back to article ISP Be admits crippling iPlayer demand burst its pipes

ISP Be Broadband has admitted demand for iPlayer jammed its punters' net connections - leaving parts of the web unusable and subscribers fuming. For weeks customers of Be - an O2-owned company with up to 600,000 users - were unable to visit some websites, including the BBC's telly streaming service, because the ISP's link to …

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  1. Tom 15

    Errm...

    I'm not sure the content of this article is 100% true as I'm a Be user and haven't had any problems with iPlayer and neither have most others I know. I was under the impression this problem was IP specific? I imagine different IP blocks are taking different routings and some were never hitting Akamai in the first place. This is also backed up by the fact that the issue doesn't seem to have affected O2 users despite them using the same network infrastructure.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Errm...

      Another Be user who has not noticed any problems with iplayer here.

      It buffers briefly once in a while at peak times but other than that it's flawless.

      1. Ben Rose
        FAIL

        Re: Re: Errm...

        You go ahead and contradict yourself.

        "not noticed any problems"

        "flawless"

        "buffers briefly...at peak times"

        flaw·less (flôls)

        adj.

        Being entirely without flaw or imperfection.

        Hardly!

    2. Ru
      Facepalm

      Re: Errm...

      We've found it noticable at home, from time to time. It wasn't clear before now where the issue was arising; its a shared house, and we're not overburdened with bandwidth. I've not noticed these sorts of issues with any site other than iPlayer though. Be seem to be pretty much spot on in every other aspect of ISP-age though, which is nice.

      And what on earth is "I'm not sure the content of this article is 100% true" supposed to mean? There's a statement, from Be, saying they have a problem, and they're remedying it. Why would they *lie* about having a problem, and spend money to fix a nonexistent issue?

    3. JC_

      Re: Errm...

      Noticed it at the weekend when trying to watch the rugby, but loading just the BBC news front page took five minutes. Be needs to sort its act out.

    4. Irongut

      Re: Errm...

      I'm not sure the content of this comment is 100% true. It looks like a personal opinion from one person rather than actual facts and figures backed up by quotes from the company involved.

    5. Kevin Saunders

      Re: Errm...

      Actually, O2 customers have been affected (me for one) and plenty of others if you read the O2 forum on Thinkbroadband. After much messing about, people noticed that it was restricted to certain blocks of IP addresses and forcing an IP change on the BeBox/O2Box by changing the MAC address fixed the issue for a number of people (apart form those of us with fixed IPs of course)..

    6. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

      Re: Errm...

      I'm a Be user and the Mrs and I have been unable to watch ANY streaming service for several weeks, BBC, ITV and Channel 4 have been affected but all bandwidth tests on our 8-10Mb capable line have been spot on.

      Now I know why, and I'm pretty disappointed in Be as they've always been much better than other ISPs, I'll have to test again tonight and see if anything has improved.

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Is content of article true?

      "I'm not sure the content of this article is 100% true ", Tom15

      "Some BE customers are continuing to experience problems when running BBC's iPlayer. This is being caused by our link to the Akamai network"

      http://blog.bethere.co.uk/2012/02/customer-update-on-network-packet-loss.html

  2. mikeyboosh
    WTF?

    Would this be why my experience on the whole of the BBC domain has been slow for the last month or so then?

    Also, what is the name of that software used for the ping tests?

    1. TeeCee Gold badge
      Facepalm

      Ping software.

      Go to specsavers, get glasses, put 'em on and then look at the pictures again.

      Hint: The bit at the bottom of each where it says: "Image generated by PingPlotter Pro" along with a web address is a bit of a giveaway.....

    2. kevjs
      Go

      Looks like it's PingPlotter Pro (at the bottom of the images shown!)

  3. AndrueC Silver badge
    Meh

    On average Be is a bloody good ISP. No throttling and friendly support. Unfortunately now and again they get core network issues and then it goes pear-shaped for a few weeks. It's a failure to monitor and predict demand and/or inability to respond rapidly.

    My experience has been perhaps two months in total with dodgy service over five years. Annoying at the time but resolved eventually. Unfortunately they are dragging their feet over FTTC so I'll likely be leaving for someone else within a month.

    1. Stuart 22

      Even Zen

      If its any comfort I had my first iPlayer bandwidth issue last night using Zen. That's the issue iPlayer is so good and reliable we find ourselves increasingly skipping TV to do something else and catching up later.

