back to article Broadband boss: 'The end of freeloading is nigh'

The telecomms industry is in a Mexican stand-off and we'll have to pay for the data we use. So reckons David Williams, the outspoken chief executive of broadband-by-satellite outfit the Avanti Group. Williams had an interesting letter in the FT yesterday castigating "content free loaders". So I gave him a call. Williams' …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Richard 81


    I'm pretty sure I'm already paying for a service I'm not actually receiving, thanks very much. How many of us get the speed the ISP quote?

    1. Janet-H

      If you really want to know...

      If you really want to see how your actual versus paid for service quality stacks up have a look at


  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Parsing "content free loaders".

    I guess you meant "content freeloaders" but at first glance I took it in as "content-free loaders".

    1. Hardcastle
      Thumb Up

      Content-free loaders

      Considering the prevalence of utter crapola that is in the intertubes these days, I believe that your first assumption was perhaps more accurate...

  3. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Been there, didn't do that

      When the Gas Board in Ireland re-installed practically every domestic gas installation in the country when switching from "town gas" to "natural gas", it was refused permission to run an internet connection at the same time - because that would give it an unfair advantage over private operators, who wouldn't be able to make as big a profit.

      The end result? 10 years on, and Ireland still has some of the worst broadband infrastructure in Western Europe.

  4. Rocket

    I don't get it

    Is he saying that broadband is overvalued or tv is overpriced?

  5. Nigel Wright

    They have to be joking

    Joe Public can't afford that. £600/month is half the salary of a substantial portion of the population. You can't charge what people can't afford - you'll have no customers left in no time at all.

    1. The Indomitable Gall

      In fact...

      I've just realised that I don't own a digital PVR. I've never really thought about it, because I've never needed it, because I've got iPlayer. But 10 years ago I was quite happy to set the video for things that were on while I was out.

      If the internet was metered, I would have bought a PVR a long time ago, and I would be sitting with a TV guide in front of me (an online one, naturally) once a week and "harvesting" everything I wanted to watch for later viewing. But it's cheaper for me to consume finite "commons" resources than tap into the broadcast network.

    2. The Indomitable Gall

      I don't think he's joking per se...

      I think what he's trying to point out is that with unmetered access, unicast IPTV is as "cheap" as broadcast TV to the punter on the street, or even cheaper, if you don't currently have a Freeview box or sattelite receiver. The benefit of IPTV is the availability of on-demand viewing. It is therefore a "better product" at the same price point, so the way things are at the moment, the bedroom PC will start to be used as a replacement for the bedroom TV. I don't have a Freeview dongle for my laptop, for example -- I just use iPlayer and 4OD. I even use iPlayer sometimes when I'm watching live.

      So by having unmetered access we discourage people from using the efficient, robust and well-developed broadcast infrastructure and instead consume the internet's finite resources. Not only do most people not realise that there is no "broadcast" on the internet, but even those who do (eg. me) don't really care enough to conserve.

      So we wouldn't expect the metered family to run up £600 a month -- we wouldn't expect the capacity requirements of a metered internet to be anywhere near as high as that of an unmetered one.

      Ask yourself this. Many phone companies offer unlimited free calls. Would they continue to do so if people started listening to radio over the phone? Would they have the capacity?

      Same idea.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Marketing vs Engineering

        "Ask yourself this. Many phone companies offer unlimited free calls. Would they continue to do so if people started listening to radio over the phone? Would they have the capacity?"

        Considering the fiasco of digital radio most people would be more likely to be listening to digital radio via their mobile broadband in smart phones, especially in cars, now and in the future. Whatever the plans are I hope their are based on sensible pricing rather than on punitive cost to _dissuade_ customers from legitimate uses of the service they were sold.

        "Unlimited" is rather unambiguous and attractive to customers since the old dial-up per minute costs were ridiculously when free evening calls were the norm at the time. "High capacity" would approach honest and better made up front rather than the shameful entrapment most IPS operate. Few ever expect a free lunch, but if some idiot is fool enough to promise you unlimited lunches then a clue stick beating is called for said moron.

