From the BBC:
“A row about who should pay for extra network costs incurred by the iPlayer has broken out between internet service providers (ISPs) and the BBC.
ISPs say the on-demand TV service is putting strain on their networks, which need to be upgraded to cope.”
So, Mr Whiny ISP guy, why not upgrade your network with the cash you’ve been raking in?
The theory is: now we can catch up on Easties if we’ve missed it, the ISPs networks are starting to experience some strain. But, I hear you say, I have a 6 Mbit download from my ISP and the BBC iPlayer only takes up a fraction of that. And yes, that’s true, but the ISPs have been dishonest with us, taking the same backbone and selling it hundreds of times over to us.
For example, an ISP might buy a 100 Mbit link from a backbone vendor and then sell that to a hundred people, offering them speeds ranging from 512 Kbit to 6 Mbit. They oversell the bandwidth they have because they know that not everyone is going to use it.
They’ve benefited from the fact that most of us only send the occasional email and browse the web (and even then only during the daylight hours) a little while taking in subscription fees. They’ve come down hard on people who abuse the network because their advertised “Unlimited” accounts actually have hard limits.
This time I’m siding with the BBC. The ISPs need to suck it in. I’m paying for my 6 Mbit and I demand the right to download whatever legal content I want. This is a cynical attempt by ISPs to get the BBC to foot the bill for their lack of vision and their dishonesty to customers. They already have mechanisms to prevent abuse of their networks via capped limits and small-print fair use policies.
We the consumer are paying for these bandwidth speeds and, presumably, the ability to use them. We can expect that many poorly-run ISPs will quickly raise their prices in order to pay for the backhaul network upgrade.
This comes mere hours after I was pleased to hear that the BBC and Nintendo had inked a deal where iPlayer would be available for the Wii.