      If only ITVPlayer was in the same league ... I guess that's partly why this government punished the BBC so hard - for showing up how a public service can be just so much better than a profit centred one. Its not supposed to do that.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Even Zen

        ITV Player is excellent over Sky Anytime+

        I was frankly stunned at the difference in quality between Anytime+ and the ITV player that's on the ITV website. I've always found the website player very poor in terms of quality and streaming.

        Maybe one of these days I'll get bored enough to work out why the website player is so poxy. I doubt it though, hardly watch any telly these days.....

    2. Richard 22

      Throttling

      "On average Be is a bloody good ISP. No throttling ..."

      Well there's your problem. They don't appear to have the capacity to cope with unthrottled access. I'd say 2 months of dodgy service over five years was very poor.

      1. AndrueC Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: Throttling

        By 'dodgy service' I mean 'slowed down a bit during the evening'. That's business as normal for most ISPs. The only time my service was noticeably disrupted was back in '06 (or was it '07) when their DNS servers went wobbly.

        But over the last year or so I've noticed more complaints on their forums. That may be why they are in the process of rebuilding their network. That and - perhaps - an FTTC product coming soon(TM).

        I'll be sad to leave Be and will happily come back at a future date. Can't say that for any other ISP I've used.

        1. Gordon 10 Silver badge

          Re: Re: Throttling

          BE are probably the second best ISP I have used.

          No iPlayer issues here but a quit a few DNS and router issues using the bebox.

          Eclipse were better but not worth the Price and caps in comparison.

  4. frank ly Silver badge

    Local caching?

    I think that Virgin Media have copies of popular BBC iPlayer content on their 'local' network and avoid similar problems in that way. Is there a reason why Be can't do something similar?

    1. Lee Dowling Silver badge

      Re: Local caching?

      I read articles a while back that basically said BBC have arrangements to put a "blackbox" in the ISP that does caching of BBC iPlayer content on their premises and thus save them a ton of bandwidth. Whether that's still true (I expect it is), it's Be at fault here for just sheer lack of capacity. They can blame iPlayer as much as they like (and my former ISP PlusNet often shared graphs that show that iPlayer takes up more than twice as much as all P2P traffic, for instance) but they just didn't have the systems in place to cope with demand.

      If Akamai couldn't cope with it, then your alternate routes should always have done so and alarm bells should go mad about the huge utilisation of that particular route. You couldn't serve the traffic in a timely manner because you just did not have enough capacity. That's a failure of planning, management and pricing. Nothing "technical", really, at all.

      iPlayer is also pretty cacheable, except for the live streams. Maybe they should have just put in emergency local caching (an afternoon job) until they could bring up more capacity?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Re: Local caching?

        "iPlayer is also pretty cacheable, except for the live streams. Maybe they should have just put in emergency local caching (an afternoon job) until they could bring up more capacity?"

        The streams can be cached trivially with the 'get-iplayer' perl script (maintained by a BBC man I believe). Works very well too.

    2. Woodgie

      Re: Local caching?

      I'd guess two things factor in that. 1) Cost and 2) Licensing.

      Running a bunch of caching servers and the associated storage 'locally' on their network will mean they have to pay for the kit, pay to put it somewhere, pay to power it and pay someone to keep it ticking over. Not a small undertaking.

      As for licensing, I'm sure that there's some legal gubbins to be sorted out when copying and storing that much copyrighted (copywritten?) material. Virgin being a big telly provider may well have the legals sorted out in the same way they do for providing the 'live' BBC telly stream.

      1. nigel 15

        Re: Re: Local caching?

        i don't think there is any legal issue with caching iplayer.

        there is obviously a cost to local caching but a lot less than the external bandwidth.

        1. ridley

          Re: Re: Re: Local caching?

          I was always under the impression that iplayer used a form of peer to peer. Am I wrong then?

          1. Z80

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Local caching?

            iPlayer stopped using p2p in late 2008.

            http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/bbcinternet/2008/12/introducing_iplayer_deskto.html

  5. g e

    Struggling

    I struggle to watch Eastenders from the live broadcast.

    When I say 'struggle' I mean 'sit through' ...

  6. nigel 15
    WTF?

    and O2?

    How is Be's link ###### and not O2's it's the same network, same IP pool, same routing.

    1. nigel 15

      Re: and O2?

      my mistake. it is O2 too.