        ISPs have failed to invest in the future (thanks to price/speed wars rather than focus on capacity) and naively expected that the internet services/habits would remain static. One can only hope that the new pricing includes room for new brains in the running of ISPs.

  6. The First Dave


    Hardly a new theory, of course, but does this mean that they have given up on trying to get the BBC to pay for all the traffic it sends out? (or rather pay for it twice over, since they already have to pay for the connection to the internet at their end.)

    Not sure how accurate any of the maths is, either, what are those prices based on?

  7. AndrueC Silver badge

    I think he's right.

    My concern would be the pricing structure. We're used to metered usage for electricity, water and gas so it's not that far fetched to see metering coming back for networking. The problem is going to be how you provide users with information on their usage. Most people can figure out that turning all your lights on, winding the heating up or leaving taps running will cost money.

    How do you teach them that watching three hours of HD TV is more expensive than standard definition? Come to that how to calculate the cost? three hours of unicast HD TV right now is horribly expensive. But in ten years - not so much one assumes.

    If we ever get multicast operating then the cost could drop even further although that depends on a lot of variables. Personally I'd argue that multicast on IP is silly for the UK given our existing satellite, DTT and cabling coverage. The one advantage of IPTV is that it offers true VoD - and multicasting can't help there.

    1. Jake Rialto 1

      I think he's...well I shouldn't say really

      And comparing bandwidth to finite resources that countries go to war over is loopy. It's a Victorian Tories wet dream.....I can see it all now, meters on the sides of the telly....

      Oh and in the Netherlands, the pavements are often dug up every year or two and they lay them all nice and neat again. All that shiftiing sand.

      It's not a biggie.

  8. Jelliphiish


    interest here. he runs a non-terrestrial internet connection biz.. kinda talking himself up as viable.. or did my in-work scan of the article mis-read..

  9. Jimmy Floyd

    Reading between the lines

    Three points bound feverishly to mind:

    1) Williams is flogging broadband via satellite, which can have reasonable bandwidth but dreadful latency. So pointless for gaming but perfectly acceptable for TV, since we rarely notice the lag there. Hmm, I wonder what his company's pricing structure is like? Probably not...

    2) ...£15.99 for 10GB, which is a curious example. By 'curious' I mean 'ridiculous', since it isn't representative of the market and throws most of his other assumptions out.

    3) Now, his overall point about "who pays" is actually mostly valid (and something mobile companies are finding out with their clogged airways). However, at least with fixed-line communications, there are technical alternatives to thousands of people downloading the same programme from the same servers at the same time. Caching, for one, even for live broadcasts. And, dare I say it, even P2P...

    In summary: Williams has a vested interest and I'm reading between the lines.

    1. AndrueC Silver badge


      I wouldn't say satellite is good for bandwidth unless you're broadcasting (ie;multicasting). For Unicast it's horrible. It might sound clever to have a 100Gb/s transponder on your bird but when the signal is being sent to all of Western Europe the contention is potentially horrible. 100Gb/s shared by several thousand people isn't so clever. It's the same with any kind of wireless technology. You lose the one-to-one link back to the exchange.

      Actually even traditional cable services have this problem but the latest tweaks to DOCSIS are doing a reasonable job of keeping ahead. Still - most cables only have 3Gb/s to play with I think and if they feed several dozen houses the potential is there for local loop congestion as speeds enter the hundreds of megabits territory.

      So I'm not agreeing with him absolutely but I do think he has a valid point that needs to be discussed. 'All you can eat' has always had a weak-point and at present some people are exploiting that model to the detriment of other people and the providers. The devil is going to be in the detail though when it comes to a solution. As another poster said - how do you charge for something that is not a resource. Network charges generally come from investment and maintennance rather than because you're consuming something that is finite.

