back to article BBC should not pay for fibre, Ofcom tells MPs

The dog and pony show over whether the BBC should contribute to distribution costs for iPlayer rolled into Westminster yesterday, with Ofcom chief executive Ed Richards telling MPs he doesn't believe forcing Auntie to cough up for a fibre network is the best plan. Appearing before a joint session of the Commons culture and …


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  1. Roger Barrett

    Can't think of anything suitable but AARRGGHHH!

    First of all I'm pro BBC, I like the BBC, I don't mind paying a license fee etc etc, but...surely if the iPlayer is adding huge traffic to the network the BBC should be expected to contribute to an upgrade. If a new airport/supermarket is built at the end of a country lane (this may work out to be a terrible example here) surely this new building is expected to contribute to the cost of upgrading the road?

    Now I'm not saying it should only be the BBC, all the video on demand services, and ITV, Channel 4 etc have their own as well don't they? plus the Youtubes, the Xbox Live HD movie service all these new technologies are contributing to what is in effect a traffic jam of digital proportions that needs sorting out.

    As well as the media services, surely a complete FTTH network would do wonders for the British service economy and again the big banks, large IT companies and who ever else add masses of traffic tot he current network should be expected to contribute, now I'm not saying these organisations should stump up the whole cash amount but a substantial contribution would be good, the remainder coming from the Government, EU funding(EU?)

    Just a thought,

    No poxy icon 'cos there is nothing to show my anger and laziness of all these organisations sitting on there hands saying they shouldn't have to pay AARRGGHH!!

  2. Andy Hockey

    ISP should deliver what they claim

    ISPs advertise unlimited or large bandwidth limits, then they moan when people start using it. If they can't supply what promise then they should pay for the infrastructure or not advertise they can deliver, If I was in the BBC I would be reporting the ISP that are complaining to the ASA for false advertising.

  3. Vince

    How does that work.

    In simple terms, the difference is that improving the roads directly help only the business (the old roads after all did just fine serving whatever used to be there), whereas if the BBC bankroll the infrastructure, they don't get exclusive benefit I would imagine.

    Should Youtube pay for it's share, or Kazaa, or Steam Downloads? etc etc

  4. Daniel


    Now i may have a slightly narrow mind on this subject, but surely the BBC have to have some responsibility in this? If you create a product that causes damage to other systems... in this case clogging up every ISP's bandwidth. Then you should have atleast some of the responsibility in fixing the issue? I'm trying desperately here to think of an analagy, but its a pretty unique sitiuation..

    Either way the moral is "you F**ked it, you fix it"

    Hell if we're going to go on a rant, maybe the government should step in and put some money towards making the UK a bit more technologically advanced.

  5. 4a$$Monkey

    @ Roger Barrett

    Everyone already pays - that's what your broadband bill is for. Even the BBC presumably pay for the up stream from their iPlayer servers.

    If the telcos didn't over sell their network there wouldn't be a problem.

  6. Alex


    we could all pay an internet license, that would be GREAT!

  7. Richard Austin

    What is needed...

    is a publicly owned telecommunications company that would look after the infrastructure for the whole country.

    Then it could lease out the fibre lines to any company that wished to provide internet service.

    As a public concern, it could be non-profit making and be totally impartial to who leases the equipment/lines.

    We could call it something like Great Britain Telecommunications company or maybe British Telecom for short ;P

    Just a thought :D

    In addition to this, they could charge householders to have fibre to the home at an install cost of say £200. Then they reduce the burden on BT. This of course could be optional so that only people who wanted FTTH forked out but they would be the only ones able to connect to high bandwidth apps. Therefore removing the problem of overloading copper lines.

    Mines the one with the carrier pigeon in the pocket.

  8. Joel Stobart


    I think your analogy is flawed. The BBC is arguing that by building an airport - it shouldn't have to upgrade every motorway in Britain. I imagine that the on-off ramp for BBC traffic is a significantly large "road" that they have paid lots of money for.

    Fortunately for the BBC there are people called consumers who regularly pay an internet "road-tax" to pay for access to the "roads". I suggest they should consider paying for the "road-maintenance" - and if necessary raise the "road-tax" in order to fund it.