      Ping statistics for 212.58.241.131:

      Packets: Sent = 141, Received = 129, Lost = 12 (8% loss),

      Approximate round trip times in milli-seconds:

      Minimum = 22ms, Maximum = 42ms, Average = 22ms

      i'm on O2.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    re: idiots

    fed up with all the idiots that have decided the internet if for viewing tv. Thats what the tv is for you idiots

    1. JC_
      Thumb Up

      Re: re: idiots

      Right on! The internet is for trolling!

    2. Lee Dowling Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Re: re: idiots

      Great. Can I watch BBC programs whenever I want on TV, up to two weeks after broadcast? Apparently not unless - and this will make you laugh - I use the on-demand streaming connections to things like BBC iPlayer which basically does the same as me accessing their website (e.g. if you use Virgin, the set-top-box just negotiates it's own Internet connection with IP - even if you have a separate modem - and accesses iPlayer content servers).

      Can I watch the Saturday movie on Monday? Can I pause the TV without having to buy some fancy-schmancy subscription / box / TV? Can I zip back and show someone something that started at the beginning of the program, or show them the only funny "joke" in some of the modern "comedies"?

      No? TV's dead then. Get with the programme. IP is already used for phones, for video-conferencing, for door-control, etc. It's the only thing that can do ALL the jobs at once. Your modern TV, meanwhile, is now trying to be a PC and access everything over the Internet. Haven't you noticed? Hell, I bought a £10 dual-DVB-T dongle for my laptop two years ago. I still haven't used it for anything yet. But iPlayer gets loaded once a day, minimum.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "It's the only thing that can do ALL the jobs at once. "

        heard of PVRs or MythTV or similar mediabox setups? You plan in advance what you want to watch, it records it, you get to keep it. You keep it for more than 28 days (or whatever) if you want, not just for as long as the iPlayer allows.

        And *then* you use iPlayer for filling in the gaps.

        Heard of infinite broadband bandwidth for a sensible price? No me neither, and until that IS the case, the aerial is most people's best starting point for watching broadcast TV. Because the Internets don't have enough bandwidth to be used as an affordable volume distribution mechanism for TV content (with or without multicats). Get with the programme.

        1. Lee Dowling Silver badge

          Re: "It's the only thing that can do ALL the jobs at once. "

          Ah, so you want me to buy a PC and dedicate it to watching TV, insert a device into it that receives TV, subscribe to a TV listings website to make the device work properly (or buy a pre-made PVR), and predict what I want to watch in advance (which I can't remember doing in the last ten years except possibly for Christmas specials, etc.). If I miss it, forget it, misprogram it, it gets rescheduled then I have to revert to my usual plan anyway. I also have to pay for local storage and (presumably) a UPS for anything vaguely important that I might miss. I also need an aerial with a good digital signal (don't own one, can't get one in my area yet) and/or a cable/satellite TV package. I have to tune yet-another-device in every time the channels juggle, have to have yet-another remote control, yet-another box on top of the TV and yet-more cabling behind the TV.

          As opposed to:

          Having an Internet connection.

          Clicking on a website.

          Clicking on what I want to watch on an official website provided by the original broadcaster.

          (Optional, advanced extra: get_iplayer for permanent archives).

          I have high-speed broadband for a reason, and it's not to send my email a fraction of a second faster. My ISP supports it and never has a problem and most IPTV broadcasts you see on your TV have been blatted across the Internet at least twice before you see them (footage colletion, editing, sending to broadcasters, etc.). Just because *your* ISP is oversubscribed, don't cry about how I should change the way I use my Internet.

          On top of that - my PC plays DVD / Blu-rays, plugs into my TV, accepts remote controls of any flavour, has huge amounts of storage, etc. AND can do all the above already (even the PVR bit if I really want - £10 DVB-T stick!). I don't have to stick on a second device (third if you include the TV too) in order to watch something that I missed.

          It's like saying to someone - "ITunes MP3's?! Why don't you just record the radio 24/7?!"

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            "Why don't you just record the radio 24/7?!"

            There's an app for that. No seriously, there is. Radio doesn't use much bandwidth, so it doesn't have much impact on the network.

            "I have high-speed broadband for a reason,"

            And ISPs who want customers like you to stay as their customers in any significant quantity ARE going to have to find a way to make customers like you pay for the impact you have on their costs and on their quality of service.

            You don't quite seem to appreciate (or want to admit?) that TV uses rather a lot of bandwidth for any given Internet viewer, and if rather a lot of people all (ab)use the Intertubes for stuff that could be better acquired by other means then things will not be working nice or things will not be as cheap as they have been or maybe both.

