove all caps on transfer limits." At which point, film and music piracy on the internet falls to a tiny fraction of its current level, dozy users wake up to the fact that they've been pumping spam to the world for the past few years, and the iPlayer is shown up to be the totally unviable product that it always was.

Sounds like a win-win-don'tgiveatoss situation to me.

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Why should the BBC pay?

Isn't it in the interest of the ISPs to reduce bandwidth? How about if the BBC just provided the software (already a substantial investment) to provide cached streaming of content and left it up to ISPs to implement it (within contractual agreements) and pay for it, since it will in effect save the ISPs significant bandwidth and therefore money to implement it. Combine that with some DNS based service discovery in the software to identify the closest servers (and a way to temporarily circumvent the broken server, in case the server has issues) and I think the BBC could save a whole lot of money.

I think that most ISPs (who do not have conflicting agreements regarding content) would gladly provide caches for P2P applications also, if it would save them money. The biggest issue is that most P2P protocols aren't easily cacheable, and P2P architects who don't cater for this should be beaten.

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Anonymous Coward

traffic is cheap

the ISP's get their traffic pretty cheaply for transit. its the big costs paid to BT to deliver said traffic across their copper to the home user (via DSL) which is the big cost.

a CDN network is pointless and a waste of tax payers money. the networks can easily carry the traffic. a simple peering exchange will suffice to get the traffic into the ISP's network.

so unless the government steps in and there are more LLU, the BBC can throw all the money they like at helping the ISP's but it won't help.

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Unhappy

Honesty is the best policy

So the ISPs sold us bandwidth they didn't have. And now we want to use it. That's a problem the ISPs have to fix for themselves; possibly by being honest with their customers. Guess that's asking a lot.

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Unlimited Comeuppance

Its about time that the ISPs suffered from their selling of unlimited broadband. They have made vast amounts of money from it over the last few years.

Hopefully the number of people using the iPlayer will steadily increece and it will force their hand to upgrade the network. The ISPs got themselves in the situation so they can get themselves out or fail trying. Maybe they will pay or maybe they can actually use their lobbying power to persuade the government to Subsidise the Network.

Either way I hope the BBC doesn't have to put servers in every exchange. They are a content provider and not a network/pipe provider and as such should not have to pay because people are actually using what they pay for!!!

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@AC - obliged to?

"they need to spend more money on their own infrastructure, or be squashed by OFCOM for not delivering what they're contractually obliged to."

What is it you think they are obliged to provide, they certainly aren't obliged to provide access to iPlayer if they don't want, they are perfectly free to throttle that traffic just as they do with p2p traffic. Hell, if they want they can block it entirely.

See how much the BBC has them over a barrel if every ISP just blocked it...

Saying that, I looked at the figures in the last scare story and they simply didn't add up, I didn't get a reply to my email to the author though.

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I don't want to complain but...

Serious rant coming up. No apologies for accuracy or lack thereof.

Am I sick to death of telecoms/internet services in this country.

Ten years ago it was the telcos complaining that they couldn't do flat-rate unmetered dialup (because those rich seams of interconnect fees were too tasty to ignore), then the farces that was FRIACO and SurfTime. Then ADSLv1 was finally deployed at a rate which defied credibility, with speeds that defied credibility. Then BT Wholesale realised that charging the ISPs per bit was much more profitable, maintaining their monopoly on the telecoms infrastructure of the nation.

I am so bored of hearing these piss poor excuses leaking out of every internet provider, "it's too expensive, people use too much bandwidth, streaming can't be done, blah blah blah" - if the margins are so tight, fuck off out of the market and let people who can provide a service move in. None of you are content providers, and there is not a path between "infrastructure provision" and "content licensor". Your "customer portals" (if I ever met the person who coined *that* concept I'd stab them in the face) are aggregations of other people's uninteresting feeds, and will - ultimately - go the way of AOL (here's a tasty mug of clue).