    - Joel

  9. Andy ORourke

    Couldnt have said it better

    "Meanwhile, public philosophical posturing over "net neutrality" conceals the fundamental problem with current ISP business models: they're selling bandwidth that doesn't exist."

    In the early days when people were checking emails and watching some low quality Pr0n clips that was fine, the ISP's could quite happily oversubscribe and reap the rewards. Now though the chickens are coming home to roost, lots of content rich sites with very popular, high quality programs and it suddenly seems the infrastructure can't cope. They (the ISP's) should have known that an increasing number of users using a static or very slowly growing infrastructure could only ever end one way really.

  10. Graham Dawson Silver badge

    Still figuring out where to sit on this one...

    There's something of an irony in the BBC, paid for by compulsory license, complaining about having to pay for the use of something.

  11. Rande Knight
    Dead Vulture

    Re : Aaargh


    The problem with your argument is that consumers will be paying for it one way or another anyway, so why double up the paperwork?

    The reason that companies are sitting on their hands is that there's no benefit in the 5year period for doing so. If it doesn't make a profit in 5 years, it doesn't happen.

    The reason that Japan has fibre is that their companies work (or at least used to) on a 20 year+ timeframe, and are willing to work on 'This is going to be good for us at some point in the future' projects.

    I strongly suspect that in the end, the taxpayer will heavily subsidise the fibre rollout, and the ISPs will get their profits without the risk.

  12. Nigel Whitfield

    Holes in their business plans

    The BBC's only sin is to have lots of content that people want to watch; they have their own internet connectivity, which they pay for like any other content provider, and work with ISPs to peer and ensure things go as smoothly as possible.

    Why should ISPs that have raced to the bottom of the market, cutting costs everywhere in the hope of maximising the chance of paying out to their shareholders, be given money from the licence fee to plug the hole in their business plans?

    They've based their networks on people doing one thing; something else has come along, and thrown a spanner in their forward planning. Just like the web and TCP/IP connectivity did for the likes of Compuserve in the past.

    ISPs have promised the earth in their advertising, while explaining in the small print that they really just mean a square foot or so of it, in an unfashionable part of Middlesborough. And now that people are actually wanting to use what they thought they've paid for, they cry foul.

    They're hunting around for someone that they can blame for their own mendacity, and hope that taking out the BBC bashing stick will work for them.

    They should be open about what they're charging for, and if they can't actually deliver what they say they can at a particular price, reconsider their pricing models - not bleat and whine about how unfair it is that people want to use their net connections for the latest neat idea.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Roger Barrett

    The one major flaw in the argument that by producing a bandwidth hungry application the BBC (and others) should shoulder some of the financial burden required to provide the bandwidth necessary to meet the increased requirements is simply:

    The ISPs are already selling the bandwidth required to meet the iPlayer (etc.) requirements.

    If the ISPs require more bandwidth in order to provide a service they are already selling (and receiving money from) then the obvious question is "Are you aware that the act of selling a good or service that you knowingly are unable to provide is actually called 'fraud'?"

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Roger Barrett

    "surely if the iPlayer is adding huge traffic to the network the BBC should be expected to contribute to an upgrade" What? Say again? You're having a laugh aren't you?

    I'm going to say this again, nice and clear: I pay my ISP for a certain amount of bandwidth. That's the contract. How I use that bandwidth is up to me. If I choose to blow it all on iPlayer, and my poor ISP can't cope, that's my poor ISP's tough tits for having a piss poor business model.

    Besides, if it weren't for t'internets attractions, like P2P, iPlayer etc ad nausem then nobody would want to use the internet anyway and consequently the poor ISPs would go belly up.

    Fuck 'em I say - let them stew in a juice of their own making.

  15. Kevin Milburn

    Double Dipping....

    > surely if the iPlayer is adding huge traffic to the network the BBC should be expected to contribute to an upgrade

    One thing to remember is that the BBC is already paying shed loads of money to their ISP to cover the bandwidth they upload into the internet..

    You and I are already paying our ISP to receive said content.

    Given this, why should the BBC contribute again to cater for the (bad?) decisions of ISPs who can't provide the bandwidth they've sold?