      1. Anonymous Coward


        "100Gb/s shared by several thousand people isn't so clever."

        100Gb/s shared by (say) 10,000 = 10Mb/s surely? (Did you mean something larger than several thousand people)

        I dont imagine many people have the equipment to send a signal back to the satellite so, on the whole its going to be one-way traffic.

  10. Anonymous Coward

    "broadband by satellite"

    Sorry, but he's the one who's doomed, and therefore whatever else he may have to say is at best questionable (though in this case he is actually talking sense; bandwidth costs money and more bandwidth costs more money).

    There's almost no hope for broadband by satellite, except as a very very very niche service in very very very few parts of the world with very very very specific requirements.

    In places where DSL or cable isn't practical, some flavour of wireless (be it WiFi, GPRS, 3G, the invisible WiMax, or whatever) is generally a better option than satellite, unless the horrifying latency of a satellite round trip is of no consequence. For example, daily downloads of a price file to a shop might be OK by satellite, but surfing and the like won't be much fun.

    1. Anonymous Coward


      Satalite broadband is very useful and where DSL or Cable isn't practical tends to be in the middle of no where so there is no WiFi, GPRS, 3G or WiMax access...For example out at sea or in the more remote parts of even the deveolped world like Canada and the USA where a phone line is there but DSL access is a no go and mobile signal is a joke.

      Satalite broadband is big business, just because you don't use it doesn't mean that millions around the world don't either.

    2. Pete 2 Silver badge

      What he's really saying

      is "I run an extremely expensive business, with huge overheads, almost no customers and such a paltry bandwidth allocation that it makes smoke signals look fast" All this guy wants is for everyone else to suffer for the poor choices he made when he started in the satellite business, and use the same cost structures that he has got himself into.

      You'd hear the same sort of arguments from stagecoach operators, against motorway users: requiring that every car is pulled by 2 horses, has 2 employees riding "shotgun" , and never exceeding 10mph.

      Basically, his industry had its heyday somewhere around 1985 and hasn't realised that it became irrelevant as soom as modem speeds kit 19.2KBaud.

    3. Solomon Grundy


      I use satellite broadband a lot and I like it quite well. There are a lot more places in the world without Internet access than you think. There are lots of places in the U.S. alone with no broadband access.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm content

    I'm already paying for a Mb package and I'm happy. TV received over freeview; I don't need the Sky permium charged stuff. High Def channels coming to terestrial freeview broadcast ... there is no mileage in TV over IP for me. As for films, I'd rather spend a couple of quid on a DVD. I don't need the high def blu-ray thingy.

    But neither do I download swathes of pirated music and all that stuff. One or maybe two movies over Torrent a month, and those that I like, I buy. (about two thirds of the films I download, I buy. The new version of Pink Panther 2 with that American commedian never made it to twenty minutes before I stopped watching it.) so I'm not using my full bandwidth allowance. I could, perhaps, do with a little more delivery speed for the video shorts that I want, but copper is still perfectly capable of delivering thatshould ADSL2 get rolled out in our country village. I'm achieving 7Mb/s to the exchange already.

    As I believe I've said before, if I had 100Mb/s optics to the house, I'd chew up my monthly allowance in half an hour. What is the point of that?

    I'm content.

    Now ... start digging my roads up and you'll have me spitting feathers in no time. Let the freetards suffer - I waved goodbye to all I can eat a few years ago when I last moved home.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down


      You've got a problem here. Media companies are all going to distribution over IP. They're assuming that the current digital broadcasts are pretty much the limit of what can be done over radio, and that content over IP is the future.

      That means your nice standard episode of Dr Who (ignoring HD and all the whizbang stuff) is still going to hit a couple of hundred meg, and you will be paying by volume.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Or die from trying

    Since people won't be willing to spend such an amount on anything remotely ethereal.

    I know if I'd get that I'd certainly look at how much I actually use and how much I'm willing to pay.

    My current 20 day average is 140GiB and most of that is the daily remote uploaded backup(4-5GiB).