Maybe it's the dolts in the street who fuck it all up requiring costly call centres full of script droids bleating "reboot"? The great unwashed who can't distinguish between equipment and service ("Dear Freeserve, Word won't work..."). Actually, no, the great unwashed were invited to join the "information superwankway" by these self-same companies who now struggle to provide a service they begged the techno-illiterate to take up ("Get music! Look at webs! Webcam with grandparents!").

So, they go the way of the PC manufacturers and install multiple "value added" softwares on each subscriber PC (a genuine complaint from my mate's Mum - "why does it take 10 minutes to load the internet?" Because a certain incumbent state telco has given you so much additional software - 4 XP system services, 3 dialers, plus 3 - count 'em - THREE firewalls, and I'm not even talking about the hacked up IE "custom" browser). Because just like malware, they get thruppence per installation.

I've never come across such a whiny industry. Always pissing and complaining that they may actually have to serve up what they misleadingly claim to offer.

Is there not a market for an internet provider, that provides a fast, unmetered internet access, for a reasonable cost. No value adds, no support beyond "our network is cool, the problem's your end, JFGI", no "free web space", no "portal", just a cool, clear connection that works? Or is such a thing an impossibility?

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Anonymous Coward

Multicast?

I thought that the BBC were trying to get round this problem using multicast (http://www.bbc.co.uk/multicast/). It looks like they have got this working already at a range of ISPs for radio already (you can get higher quality streams that way). and they are doing trials with TV.

This sounds a lot cheaper solution or am I missing the point.

Actually thinking about it, multicast would only work if everyone was watching the same thing at the same time, is that right? Surely though there must be some caching going on at the ISPs to help this.

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Go

Multicast vapourware

Is the problem with the long-fabled multicast technology that it was designed for the broadcast era, not streaming on demand. Still, couldn't multicast be utilised for those who use Kontiki to download iPlayer content?

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@VIDEO RECORDER

I've often wondered why the iplayer needs to be, and why we have all those annoying +1 versions of channels. All the data was sent out and received already as TV signals already, which is lot more efficient than using the net.

Local storage is cheap. I've got a media center PC with 4 freeview tuners in it and it's recording pretty much constantly. It's very easy to start grabbing anything interesting like all the movies, the local news, and anything else goes on a series link. I don't watch it all, but it seems with my set-up I've already out done any 'on demand' service.

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Alert

net neutrality

As ever, the problem doesn't lie with the BBC, or with ISP's... the problem lies with BT - the people that own and deliver the core infrastructure. Trouble is, the copper cable are a decade behind their time, and the cost of bandwidth too high. If there were a proper fibre infrastructure in place, there's be no need for heavily stratified/tiered broadband provision, as bandwidth wouldn't be so much of an issue

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Flame

A quick fix would be to use pre-fetch

One possible way to quickly reduce cost would be to have a client on the PC/setop box using prefetch of content the user wants to see.

These would be scheduled to download at night using the spare capacity that seems to currently be available on the ISPs backhaul circuits.

Obviously getting the mix right would be tricky - you wouldn't want to download content the user does not want to watch - wasting bandwidth.

However I imagine if the BBC delayed the most popular content by 12-24 hours so it falls into the quiet midnight to 6am period and then used a combination of

1. Allowing the user to subscribe to a channel (a specific series for instance).

2. Tracked what content the user likes.

Have not done the figures but I imagine it would be possible to remove a good chunk of data from the peak periods (6pm to midnight I believe).

Just my 1p worth.

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Black Helicopters

The broadband drug

I must have broadband, I must have broadband, I must have more broadband .... ok little boy here's a nice shiny 45 Meg line, much better than that little 2 Meg one.

Of course what the dealer (woops sorry ISP) didn't tell you was it was exactly the same as what you had before, a 50:1 contended connection going into the same back haul from the the exchange all they did was magically increase the speed between your house and the exchange. Its all smoke and mirrors.