  16. Jess
    Paris Hilton


    "surely this new building is expected to contribute to the cost of upgrading the road"

    The flaw is that the road has been sold as being capable but in reality isn't. It is hardly the supermarket's fault in that situation.

  17. Matt Kemp


    The fact is, short of singling out every single content provider in the UK and abroad and making them pay their share, that model just isn't viable. Should we go find all the people who get slashdotted and get a sudden rush of activity to their website and force them to pay up?

    The main problem seems to be the large ISPs selling unlimited broadband for stupidly low prices. When people actually try and test this theory without reading the small print, they get stung because they weren't actually supposed to be doing that. There's no such thing as a free lunch - if you're promised an unlimited line for £15, you're more than likely going to get an extremely bad contention and get slapped with a fair use the second you go over 5GB.

    I would rather see either an increase in prices overall to pay for new fibre, or ISPs changing to a cost-based model per GB used. Also, people need to be told what contention means - some large ISPs are essentially selling lies to people.

  18. mlp

    re: AARRGGHHH!


    The new building with it's big carpark has access restricted by a toll booth (which is the ISP) and it has a queue of ten thousand cars waiting whilst the guy at the toll booth goes and takes a slash...

    The problem isn't the Internet or the content or the amount of it being viewed as such - the internet is fine and everyone is peering with each other and it's all fine.

    The problem is that every ADSL subscriber sits on (one of a number of) "home gateways" at the ISP. It has a pipe of finite capacity. If each subscriber wants to run @ 8Mbps then you can have Y users. The ISP will put Y users times ten thousand on that gateway.

    They do this because BT charge them to add the subscriber.

    So the problem lies either with BT charging too much, or the ISP not charging enough...

  19. Dave Moore

    @ Roger

    The BBC have always used their funds to drive technology, which has to be lauded. Without Freeview, and the red button features it offers, digital tv would be struggling right now. It is the same with the internet: without the BBC offering internet content, I'm certain broadband uptake would be slower.

    So for ISPs to then want money from the BBC is wanting them to help them twice: once to get new paying customers in with the promise of "killer app" style content, and then secondly to pay for providing the content that these new customers have signed up to access

  20. John Browne

    If only the ISPs didn't hate peer to peer so much

    It would be a far more efficient use of the network for delivering media content. The ISPs could even get in on the act by engaging in some local caching to improve performance.

    I agree with what some of the other people above are saying. If everyone on my street has 8meg broadband with a 50gig download cap and we all attempted to use it then the whole system would fall apart. The ISPs should be more transparent in what they sell.

    I envisage rather than fixing the problem they're only going to "Toll" people to use the infrastructure at peak times, like in the evening.

  21. Dr. Mouse

    Mixed views

    Firstly, I am absolutely sick of ISPs anyway. Most oversell their bandwidth, then complain when they dont have enough to meet customer demand.

    However, BT (and Ofcom) have some resposibility for this by charging the ISPs by usage for the backhaul. Only those who have their own backhaul are free of this (I think my ISP is one, Be Unlimited, who are brilliant, dont complain when I go on one of my download sprees, maxing out the 16GB I can get for a couple of weeks, and I have never found any limiting factor in their network, only the amount a website will offer or a torrent without enough seeds etc.)

    I also, however, feel that Roger Barrett's commets above are entirely valid, "a complete FTTH network would do wonders for the British service economy". But why should the BBC pay for this? I would say gov't/EU funding should be made available for this.

    I am very much pro-BBC. Mainly because I HATE adverts. They arent so bad normally, but I was absolutely exstatic when they anounced Formula1 would be going BBC next year. Adverts in the middle of the race, coming back to the commentator saying "Wow, you just missed XYZ" p***es me right off. Yes, we have to pay a license fee, but (to me) this will make it all worthwhile.

    IMHO, the ISPs should stop whinging, accept that they have been misselling their products for YEARS, and either tell the dumbass masses that their connection is NOT unlimited or make sure that it IS unlimited.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    ISP bandwidth.

    OK, we all KNOW ISPs manage/shape/throttle/murder/abuse/cripple traffic to suit what they can supply. We all KNOW ISPs have a "fair use" policy. What bugs me is FINDING this policy. AOHell say something along the lines of "use a lot of data transfer in peak time and we will limit you, use too much and we will terminate your account" no mention of when peak time is or what they call a reasonable ammount.