            "most IPTV broadcasts you see on your TV have been blatted across the Internet at least twice before you see them "

            So what.

            If a few hundred thousand folk want to watch Eastenders etc on iPlayer rather than over-the-air on a regular basis, you, your ISP, and your ISP's other customers will notice it, and then will have to pay for it.

            Bandwith is not free. An infinite amount of bandwidth costs an infinite amount of money. If you're happy to pay for that, that's grand. But anything less than that *requires* some compromises, WHETHER YOU LIKE IT OR NOT.

            If you want to play this game, maybe you should just keep quiet about it?

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Going to get worse

    Its going to get worse before it gets better. The "core network" outside the M25/SE England is a shambles, no other word for it - some areas have been absymal for years - running a "core network" on BES circuits will do that.

    The insane way Be allocated IP ranges is making matters worse - for those unaware of the lunacy if you order 8 IP addresses then it won't be a /29, oh no. It will be random addresses, some of which may not even be in the same /8 address space.

    The upshot of this is that its quite possible to end up with one IP address on one backhaul tunnel, another IP address on a totally different backhaul tunnel, etc - all from one phoneline. Lunacy on wheels, it really is.

    There is a "new" network apparently being built but that won't be ready until late 2012 - so 2013 is probably realistic. However I reckon the "new" network is more to do with 4G backhaul for O2/rental than ADSL services.

    Sky are now taking FTTC orders (first few people are on it now) so I can see Be/O2's customer base declining even more rapidly than its done in the last year. They have nobody to blame but themselves for that.

    Oh and if you do leave Be then make damn sure you check your CC carefully - that's twice they have overcharged me as I left. They seem to think adding on some random number to the last bill is acceptable, probably because you can't raise any tickets then......

  9. Charles Calthrop
    Thumb Down

    i keep getting 'this is not avaiable' on opera - presume because my connection is so slow opera turbo kicks in and the request comes from norway or wherever it is opera is based in

    i have had woeful service from Be unlike that other person up there.

  10. ElNumbre
    Facepalm

    Canna Cope Captain...

    Lets hope there arn't any big events coming up that lots of people might want to watch when they get home from work, like say the Olympics or maybe even some diamond jubblies, if their network can't cope with day to day usage.

    Ohh...

  11. Steve Evans

    Wow!

    ISP in over selling of back-end infrastructure shocker!

    1. Z-Eden
      Meh

      Re: Wow!

      I know. Its like they've been advertising unlimited access and are shocked when people use it as advertised.

      1. Tom 38 Silver badge

        Re: Re: Wow!

        Be is unlimited. There are no limits. None. Nil. Nada. Null. Not a sausage.

        Be is exceptional quality, except when it is not. I've been with them since launch (2007), there were a couple of months in 2009 where quality was bad - not enough backhaul, high pings. I hadn't noticed any BBC issues, although I'm not a big user of iplayer.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Wow!

      But at least they don't throttle so everyone knows when they've run out of bandwidth!

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why is it that people only complain...

    when there is one little thing that goes wrong? So what you got high pings for a while and were unable to watch iPlayer. Deal with it, it happens to all ISP's. Just look at VM and their random nationwide outages. At least with Be* the rest of the Internet still works.

    I've been with Be* for over a year and a half now, and I have had 2 issues that lasted 20 minutes each, both solved by a quick call to CS who reset my SNR profile. Besides that I've never had any connection issues, not even to BBC recently.

    A friend 5 miles way on another exchange had all sorts of issues and was fuming, but he dealt with it by simply not using it. Easy.

    Be* is the best ISP in the country, you should learn to deal with the odd problem. Nobody is perfect.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why is it that people only complain...

      To summarise then:

      "I've never had a problem, therefore no one else can possibly have any problems"

      Plonk.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It wasn't just that link

      Some of us had packet loss to EVERYWHERE for months. Constant packet loss 24/7.

      If its anything to do with the network the Bulgarian support people can't do a thing about it - as proven amply over the last couple of months. All they can do is "pass it on" and judging from pervious events nobody takes much notice of them.

      If you're in the SE of England then yeah they're probably fine for most things. Don't assume its like that elsewhere though, it frequently isn't.

    3. This post has been deleted by its author

    4. This post has been deleted by its author

    5. handy
      Thumb Down

      Re: Why is it that people only complain...