    What ISPs need to learn is that being just an ISP is NOT a good business model. Link it up... add VoIP service, add IPTV or some other TV... bundle it all togheter etc... Then you can charge a bit more yet still a bit cheaper than getting each separately. Then they can actually get. I think if you want an ISP only business don't expect large profits. Think more breaking even. Maybe add some cloud services... i.e. storage, email, and other things.

  13. Martin Gregorie

    Obvious thought

    Leave scheduled TV and Radio where it is, carried by broadcast RF - and preferrably on the existing analogue channels and FM. This works perfectly well and is a cheap transport method. In addition, these require much less energy to operate than the fancy new all-digital crap being rammed down our throats. Can you say DAB? This should be kept in mind: we'll need all the power savings we can get when the current crop of generators start to shut down around 2015 and there are no replacements ready to take over.

    Keep the much more expensive digital networks for the non-broadcast and interactive data transfers its currently used for, and maybe consider charging both source and consumer for the bandwidth they actually use rather than the current capped allocation.

    Of course, this means that all those seeking to make money by flogging off the broadcast channels and their fanbois running round begging for crumbs (Mandy, I'm looking at you) won't make all that lovely wonga but do the rest of us really care?

  14. Tom 15

    So the simple solution is...

    BT Wholesale charging £16 for 10GB is ridiculous, people who have proper backhaul like Be are more than happy for me to download between 200GB and 1TB per month for roughly the same price!

    1. James Turner

      Sustainable pricing

      The suggestion of the article is that most of these providers are only 'happy' for you to download that much because most of their customers don't.

      If everyone was maxing out their connections they might have to charge something closer to what BT Wholesale want.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Wow, 1TB a month?

      That's non-stop downloading at an average of 3.4Mbit/s. I thought I was thrashing my connection leeching ca. 120GB a month. I bow to your superior freetardery. And I'm also happy that they'll squeeze you before they squeeze me. Sadly I think even with the awesomeness of Be, that day will come.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Up

        BE - Really can't fault em

        I am with Be as well - probs average circa 250GB/ month - i spoke to their customer service as i was a little nervous of being hit by some kind of fair usage policy cap. They just laughed and said that is what their network is for and that there were many people hitting around a TB/month and this wasn't problematic for them.

        Also - the debit card i had set up for payment on the account expired / i was sent a new one with different number - totally forgot about BE. i got a nice friendly email about 4 months later asking me to see check payment details - All the while i was downloading / streaming a fair ol' wack. Can you see the likes of BT not cutting you off for non payment.

        I am sure there are other good ISP's out there but I will be sticking with BE. 2 years of great service and great speeds. Fan-blooming-tastic

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Most of us do...

      As a bit of a freetard with Be, I'll confirm that most Be customers probably do use similar data volumes. Most of us probably get close to what our line can take rather than what our ISP throttles it to.

      A long time ago I heard that at very high levels (the likes of BT and other major "internet" contributors who run the inter-country links, backbones etc...) the charging is done by who sends the packet not the recipient.

      (don't know if that's true or just legend)

      As an ISP for "users" you'll be doing a lot of receiving and not much sending so the cost is just for your infrastructure, which will be decreasing daily as Cisco et al release higher capacity routers/switches etc...

      Maybe the BBC's ISP will start to charge them more for supplying the data, which will just get stuck on everyone's TV license!

    4. AndrueC Silver badge

      not only, but also :)

      Although I agree that BT's pricing is a bit dodgy a lot of that can be laid at the feet of the regulator, Ofcom. BTw will always be more expensive than LLU because BTw is available on virtual every exchange in the country. LLUOs only go where they can make money. Of course BTw have economies of scale and existing infrastructure to help but I bet most market 1 exchanges are making a loss or barely turning a profit. Ofcom allows BT very little leeway to charge a premium for those exchanges so the prices have to go up across the board.

    5. AndrueC Silver badge

      You should thank me.