    Now, Virgin are the only ISP I can think of that make their fair use policy precise and public and they suggest that downloading a mere 300MB (on a 2Mb connection) between 4 and 9 is "too much". Assuming other ISPs are the same (or more likely worse) .....dear god. 2 Mb = 220kB/s (approximate practical max) meaning that in under 25 minutes I can max out my 5 hour transfer allocation.

    It is not the BBC's fault that ISPs think 300MB download in 5 hours is unreasonable. 1 gamer playing non-stop will go way over that, not including map downloads. Browsing a few photo galleries will go over. Don't even THINK about visiting youtube or the iplayer. Game Demos are clearly the spawn of satan sent to kill ISPs too.

    Even assuming that ISPs are not to blame (yes they are, selling at a loss is stupid) Even if we agree that content providers should pay for the download (no, they already paid for the upload) then why should the BBC specifically pay? why are they not chasing after EA for providing game demos? How about Bioware? go after CCP for providing a game with a 1.5Gb client download (if you opt for premium graphics) How about youtube? google offering docs and spreadsheets? Heck, go after my website for offering 2Gb of photos.

    The icon? PPP = Pen Paper and carrier Pigeon, better bandwidth than most ISPs even when dead.

  23. Wize

    Why just the BBC?

    What about CH4's player? What about bit torrent and other hungry peer to peer applications?

    If the ISPs don't like it, they shouldn't give the customer the bandwidth or put a monthly cap on the amount of data. But then they would have to tell everyone and stop selling their 1meg broadband as 8meg with a little asterisk.

  24. Anonymous Coward

    How many fibre networks could we have....

    ...for, say, an Olympic games?

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    Im not pro BBC - I'm one of the people that thinks the licence fee is squandered by the BBC (on stuff like DAB and BBC HD) and then go show stuff we pay for to the rest of the world free-of-charge, but I dont see why BBC should be forced to pay for fibre.

    Should you-tube or 4OD be forced to pay also ?!

    ISPs just cant get over the fact that in the 21st Century we want our broadband to be fast, uncapped and to be able to stream video or whatever the hell else we want. They will just cling on to any excuse they can not to upgrade their decaying networks they layed down in the 80s -- even then they wanted to do it on the cheap.

    The internet is there to deliver IP packets, it makes bugger all difference what is contained in those IP packets.

  26. George Johnson
    Thumb Up

    Balls, the ISPs pay!

    Why should the BBC pay? If the BBC is forced to pay, then that simply gives open license to charge every bugger on the planet for the amount they put up the tubes, by volume.

    Sorry, but the usual argument applies, the ISPs advertise unlimited, high-speed, then moan when we use it. Surely the bandwidth is finite, therefore it will only carry so much, and with the ISPs capping it, sorry performing traffic management operations at peak times, where's the problem? Very simplisticly, but Auntie and everyone else pushes up the "tubes", but the "tubes" only carry so much, too bad if it ain't enough!

  27. John Wise
    Paris Hilton

    @ Alex

    Don't even joke about stuff like that. The next thing you know, some Whitehall Policy maker will overhear someone on the tube and think "Hey, that's a GREAT idea!", and before you know it, the Govt. will announce a Broadband Tax (in the interest of preserving freedom by taking yet more money of you or some BS excuse).

    Bleed a few more pennies from the public? Oh........go on then!!

    Paris, because she knows all about getting screwed repeatedly.

  28. Joel

    It isn't iPlayer....

    The BBC providing iPlayer isn't causing the problem. If iPlayer sat there with no-one connecting to it, there would be no problem. The BBC is a content provider. They connect to the internet and bear the costs of that. They will also peer with providers directly (eg Virgin Media and I would guess the Cloud as well).

    The bits of the network that are broken are the pipes from the exchanges to the ISPs - this runs over BT's network, and are the sections that are oversold. An ISP might have 100 subscribers with an 8Mbps theoretical connection. However, they will not be paying for an 800Mbps connection from BT's network to their network, but something much less.

    The underlying problem is that most ISPs have to deal with two networks - their own infrastructure, plus the infrastructure required to reach the BT exchanges. That is where the costs arise, and where the economics is broken.