      People complain because of the poor way this has been handled.

      This problem has affected me for 6 weeks, with O2 up until a couple of days ago blaming everyone else but themselves (BBC upgrades, BT, my router, etc) . While some people where just unable to use the Iplayer, in my case I was getting >95% packet loss , so I couldnt even load a BBC webpage (and a few other sites for that matter)

      Is it really acceptable not to be able to access certain web pages (or stream) for 3 months, given it wont be till the end of April till its fixed ?

      That is pretty poor for just an individual, let along a large section of your customer base.

      Iplayer might not be a vital function for you, but in my household it is used daily. Luckily I was able spoof my mac adress to get a new ip outside the range, but for alot of people this simply is not an option.

  13. Tony Pomfret

    Be is a great ISP especially if you like playing online games as it does have the lowest latency DSL speeds I've ever seen...

    My problem is that from around 6pm to 8pm my router would lose sync with my exchange(LCATH), I can only guess that Be picked up on this problem and as a result have lowered my connection speed from > 7meg to 5!

    I'd rather they' inform me before crippling my connection speed and look for the real reason for the de-sync (congestion).

    I'm on the Pro service so It cost's a rather large amount of money for a now very slow service. Not happy!

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    mostly reliable

    I have had no issues with BE until very recently and they might be completely unrelated.

    Playing online MMOs has recently started to be painful, lots of stutter and lost packets, that might be local contention though.

    More annoying is the cant find page > retry >stil cant find page > retry > oh there it is issue, it thought it was a crappy DNS server but maybe it is just network saturation?

    1. McToo

      Possibly DNS server

      I changed mine to Googles (8.8.8.8) when gta4.net fell off the Be DNS a while ago. Me & the missus play a lot of WoW, no problems at all (22 ms pings). Rarely watch iPlayer on the Be network, we've got a VM Tivo box for that. iPlayer on that manages to suck occasionally though.

      HTH

  15. Stretch
    Alert

    Not a Be User...

    ...but isn't this experience of the BBC iPlayer (drop outs, packet loss, connection resets, incorrectly stating "insufficient bandwidth") just normal for everyone? Its what I've always experienced anyway.

    1. Dave Robinson
      Happy

      Re: Not a Be User...

      For me, BBC iPlayer means hi-def streaming, with no drop-outs or buffering at all (Zen Internet). Works a treat. The HD streams are as good visually as BBC HD over the air (at least, on my puny 32"), but the sound is not as good. Maybe you need to move to where you can get 21Mb/s out of an "up to 20Mb" connection, like I do!

  16. fLaMePrOoF
    Unhappy

    Least of their problems

    Was with Be for almost 6 years and always very happy, but over the last year they have failed to scale their central and distributed infrastructure in line with demand leaving most users seeing significant slowing down at peek times and users on some exchanges finding their connections becoming close to unusable for long periods.

    Again they tried to point the blame elsewhere, generally at BT, but have recently started to admit to capacity related problems and faults on some exchanges with no planned or projected fix in sight.

    As soon as Sky installed LLU on my exchange i bailed out, why pay almost £20 / month for a second rate service, when I can get an equally good second rate service from Sky for £7.50 / month?!

    1. snowlight
      Happy

      Re: Least of their problems

      Because using Sky broadband involves giving money to the dread lich king that is Rupert Murdoch.

      Have to admit that I've only experienced minor problems with iPlayer using Be and most of those within the past few weeks. At worst there is some buffering but other than that me and my housemates haven't noticed any other problems.

      YMMV seems to be the case, Be is working fine up here in the socialist republic of south yorkshire.

  17. Mr Young
    Joke

    ISP's eh?

    Like a typical commentard I've got some bad attitude reserved for ISP's but I do also sometimes feel just a little sorry for them - the cost of the hardware to move these amounts of data about must be absolutely fecking eye watering? I'm such a sad bastard I might even Google some stuff later on and try to figure out how the hell they manage to survive and/or make a profit? All this seems to be reminding me of 56K modems? Ah, them were the days, we're all spoilt now - "Bah,bah,bah, my IP video is buffering again! WOT A POS! bah,bah,bah"

    1. BlinkenLights

      Re: ISP's eh?

      You're right about the cost of the hardware. You should see the size of the pipes they're using - you could fit a small child down some of them!

  18. Anthony Hulse

    Ah, so this explains

    why I can't watch iPlayer HD content without a pause every few seconds. Looking forward to it getting fixed.