      Firstly Be have never (as far as I know) made a profit. Even as part of Telefonica they probably still make a loss although from an accounting PoV it probably depends how they cross charge O2 for using their network.

      Secondly Be's model only works because some of us don't download much. I bet my usage rarely goes above a couple of GB. There's quite a few of us stick with Be for the quality of the service and occasional burst usage.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A bit harsh!

    I think it’s a bit harsh to label people freeloaders for using their paid for broadband service!

    Bandwidth is not like gas or electricity, once you've put in the infrastructure, its just there. If the ISPs want to supply it, they need the infrastructure to do so, that is mostly their investment not an on going cost.

  16. DavCrav


    I've heard of these wonderful things called airwaves. You can broadcast a TV signal, basically for free, and people can recieve it. Oh, if only there were a way for thse broadcast signals to be displayed on a TV without having to go through the Internet...

    It's completely stupid to stream TV through the Internet until we have seriously new ways of delivering data. The cost is just horrendous. We can have broadcast towers and video recorders.

    OK, I like iPlayer, but tell me it isn't really decadent, and there is some way that all TV watching can move to the Internet without a massive investment in infrastructure. If we are talking £50bn (I would say that's low-balling it) then per household that is £2500, assuming everyone has it. If it only goes to half of households, then we're talking £5000 *each household*. Do you have that money to get iPlayer rather than just a normal TV?

    1. Steve Adams
      Thumb Up

      Completely Agree

      I was about to post something similar... but you already said it well enough :-)

      1. DavCrav

        Thought a bit more...

        Here's a compromise, because I've thought a bit more. The most popular shows, the ones that 8mn+ watch each week, can be beamed at night over the airwaves, and then stored digitally at home, for the person to watch the next day if he or she wants to. News and live shows are broadcast as normal, and the stuff that's not particularly popular can either be streamed over the net as and when, or a request put in for it to be broadcast at 3:30am the next day, via your local aerial.

        Actually, this is a great idea, thinking about it. Each aerial beams out what people have asked for. If you want it now, you can pay for a 'premium' version that is streamed over the net, and for all other people, it gets logged and then broadcast locally from the TV aerial. If we go digital we can broadcast dozens of programmes simultaneously, so this might actually work.

        You can then pay to access the back catalogue on a per-show basis, or be able to request shows from the last week using the system outlined above (like on iPlayer). Since you aren't watching it, they could be burst transmitted anyway, saving even more bandwidth,

        OK, so there are some kinks that need to be ironed out, etc. But this sounds like a much better plan than IPTV... For popular things broadcast makes sense.

    2. I didn't do IT.
      Thumb Up

      I also agree

      If people really want to watch the TV on the computer (only HD monitor in the house?), then why not use the computer as the DVR?

      Record the broadcast over the regular airwaves/cable at the broadcast time while you are out, etc. and then watch it after you crawl back from the pub?

      Lord knows, the cable and TV companies could really make some money by having a program/service/website at cheap (.99p / mo) to setup the schedule it, etc. Only issue might be a receiver card, but obviously the broadcasting company would love to sell you one of those as well, eh?

      Or - heaven forbid - the broadcasting company has a *secure* torrent to pull those shows available for a week or so after the broadcast date, complete with commercials inline, that you download for viewing through the website/service/etc...

  17. Ginolard

    Can someone explain...

    ...why it costs more for provider to transmit 1MB of data than it does 1GB? It's data. It's doesn't weigh anything. It doesn't require any sort of "heavy lifting". It's just electro-magnetism (or light, if you are lucky enough to have fibreoptic).

    Excuse my ignorance, I'm merely a poor SysAdmin but I've never understood this argument.

    1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Can someone explain...

      Are you really a sysadmin?

      "It's doesn't weigh anything. It doesn't require any sort of "heavy lifting". It's just electro-magnetism"

      Electricity doesn't weight much either. Is that free to generate and distribute?