    It isn't the BBC who has broken the network, but pesky consumers wanting what they have paid for. If users stream video from US sites, should the people providing the content pay for it? No, the users pay for a connection to be able to connect to that resource. If NASA provide access to satellite remote sensing data, would you expect NASA to pay ISPs for me taking that data feed? How about a usenet data feed? If you wanted to take a full news feed, who should pay for that data?

    If you go to a Library, do you expect the Library to fund your bus fare to get there? No, it is your responsibility to get to the content you want.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    OFCOM & the ASA

    .. are to blame for this fiasco. The ASA refused to uphold complaints about "unlimited" advertising... despite glaring evidence to the contrary.

    OFCOM has simply done nothing!

    The heads of both these organisations should hang their heads in shame, they've completely failed in their regulatory positions. They both appear to be happy that the general public who they're supposed to represent are being ripped off left, right and centre!

    I couldn't have a lower opinion of both organisations.

  30. Giles Jones Gold badge

    Cheapskate ISPs and BT

    The BBC should not contribute one penny. It is the cheapskate ISPs who are to blame, they keep artificially lowering ADSL prices (by that I mean so low as to be unsustainable), claiming the service is fast and then limit users to paltry download limits.

    The Internet is a computer network, people are going to want to shift data around it!!

  31. Clive Smith

    Just the beggining

    This is just the start of an avalanche. Wait til they try on demand and live tv on the net in the uk. People will want hi quality video and sound but wont get it. The probelm with ISP limited bandwidth will only get worse.

  32. Liam
    Thumb Down


    1) why should the beeb (i.e. you and me) pay for content delivery. this is purely 100% the ISPs resonsibility. they have been falsely advertising 'unlimited' bandwidth for years now!

    2) as a virgin media customer why the hell should money from my license fee go towards people wanting to watch the TV via the internet, wii etc?!?!

    3) can UK broadband actually stream video well enough? most people have to wait a few seconds to watch a bloody youtube video! let alone a *cough* decent quality *cough* video from the beeb

    4) does anyone actually want the iplayer? it seems like 2% of the population use it but everyone is paying for it (wasted cash = less money for REAL programs). i just cannot see the vast majority of the country using the interweb to watch tv! i mean the digital image we get thru digital tv is a leap backwards from the old analog signal in most cases (try watching football on digital - it looks like lego!) - its like this tv on mobile bollocks. who cares? i dont know anyone who uses the iplayer or watches tv on their phones!

    @Daniel - the beeb didnt break anything. they are providing streaming video content - one of the things the IPSs were saying you could do with their BB packages.. turns out to be lies.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Class action lawsuits...

    Do they exist in this country?

    Surely if the ISP's are oversubscribing and do not have the bandwidth they claim to sell people should actually DO something about it, and DEMAND that there is an investigation (or take matters into their own hands and sue if this is an option).

    It just seems like the interweb is full of people that can bitch and moan something rotten thats happening - 'please wont somebody think of the children', but actually do nothing about it - so there is nothing done and no accountability.

    Either there is a serious failing of the advertising standards agency or the crown prosecution service, or no-one has pushed for an investigation. If not - why not. It's fraud right? (or is it only fraud when it's the little people defrauding people).

  34. Michael

    Screw the ISPs

    Sorry I pay my ISP for a certain level of bandwidth, they should provide it.

    The BBC pay for their internet connection and hosting. They have done their bit here.

    The ISPs have a problem, they have oversold capacity and under priced the service in a battle to gain customers. Well now they need to get their house in order and rectify the situation by reducing customer numbers, increasing costs and getting BT to lay some fiber.

  35. David Hicks

    Re AAAAAgh

    "surely if the iPlayer is adding huge traffic to the network the BBC should be expected to contribute to an upgrade. If a new airport/supermarket is built at the end of a country lane (this may work out to be a terrible example here) surely this new building is expected to contribute to the cost of upgrading the road?"

    It's not the iPlayer that's adding traffic. It's me, requesting that the BBC website provides me the video stream.