Ultimately if you want a decent connection you are going to have to pay for it. Tomorrow I could have installed in my a house a 45MB internet connection with a contention ratio of better than 5:1 that would actually give me 45MB in both directions. Its called a T3 connection, and several ISP's in the UK could/would quite happily sell me one including BT, the downside is the cost (approx 1500-2000 GBP a month).

Wake up consumers there is no such thing as free lunch, if you want something you have to pay for it, and until you get off your crack head approach to broadband the ISP's(dealers) will continue to sell you junk and then whine about doing so.

PS. here's a tip sign: up to BT's business broadband service, it costs more, but the contention ratio is much lower (only 20:1 last time I checked) so you're more likely to get what they are selling you

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What about multicast?

Multicast was invented so that people could 'tune' into a 'channel' and receive the same content as everyone else at the same time. The network effect is dramatic.

Only one stream of packets is sent by the the originator. The clients select the 'channel' they want to watch. The network infrastructure (See CISCO) is intelligent enough to route the packets (and copies) to every consumer. What this means is that the network carries the burden of duplicating and distributing a video stream, not the source.

This network content/load management goes all the way to the DSLAM. Effectively every exchange DSLAM only gets one copy of the video and then redistributes it to all clients wanting to watch.

All that is required is to treat the video stream as a broadcast rather than an on-demand video.

When the providers go to individual on-demand scenario the network will immediately fail. There is no duplication of data so the demand will immediately outstrip the capacity of the network to deliver.

if the BBC was serious it would schedule multiple 'channels' and work with IPSs to provide multicast enabled networks.

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Paying for the delivery channel...

It's an interesting one. Historically, the BBC has paid the costs of delivering its programmes to the home - the terrestrial and satellite transmission costs. However, it doesn't contribute to the cost of operating the cable network and the argument for funding a CDN seems very weak. The real problem is the ADSL network, but that by definition is reaching people at fixed locations where a PVR with enough capacity (and maybe a network port) could do the job of iPlayer - with none of the restrictions. Given the many different formats of out-of-the-home devices (iPods, laptops, phones), it certainly doesn't seem like the BBC should be paying for every possible format shift that may be required by new client devices and certainly not the infrastructre for content delivery.

On the other hand, there's a strong argument for putting kit into exchanges to do multicast/unicast conversions for live streaming (given the woeful state of multicast support in consumer equipment) which might actually produce some genuinely new broadcast opportunities. That's something the Public Service Broadcasters might want to think about funding collectively.

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BT is not the problem

BT offered to make all local calls free - Ofcom said no that would be monopolistic (because no-one else could do it)

BT offered to Fibre everyone in the UK but only if they could become a TV provider (like Virgin/SKy all the cable companies) but no that would be a monopoly ...

So we are stuck with a semi monopoly who struggles on with copper and everyone else leeching of them because they don't want to fibre the nation (your ISP almost certainly does not have their own connection they leech off BT Wholesale and so pay by their rules)

The only exception is VirginMedia/NTL who are the result of all the mergers and takeovers of the majority of the cable companies who cabled some (the profitable bits) of the UK

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Windows only DRM crap

If the download system weren't such a DRM'd piece of crap and used a wasn't p2p based and just used regular files (a la podcasting) then the demand for the streaming version would plummet and the ISPs could cache the files to their hearts content.

I can't believe the BBC are considering wasting money on a CDN when all they need do is remove the DRM so that the download service can take off and the ISPs can simply cache it like they would anything else.

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Is this really that useful?

How does all of this save the ISP? Each ISP tends to have their own set of problems regarding high bandwidth usage, they're not the same!

ISPs which resell the BT product (IPStream) aren't going to see much benefits. Having servers on the ISPs network won't help, sure it'll save them some external bandwidth - but the big cost for them is transferring the data over the BT network to the end customer. Plusnet calculated this at about £126.86/Mbps, where as the external bandwidth was about £20/Mbps.

Yes it's going to be a saving for an ISP to cache BBC iPlayer content on their network, they could save some of the external bandwidth usage. But given the nature of how BT ADSL works it isn't going to save them on their most expensive part - transferring data over the BT network.