      1. Subliteratus

        Wow... just wow...

        Comparing electricity - twice as much electricity needs to consume twice the resources - to information - resource expenditure up-front to create content then negligible resources to replicate and transmit digitally - is not a valid comparison. Yeah, pushing electrons does cost money - just not very much. Many, many orders of magnitude less than it'd cost to produce new content (or distribute the information physically).

        And, did you even bother checking those sums your paymaster provided? They're way, way off.

        Weak sauce old chap.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        But electricity is created from expensive materials, like coal and gas.

        Data is created from minute amounts of electricity that is sent down a little cable. I don't think it's a fair comparison.

  18. Downside

    Did I miss something?

    Is this a pitch for why people need satellite broadband??

    This article just don't make sense... unless I'm mistaken all ISP's have a top limit for downloading, 20gb for instance with my account from Zen.

    Easy to max out if you're downloading movie ISOs or show torrents, or nowadays by "renting" movies from XBOX Live or PSN. It's cheaper to get that content from Sky using their flakey HD box.

    Everyone knows that IPTV can't arrive before the whole infrastructure is upgraded; Don't they?

    1. max allan

      You are mistaken

      See for an unlimited plan.

      Full speed 24*7 if you want it.

      I've not done that much but have downloaded a significant quantity of data without any trouble.

      There are others with similar offers but I think Be are still the cheapest.

  19. EddieD

    I think I missed a step...

    His figures assume every single person is going to go to IPTV - why? It's like basing an argument on 2+2=5 - no matter what conclusion you arrive at, if your initial premise is flawed, then the conclusion will be too.

  20. banjomike

    Virgin already do that

    Virgin already have an "up to" 10MB service which they already cap at 2.5MB for "up to" 10 hours a day.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    There's no such thing as a freetard's lunch

    Wouldn't that be a freelunchtard?

  22. Tom 38 Silver badge

    Ok thats just weird

    I was going to post exactly the same thing as Tom 15 - trust me, we're not bots!

    Backhaul just does not cost that much, unless you _HAVE_ to buy it from BT as part of an IPStream DSL connection.

    Do you really think it costs Virgin, Sky or O2 £16 for 10GB to transit data, or were you just happy to tap-tap up this moron's press release without any critical input?

  23. Citizen Kaned

    something nobody has mentioned...

    if im paying for every MB i download, can i then charge game companies that require me to download 500mb patches? will M$ pay for their updates? downloading a game demo (say 1gb) will cost ME money? its an instant fail.

    ive been on BB for about 10 years now and for the last 5 or so ive rarely used it for anything other than windows updates, game patches and legally downloading song i buy - im paying for this already. now, im more than happy to not pay a fee if i dont download any updates etc that month, but i dont expect they would offer that would they?

    also, would i trust my ISP to accurately tell me how much ive downloaded? not a chance.

    this is just total FUD

    1. Anonymous Coward

      No such luck

      I live in New Zealand.

      Ever since the intro of ADSL we have had to pay for every bit that streams over our phoneline. Yes, even half a gig game patches. The only exception is currently Telecom's BigTime plan (which is 24 pounds a month), it has 'unlimited data' but the speed isn't that great so there is only so much that you can download in a month.

      Only my plan I get 2Mbit/s download, 128Kbit/s upload (yes, Kbit/s) and a data cap of 2 gig (yes, 2 gig) for 13 pounds. The extra 20 gigs that I need to purchase to get me through the month cost another 9 pounds.

      Needless to say the 'sneakernet' is pretty popular here, and a lot of files are shared friend to friend rather than peer to peer. If I want to buy a game off Steam I buy it, and get the files of someone else who already has it, to save me 3 pounds worth of data.

      Count yourself lucky that you have had a free ride so far.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @No such luck

        Australia and New Zealand are special cases because they're so far away and have relatively low populations. Bandwidth to/from Oceania is limited because there are few trans pacific cables and most net traffic is to/from sites in Europe and the US. You simply can't compare the situation in New Zealand to the UK.