    17Mbps O2 broadband.

  19. Andy The Hat Silver badge

    The anonymous posting above is wrong - it'll get worse before it gets even worse! Mark my words, the government will sell off the current tv broadcast bandwidth and get 'broadcast' tv transferred to 'the internet'. Three advantages: (1) it cost them nothing apart from the streaming server as the user will end up paying for the bandwidth (2) 'on demand', 'pay-per-view' and copy protection can be easily tightened until the pips squeak and (3) the 'licence fee' which is currently being eroded can be extended to computers ...

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Resetting to the beginning

    "At times the programme I'm viewing will stop to buffer and not recover at all, so resetting back to the beginning."

    I've been noticing this, random buffering and other problems, but have been putting it all down to the BBC tinkering with the iPlayer code and causing problems/bugs. I never thought it would be my connection.

    A couple of times recently, I've loaded The One Show, to skip to a certain segment, and it's always been giving me the low bandwidth version despite being in normal bandwidth mode. Again, I assumed this was the BBC forcing me onto low bandwidth because it was peak time and their own servers were under heavy load rather than a problem with my connection.

    I was a Pipex refugee, and Be were a wonderful company to switch to. Nothing lasts forever and it's been a good few years, but I do hope this isn't the start of Be following Pipex down the road to hell. My other option at the time was Entanet, but they've apparently gone down hill too. I have no idea who I'd switch to now. Instinct tells me to avoid BT, even if they do offer FTTC speeds. Sky and Virgin are out of the question, as I want a simple reliable ISP who won't be a nightmare to move from later - something I'm sad to see is starting to happen at Be.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    heh I was wondering what had been up with my internet the past few weeks, torrents were fine as was ddl but often stream from crunchyroll was nackard and web site browsing was troublesome late at night.

    Shame

  22. Sarah Davis
    Coat

    Being going on for months

    as a BE cunstomer i can confirm that i have been reporting this problem to BE and the BBC for months, in fact part of the confusion is that it started happening the same day that the BBC upgraded iPlayer. BE would blame the BBC (anyone but themselves), and the BBC just never appear to reply to any emails (as far as i can tell) so they did look suspect.

    But in either case it comes down to ineptitude and a lack of professionalism of both parties. Has either party acted with any competence the issue would have been resolved months ago.

    BE do a good service when it works, and the support is good (if it's something easy to fix). I was one of their first customers and it took over 2 years before they managed to get anything close to the dl speed i should've been getting - I'm only 1Km from the exchange but initially they got me 2Mbits and said that was the best they could do, i did not accept this, i kicked their arse and eventually they got it up to 18Mbits. So they can be a tad lazy and inept,.... just like most services in Britain these days (ooo, careful, being a little bit 80's there, a little bit Ben Elton !!)

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not just iPlay & BBC...

    ... Be have just been crap since the start of the year full stop! Although it does seem to have got a little bit better the past two weeks for general browsing. Before that we had endless packet loss.

  24. Rupert Fiennes Bronze badge

    Cannot improve interconnect speeds until April?

    What complete cobblers. Be, O2 and Akamai are all on LINX, just turn up some peers!

  25. Marty
    Pint

    BE--- Better than most...

    I have been with BE for a long time now. Prior to going with BE it was usually a matter of after the minimum term with a ISP, jumping ship to whoever was showing potential to be a good provider....

    I have never once thought about leaving BE..

    I personally have not had any problems regarding BBC iPlayer or any of the BBC sites... saying that, I dont really use iPlayer that much. I have Sky plus, so I record what I cant watch as it airs..

    plus, the only down time I have ever had from my broadband service was when the exchange flooded when a sewage pipe burst.... I was without web access for nearly a day and a half. other than that, nothing, zipp, nadda, nil... no problems, not a single disconnect..

    I'll drink to that

  26. the-it-slayer
    Pint

    Laugh, laugh, laugh at the ACs

    Typical most licking the arse of Be* have gone all anon. Seriously; you pay for service that a provider promises. If they can't deliver, then complain. This is a downfall in Be*'s promise to deliver unlimited broadband without compromise.

    It's simple for ISPs. Don't take on more than you can bite their money off. Shows a teeny weeny lack of investment to provide a stable connection to iPlayer at peak. Of course there's anomalies in networking as you can't fix a good gestimate for the one off issue.

    I want beer Friday to come quicker! More beer!