    I pay my ISP for 24Mbit service. It's none of their business what I do with it. if they've oversold or are having trouble then they need to price themselves honestly or sell their service honestly. Selling me a service and then crying foul when I use it is not reasonable behaviour. The BBC have made one of the first mass-appeal uses for the services people have been sold, the ISPs clearly aren't prepared for their customer's needs and it's their fault.

  36. Anonymous Coward


    joel beat me to it, but the BBC isnt adding all this traffic to the network, the users downloading it are, and they are already paying for the privaledg!. if the isp's arent charging enough, that is their trouble

    i happen to read el reg a lot, but you dont see my isp demanding that el reg pay them for my downloading

    and in reply graham, its NOT a compulsory licence, you CHOOSE to have a TV, you need a licence. feel free to chuck away your tv and tear up your licence,

    you are paying for a service (quality public service broadcasting (their remit - the argument over whether this is what they provide is an entirely differnet matter)) it is not compulsory, if you dont wish to watch tv, you dont need to pay for the license either.

  37. Law
    Paris Hilton

    ISP's are idiots......

    plain and simple. Did they try to get money out of google for having a popular search engine? No! Did they try to get money out of MySpace/Facebook? No! Did they try to get money out of YouTube?? No!!

    Simply put - ISP's have lowered their prices too low, they have been surviving off the money they should have been spending on new infrastructure, hoping that the market will eventually get better. It hasn't. Now they are turning to pimping user data via Phorm, by restricting your "unlimited" services, by "combating piracy" (by restricting p2p) - and now we are on to charging easily bullied content providers - like the BBC!!

    I am starting to get severely pissed off with ISP's and their unbelievably bad service and excuses for said services, the Government's incompetent staff unable to grasp the basic technology concepts for the positions they take, and the BBC for not having a backbone. Don't even get me started on BT!!

    This must be how Paris felt after her one night in..... used, confused, and with a nasty taste in her mouth.

  38. The Avangelist

    do isp charge isp?

    Pretty sure Myspace don't have to pay BT extra money for example to exist?

    tell them to get fooked

  39. Bucky

    Losing battle?

    I agree with most people here. The ISPs have been overselling and underdelivering for too long.

    The service providers just seemed to hide behind the reasoning that if you're actually using most of your bandwidth regularly, then you must be downloading something illegal - dodgy movies via P2P etc.

    It's really shook them up when they realise they're actually going to have to start providing the service they've been promising for all these years.

  40. Nick Askew

    Are you sure you have paid for the bandwidth?

    Or did you pay for up to that bandwidth?

    My folks have recently decided to ditch the dial up modem in favour of a shiny new ADSL connection. Trouble is that the nearest exchange is at the other end of some very long bits of copper that zig zag across the Welsh landscape. The result is that their connection is better than dial up but not all that impressive to us townies.

    So how does BT get away with selling to them? Well the contact states a figure that is the maximum they can expect not the average or even minimum. As far as I know this is the same for us city folk where we have contingency to deal with. This means that if all my neighbours start downloading movies then it will cripple my connection too and there is little I can do unless I buy a dedicated wire.

    Sure roling out fibre will be an improvement but, just like the roads, given time and enough teenagers and over zealous content providers, even the widest bandwidth can be used up.

    But is it just me or have these people simply forgotten how to use their video/hdd recorders. What is wrong with simply recording it and watching it later, that's what we did in olden days.

  41. Nigel R

    While we all ignore Butter's Law of Photonics

    Similar to Moore's Law (where "bang per buck" in hardware doubles every 24 months):

    Butter's Law: The cost of transmitting a bit over an optical network decreases by half every nine months and he bandwidth available to users increases by 50% annually (presumably at no extra cost and at same profit level to the bandwidth providers).

    Why have both sides of the warring parties - and the spectators - forgotten about this?

  42. Roger Barrett

    wow, what a response

    Just had a read through the responses to the article and my post and wow, no flaming and great discussions, I guess when Microsoft/Apple/Sony/Nintendo aren't mentioned, kind words can be said.

    First though thanks to all who poked holes in my supermarket theory, I did feel it was a little thin, so now rethinking, what I see is, if ISPs put up prices so they could fix the network and increase the available bandwidth to us the end user then that would be an acceptable solution, problem for this would be the same as we have with the train pricing (another one of my poor thought out analogies here) should the rail network charge more to perform upgrades or should upgrades be performed first and then a price increase to go with the improved service a bit like the chicken and the egg thing I guess, actually I quite like the rail network and train company vs. communications network and ISP analogy, but of course Network Rail and various train companies don't seem to be doing a good job of that anyway.