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@steogede

In this case the DRM is a 'necessary evil' as without it the BBC would not be able to distribute anything. To say 'just drop the DRM' is to fail to understand the restrictions the BBC are under in providing these alternate methods of watching programs.

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Stop

Be carefull what you wish for!!

"Re: ISPs point ?

By Anonymous CowardPosted Wednesday 19th March 2008 09:32 GMT Exactly. I don't see why this is a BBC problem.

They're providing the content. The people are paying the ISPs for delivery. If the ISPs can't perform this service, they need to spend more money on their own infrastructure, or be squashed by OFCOM for not delivering what they're contractually obliged to."

Great idea, and the moment this implemented you cost of your connection rockets! ISP provide a cheap service because this is what consumers want!!! if the cost is low, then the profet is low.. if the profet is low then their is no room for major improvment when needed.. A few points.. ISP's cant win this battle.. they provide a cheap service you complain their is no bandwidth.. they switch and provide an expensive one with the bandwidth you complain its to expensive..

I think what the BBC are doing with this is looking at the problem and providing a solution for its userbase.. More than can be said for the other TV providers that are offering services of this nature..

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Dam

Re various comments

Quote from reply: "Over a barrel"

"To which the ISPs simply respond, "OK we'll start charging our customers by the gigabyte and remove all caps on transfer limits." At which point, film and music piracy on the internet falls to a tiny fraction of its current level"

You mean, at which point every user switches to a 128kbs line which will be MORE THAN ENOUGH for email and browsing, for $5 a month ?

ISPs are going to make a fortune.

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Quote from reply: "Obliged to"

"What is it you think they are obliged to provide, they certainly aren't obliged to provide access to iPlayer if they don't want, they are perfectly free to throttle that traffic just as they do with p2p traffic. Hell, if they want they can block it entirely."

Can you spell breach of contract ?

They have a right to manage their network, however completely blocking a site or service for arbitrary reasons is a denial of the service they've contracted themselves to provide.

No service, no contract.

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Quote from "I don't want to complain"

"Is there not a market for an internet provider, that provides a fast, unmetered internet access, for a reasonable cost. No value adds, no support beyond "our network is cool, the problem's your end, JFGI", no "free web space", no "portal", just a cool, clear connection that works? Or is such a thing an impossibility?"

Free in France ?

Their customer support is piss poor but the network is awesome.

Unlimited offer for 24mbs tops, of course usually you're closer to 10-20 but that's still very good.

Did I mention I'm 900m away from the exchange and I'm grabbing from newsgroups at 2mbytes per sec, which is around 22mbits ?

Going for €29 per month, and they're deploying fiber as we speak.

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@ Steve

""they need to spend more money on their own infrastructure, or be squashed by OFCOM for not delivering what they're contractually obliged to."

What is it you think they are obliged to provide, they certainly aren't obliged to provide access to iPlayer if they don't want, they are perfectly free to throttle that traffic just as they do with p2p traffic. Hell, if they want they can block it entirely."

When my ISP put in my Terms and Conditions that I cannot visit the BBC iPlayer, then I'll stop using it. (and them, I'll switch to an ISP that gives me what I pay for - access to the *internet*, not filtered access to the bits of the internet that they permit me to see)

Until then, I'm paying for a pipe, and what I pull down through that pipe is my business, not theirs.

I'm paying for a service, they're obliged to provide that service for as long as I keep paying them.

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@Craig

"All the data was sent out and received already as TV signals already, which is lot more efficient than using the net"

I agree. One of the things you notice about broadcasts in comparison to broadband is that you almost never get interruptions and it's impossible to overload. A PVR is a much better solution to time-shifting, IMHO.

IIRC, BT offered to wire up the country with optical fibres, but this was before privatisation, and Mrs T thought they must be up to something and blocked it. Silly cow.

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What to do with all the spare banwidth in 2013?

Not much doubt that within 5 years a (very) cheap PVR will buffer all of the 10 favourite channels for a week or 2. So the traffic arrives thru the aerial and the server is in the home under the TV set. We'll just have to think of another way to use up all that surplus ISP bandwidth in 2013. HDTV thru one's ISP anyone?