    1. Tom 38 Silver badge

      Re: Laugh, laugh, laugh at the ACs

      Hi. Not anon. Still <3 Be.

      At least Be a) fess to the issues and b) fix them eventually. Once a BT backhaul or peer gets overloaded, that is life.

  27. Richard Lloyd
    Stop

    Get a PVR and use iPlayer to watch stuff you forgot to record

    For around 200-250 quid, you can get a Freeview HD PVR that has the following advantages over iPlayer (this is to counter people who think iPlayer is viable to watch all BBC TV on, of which there are a fair number it seems):

    1. You get to keep the recording to watch forever.

    2. You don't require a Net connection to view the recording (important if something else is using most of your connection - iPlayer buffers badly when that happens).

    3. You get to watch *all* BBC programmes, not just the limited set that's on iPlayer. Live rights (e.g. for sports) often prevent iPlayer from having certain content.,

    4. You can export recordings (e.g. via the Net to another machine or save a copy on USB) and give them to friends, though Freeview HD recordings are infuriatingly blocked on most PVRs from doing this.

    5. The quality of the picture is generally better on Freeview when you compare Freeview SD/HD vs. iPlayer SD/HD.

    I use my PVR's EPG to whizz through the week marking shows (note that BBC red button channel 301 never seems to have its content on iPlayer and there's a lot of live sport and other stuff on there) and then I use iPlayer to pick up anything I missed, but I have to remember to do so within a ludicrously short time (1 week unless it's a stacked series).

    The only exception to tis is "Click", which is actually better on iPlayer than BBC News because it doesn't have the incredibly distracting scrolling BBC News headlines on the iPlayer version. Plus for some unknown reason, iPlayer keeps Click episodes for a full year, which is how all shows should be.,

    Oh and, yes, I'm on Be and had a bit of trouble with iPlayer a few weeks back, but I tried later in the day and it was OK.

  28. Wanda Lust
    FAIL

    Broadband, schmuckband.

    Broadband service is very much a case of 'ye get what ye pay for'.

    I mistakenly signed up to O2's service, about 3 yrs ago, on the basis of a 'no limits' 14 quid a month subscription. Sure, O2 didn't cap it but so many punters signed up to it they created the caps themselves. While that was on the basis of an Openreach ADSL wholesale package the central pipes & peering was where O2 were wholly deficient. I jumped within a year.

    Sounds like nothings changed, this time their Akamai peering load is mismanaged or else they haven't actually got any and are just throttling the peering exchange traffic for Akamai/iPlayer.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    To sum them up

    They continually lie to their customers about such issues as this ,their support never return or ring you when they say that they will, they seem inept in dealing with line faults , they may well send out a new router and monitor your connection in an endless loop each time applying profiles that will act as an artificial cap on the sync that your line can support along with masking any potential underlying fault, that is their solution it would seem, I am fortunate to know what good support is ,and have been unfortunate enough to also experience poor support also , Be support so far is quite poor , which is a disappointment really and the final straw for me

  30. demented
    FAIL

    BE/O2 too many official conflicting comunications given ,

    Why is it there are some who will try and cover for this their isp even though an issue on this scale that clearly affected thousands of the customer base, not for a few hours or peak times only, but lasted for 4 weeks for some of us, what the actual issue was is irrelevant here,

    But how they handled it is the issue, they completely failed at first and continued to fail their customers ,

    Apart from a workaround solution , which was not released by the isp so was an unofficial work around , (spoofing the routers hw address) which would force a change in the public ip assigned by the isp only worked for dynamic ip customers , most reported no packet loss after doing this

    So how would that be the Fault of any third party ? Which is what be have done blame anything & anyone but themselves or their available resources

    This is almost a repeat performance to that issue with peak time congestion that some customers experienced in 2011 that took several months to finally fix, (lack of peering bandwidth with LINX public peering)

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    PVR FTW!

    Record the broadcast.

    No bandwidth issues.

    P2P & RS for when things go bad.

  32. Dare to Think
    IT Angle

    Either it's Be/O2...or Akamai

    If the bandwidth to Akamai is saturated, what is the BBC or Be/O2, or other telcos holding back setting up their own replication sites?

    See a need - fill a need.