    I do like the idea though of an increase in charges or perhaps a total re-evaluation of the whole charging system if it meant a better network was available and I like Richard Austins idea of a flat rate payout from each person initially willing to sign up, all houses connected but only those who make the first payment can get connected, a bit like an installation fee I guess.

    Again no poxy icons for me.

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Backbones, mulitcast and caching.

    Right, the problem is traffic on the backbone.

    Why not slap a cache for this sort of content in the exchanges, cache adverts as well, get those off the backbone too.

    A sort of localised akamai?

    By being in the exchange would put them on the local network which I guess is a much faster gigabit ethernet, wouldn't require much hardware.

  44. Nano nano

    Never mind BBC / Youtube ...

    I thought some large fraction of Internet traffic was spam and P2P/torrent stuff - so why knock the BBC ... because it's an easily-identifiable target ?

  45. Anonymous Coward

    The whole thing is nonesense.

    As usual this will probably end up with us Joe Public bending over and taking a stiff one.

    But why would you think the BBC should pay anything towards ISP bandwidth?.

    It uses THEIR services like everyone else, if THEIR services cant handle it then its THEIR responsibility to sort it out either by simply getting round the table and FINALLY sorting out the whole issue of the nation wide network or take the 'no don't want the responsibility, just the money!' attitude and simply ban the BBC from their networks and then tell their customers that this is the issue so they can decide if they want to stay with them or not.

    But I very much doubt this will solve the issue of bandwidth problems for the ISP as this is just another feeble excuse for a large issue by yet another industry - not unlike the RIAA and P2P.

    Why on earth should the BBC or any of us who already PAY for a service be asked to PAY again in any form licence or otherwise?.

    Any business model, should allow for investment in your infrastructure and obviously this isn't been done at any level. If your service is any good then people will pay to use it, if it isn't then there is little point complaining about it, either sort it out within your industry or STFU and get out and leave it to those that are willing to shoulder the responsibility and the work and we will give them our money.

    To be honest I don't see why we should even pay a TV licence, as that itself is an issue not a million miles away from this one.

    It was supposedly just to fund the BBC, but the fact of the matter is we are funding just about every terrestrial channel out there, which seems a daft idea when all they seem to produce is either crap or just shows they have bought from the U.S in which case why not simply allow those foreign tv stations to set up shop and show them how a commercially funded station is supposed to act.

    /rant on the TV Licence

    But the at the end of the day it seems we are publicly funding or they want us to publicly fund failing businesses and/or infrastructure.

    /*Mines the one with the list in the pocket for those first against the wall.

  46. Anonymous Coward

    bbc NOT already paying

    Several people seem to think that the BBC are already paying 'their' ISP to get to the Internet. This is simply untrue, at least for 95% of UK Internet users (and for many others elsewhere). The BBC run their own network (essentially they are their own ISP) with direct capacity to most large UK broadband providers.

    That's not free to operate, of course, but the suggestion that they're 'already' paying some other ISP to get the traffic 'to the Internet' isn't correct (for the UK, which is basically the only place where iPlayer is available). Maybe this is one of the problems - some of the larger ISPs have chosen to 'help' the BBC by installing these peering connections and have forgotten to generate invoices to cover these costs (which are only apparent now that iPlayer has become a hot ticket). If these peering connections are no longer equitable then the ISPs should consider renegotiating these arrangements.

    The money has to come from somewhere.

  47. Defiant

    BBC Forced Subscription Fee

    The BBC couldn't even run its own ISP yep expects everyone else to subsidised theres

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    @ Liam

    "4) does anyone actually want the iplayer? it seems like 2% of the population use it but everyone is paying for it (wasted cash = less money for REAL programs). i just cannot see the vast majority of the country using the interweb to watch tv! i mean the digital image we get thru digital tv is a leap backwards from the old analog signal in most cases (try watching football on digital - it looks like lego!) - its like this tv on mobile bollocks. who cares? i dont know anyone who uses the iplayer or watches tv on their phones!"