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I may have missed something...

And I may be totally ignorant of some fiscal point to all this. But why provide this service at all? It costs the BBC money to do this, our licence fees, which imho could be put to much better use. Unless they start tagging adverts onto the content, I cannot see how this brings revenue to back to them. Can someone please enlighten me here? Seems to me it is money wasted on couch potatoes who's lethargic and sedentary lifestyle will put an even larger strain on our health system. And how much BBC programming as actually worth watching these days?

Is there something here I have completely overlooked?

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RE: BT is not the problem.

"BT offered to make all local calls free - Ofcom said no that would be monopolistic (because no-one else could do it)"

"BT offered to Fibre everyone in the UK but only if they could become a TV provider (like Virgin/SKy all the cable companies) but no that would be a monopoly ..."

You hit the nail on the head there. BT only offer to improve things if it's on the understanding that they will hold a monopoly over said improvements. God forbid that they might have to compete on open playing field, after all they have share holders to think of!

BT needs to be split up. Properly. Not one company with two divisions but two separate companies. One that owns the network. One that offers services over the network. Until then they will always have a monopoly and things will only improve at a snails pace.

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Linux

Whose fee?

At what point in this rush to IP delivery though does someone (the government?) ask the bottom-line question: Why should people pay a licence fee? If I can download all BBC (and Channel 4OD etc) programmes online and play them on my media computer then how will this be financed if people no longer need a television (and hence television licence).

Isn't this rather a technical solution in search of a real-life problem?

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Anonymous Coward

@Dam

> Free in France ?

> Their customer support is piss poor but the network is awesome.

Free? Good? Forgive me for falling of my chair laughing. "network is awesome"? Their network is sh1te! Sure, if you're close to an exchange and opt for fully unbundled service with your phone line as < GSM-quality VoIP only then you'll get reasonable speed. For HTTP. Sometimes.

On the other hand if you have the temerity to remain unbundled, either from choice or because they haven't unbundled your exchange, then you'll check each morning to see if you still have a connection. I now have a cron job running on my office computer monitoring the uptime on the link to home, so I have ammunition the next time they cut me off for 4 days, and don't even acknowledge my fault report until two weeks later.

I have a 1Mbit/s line (best they can do, since I'm all of 3.5km from the switch). There are times when using my Wanadoo dialup at 24kbit/s is a faster way to collect my email, because they have SSL traffic filtered in the evenings.

Free is no better than BT, and for the same reasons. You get what you pay for, and for £20/month you ain't paying for much. One of my friends, who needs reliable internet for his business at home, pays more than twice that, and doesn't get free phone calls, but he does get rock-solid IP. His choice.

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Flame

BBC plot lost

Who are these people who have stolen the BBC from us - look at the big picture - they're trying to dump transmitters and other such hardware costs (I know they don't OWN the transmitters any more) and broadcast everything down the pipe - so it's public service by pay-as-you-go and 'dancing postage stamps' all over again for quality.

Just what level of bad or lack-of access are these people accepting in the jolly future world as compared to TV access now? Not everyone has broadband, a computer or even a computer capable of multimedia which provides a service at_least what their TV provides now.

Dave

@Shropshire

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Flame

I have a great idea, stop lying about bandwidth limitations!!

Once ISP's get offcom'd about Bandwidth Caps this will not be an issue.

This is a totally pointless theory, stick a content server in the data center??? Doesn't that completely and utterly defy the point of the BBC have data centers already which are doing clustering and traffic control?

We (the end consumer) Are not getting shafted over what is coming into the ISP's rack, we're getting shafted over what can feasibly be sent to our door based on how much 'him next door' is downloading at the same time.

Gaurantee this ends up with the BBC trying to provide Broadband services, and if they do, they can get fooked for my license fee.

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tim

You want to view my website?

I'll come round with CD, that'll save your ISP some bandwidth

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