    1. demented
      FAIL

      Re: Either it's Be/O2...or Akamai

      This problem was probably brought to light due to the other issues that caused the high amount of packet loss to anything related to the bbc, some .Gov.uk site's where also affected by the packet loss problem, which caused loading the pages was extremely slow or failed completely as people were unable to connect, this also caused problems to the I player streaming,regardless of the CDN provider, they use more than akamai

      So i don't buy this latest admission as being the whole truth

  33. AlexS
    Mushroom

    Quit BE last year

    For two years I had great service and really fast internet.

    Two years after that the speed reduced by half (overnight in fact), terrible tech support dealt with my complaints. Total indifference.

    Went to BT after a year of complaining. Same crappy speed but at least I'm paying a lot less.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Seems a simple solution...

    Seems a simple solution to all these throttling issues when trying to stream content from a central server would be to implement some kind of torrent system. Oh wait, I forgot, the mainstream media (like the BBC) now have to follow the official line that torrent=bad nasty illegal activity.

    Shame. The one technology that could've saved them all so much bandwidth hassle is the one they have made a pariah. Idiots.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Seems a simple solution...

      Torrents and P2P in general are a solution to a different problem. One of Be's problems is that parts of their customer-side network don't have enough bandwidth to the Intertubes. P2P doesn't help that; P2P helps when there's enough bandwidth on the Intertubes but whatever 386 server or similar you're trying to download from doesn't have enough horsepower to keep up with the aggregate demand.

      Some of us remember that iPlayer used to be P2P (based on Kontiki) until a couple of years ago. Now it isn't, and doesn't need to be, because there's a proper content delivery network in place and where some ISPs have sufficient bandwidth in place, for many people much of the time it works OK.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Internet radio

    Our WiFi radio has been almost unusable for some weeks. BBC stations have been the worst of all, with persistent breaks in the stream.

  36. sjdean
    Mushroom

    BeThere are Great!

    I can't remember when I finally jumped ship to Be. Think I've been with them for about two years though, so people who have been with them for six I think forget what life was like before Be and what other providers were like for iPlayer.

    Other ISP's have usage limits, 20 Gig, 30 Gig, 40 Gig... I'd like to see you guys who complain about not being able to download your favourite torrents and EastEnders omnibus get a better service at one of those other ISP's.

    I was paying not much less than I am now to PlusNet who introduced over the years much fangled traffic shaping. All I wanted was full unrestricted access to my 20 Gig and what I wanted to use my 20 Gig for. But no, I had to use my 20 Gig on what PlusNet thought should be the highest priority. I could forget about downloading iTunes or iPlayer or anything else.

    No service is perfect, the service is still unlimited, they just have some linkage issue to one partciular part of the internet, not the whole internet. During my time with Be, I haven't had any real major problems to want me to throw my toys out of the pram. The service has been ultra reliable. When there was an outage one day, I had a text saying, we detected an outage and an engineer is already looking into this at the exchange. We had been having some phone problems too, so I think we had some problems with our line. You do get the normal fluctuations from time to time, but what ISP doesn't?

    I haven't had to call Be There about anything, Im delighted with the service and I don't think they could improve on it.

  37. demented
    FAIL

    BeThere WERE Great! ,not any more

    Just because an issue didn't affect someone doesn't mean that a very large percentage of the customer bases of both o2 &BE would not agree with you on that, Please stop trying to defend the defenseless,

    As for other ISP'S imposing usage caps , a few do but not all and FYI there are quite a lot of other ISP'S out there that offer a unlimited and UN-throttled service too, there is nothing unique about Be at all, Infact some of the opposition have not had problems with lack of peering capacity or a network that is unable to cope with the demand, infact apart from what is known as the "London ring " within M25 they Don't actually have a network so the rest of us see a very different level of service in a lot of ways, And the lame attempt by one of their fanboys in a bid to divert attention away from this article, something about a cat and router ??? talk about digging holes lol

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Be: = too many problems

    So they fix an issue after 4weeks of denying that there was any issues then within days their flaky DNS dies, lol

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Be are now near unusable as an isp

    iPlayer is a side issue and one I'm not bothered about. Basic web functionality to the Beeb is affected at all times of the day, nothing to do with traffic from Be (unless they have full load 24 hours a day) It's nothing to do with my setup, it affects multiple routers on multiple operating systems on multiple sites in multiple cities.

    Be has changed from a good ISP, and one I would recommend to one that is total cack. Often I get no BBC homepage displayed, in the past it loaded within a couple of seconds. When it does load then links are unreachable.

    It's become the new Pipex, a once great ISP that is now sadly only fit for the bin.

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