    Your analogy is quite wrong.

    When a new piece of technology starts out very few people use it but over a short time frame of a few years then quite a lot of people use it.

    Mobile Phones, once the brick of the share traders is now common place.

    The internet, only a few geeks were using it back then now a very large portion of the UK use it every day.

    HD TV is only watched by a small percentage of people but it to will be widespread soon.

    I suggest you replace your digital set as I see football in glorious HD and it does not look like lego.

    I bet you do know someone who watches iplayer, it just that you have not spoken to the 1xxx's of people you know to ask the question, I expect what you meant to say was that in your very small close knit family none of you have watched it.

  49. frymaster

    @all the people who don't understand how the internet (and residential broadband) works

    the people saying "i pay for a certain amount of bandwidth, i should get it" don't actually understand how residential broadband works. It has _ALWAYS_ been up to blah speed in _bursts_, no full-on.... if you squint hard enough, you could consider even dial-up's phone-to-connect model as an extension to this. And who seriously expected ISPs to have one modem on the end of their phone line for every single customer subscribed?

    My ISP is virgin media, which perhaps has less excuse, but as far as BT wholesale ISPs go... I believe the prices set by Ofcom mean that a 155Mbps link from BT's phone network to an ISP costs them more than a 10 gig link to Amsterdam... so while the BBC is paying for the "cheap" end of the link (datacentre end) the ISP is paying for the expensive end.

    at the end of the day, if people insist on using a far higher proportion of their line than before, the only response by ISPs (apart from the finger-in-the-dyke traffic shaping moves) will be massively higher prices

  50. Aditya Krishnan


    I totally agree... I don't live in the UK, but I watched a couple episodes of the Doctor last time i was over..

    ISPs as I understand it have their own networks which converge into one big connection to the rest of the Net? So wouldn't it be easy enough to install a file server on the ISP's own local network with cached copies of all iPlayer content? Would work out a damn sight cheaper.

  51. Anonymous Coward

    Copper Wire? how passé!!

    Copper wire should have been phased out as the internet "boom" started (10 years ago, lest we forget!). BT got greedy and looked at the balance sheets, realised they could pump crap services like ISDN and ADSL over their existing lines (512kb... a massive boost over 56k modems) and forget about upgrading their infrastructure. Moore's law appears to be in effect on internet speeds (consumers expect stuff to doubhle in speed/capacity/size/shineyness every 18 months or so), so BT's infrastructure has maxed out - they should pay for it.

    If the BBC are forced to pay ANYTHING towards this, it would set a precedent that any successful site would have to follow. What next? Facebook reimbursing companies for loss of earnings because a member of their staff spent all morning looking at photos of their cousin's neighbour's dog's circumcision?

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Massively higher prices

    Please. These below-cost isp deals are just harming the industry and causing those isps who can provide the service they charge for to be pushed out by people who provide minimal connectivity but claim it's equivalent.

    Make people charge for what they provide. If individual ISPs want to block iplayer then they should make it clear that their £5/month service is with that block and if people want iplayer they have to go elsewhere.

  53. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    Where is the new tech?

    Apart from a box I read about that makes the internet faster (some professor was mentioned, I can't seem to lay my cursor on the articles at the moment.

    However, whilst searching for it, I found out about an Aussie maths whiz with an internet speeding-up algorithm;

    ...and also about the 'Grid' replacing the internet;

    So what is the problem folks?

    Even then, if you really want to delay things and sweep new discoveries under the rug so you can carry on grumbling along at the same pace you always have - why not form yet another consortium and make the internet a charitable institution?

    We can have people out with buckets on the streets begging for money for optical fibre.

  54. Tim Hogard

    Where is the old tech?

    The problem is getting bandwidth the DSLAMs in the local exchanges. Maybe Ofcom should reintroduce the concept of party line concept for fibre optics. Most ISP could drastically increase their capacity and decrease their costs with links that only get them to nearby exchanges and they can share a fibre with others thanks to the magic of fibre wavelength division.

  55. Anonymous Coward

    lets have a vote....

    £25 billion of taxpayers funds to bail out nothern rock or £25 billion on FTTH?

    i vote for the latter ;) (and i work for the crock)


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