        Here in Blighty we have a glut of trans-pacific bandwidth and the only reason download limits have existed in the past was monopolistic price gouging by BT. Now that several alternative national networks are up and running with direct access to customers (either via LLU, cable or wireless) we're actually seeing the reverse of the predictions in this article. ISPs are switching away from the BT managed service and increasing or removing transfer limits.

        Even in New Zealand the market is moving towards fewer restrictions as new cables are laid and better technology allows operators to extract more bandwidth from existing infrastructure.

  24. DRendar

    This guy is an idiot

    He sells Satellite Internet FFS, which is useless for anything but (very slow) browsing and streaming.

    Gaming, IPTelephony, Hosting Services etc. are practically unusable due to the horrible latency, so he's just having a pop at trying to swing users who want to stream iPlayer onto his services.

    £16 for 10 Gig is total nonsense - I pay £18 for an "up to 24Mb" (actually 19Mb) UNMETERED ADSL 2+ service from Be. Sometimes I download only a couple of gigs, sometimes I download 300GiB.

    If some suppliers started charging per Mb then there are plenty of other suppliers who will continue to provide unmetered services. The exchange unbundling is bringing about cheaper services, not more expensive ones...

    And the only roads that need to be dug up are where there currently are NO existing fibres. Has this guy never heard of DWDM?

    You can now push multiple TERRABITS of data down a single fibre, using different wavelengths, and it's not even that expensive to do... Need more bandwidth and run out of fibre? No problem, just light up another wavelength and add another 10 Gb.


  25. Jerome 0


    IPTV is simply not a practical technology until the ISPs implement some clever caching technology to alleviate bandwidth concerns. Once they do that, 81GB delivered to my house is not the same as 81GB of ISP bandwidth, therefore I would not expect to be paying for 81GB of bandwidth.

    Until this caching is in place, why would I start downloading 81GB of television every month when I have this amazing technology called "broadcast" with which to receive it? Not to mention that I could download everything vaguely interesting on television at the moment in full HD with 5GB a month.

    1. Tom 35

      Something for mega-corps

      You will have one fiber connection to your house.

      Your TV/Phone/internet will all come from one company so it's all their local data.

      Your internet will be managed to make sure any service not coming from the mega-corp will be crap.

  26. Dennis 6

    Why can't we just go on receiving TV through the aerial?

    I agree that data consumption will increase with the increasing use of smartphones and the migration of so much of out lives, such as reading newspapers and shopping, onto the Internet; but I don't see why all of TV consumption needs to be migrated to the Internet. I have an aerial on my roof which gives me all the TV I need, apart from the odd programme that I missed and watch later.

  27. Chris Byers

    Another Darl McBride in the making?

    Every now and then someone always comes up with a 'winning' idea which then qualifies them for a place in the industrial Darwin Awards.

  28. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    there's already a solution

    there's already a solution [hat doesn't involve actually improving infrastructure -- throttling. This reigns in heavy usage without ridiculous caps. Of course i think you brits are screwed as long as bt controld everything and won't let wholesalers buy a xMB/sec link to the dslam and manage it themselves.

    1. Doc Spock


      Us Brits can get throttled Internet access via Virgin Media. My 10Mbit connection gets throttled to 2.5Mbit for 5 hours if I download too much in a given time-frame (see link below). Then, there's no limits on what can be downloaded at 2.5Mbit speeds. Of course, at peak times, speeds can drop further due to "excessive demand" in VM speak - otherwise known as insufficient bandwidth in their local infrastructure.

  29. Elmer Phud

    Now the stick?

    " "Those all-you-can-eat tariffs were set up on the basis of how much consumers would use; few expected to reach those so soon," he says."

    So, we are encouraged to use the web constantly and everyone is assumed to have a connection or is gong to be connected soon by some miraculous governmental magic wand. One we all are forced to rely on the web for basic stuff - try getting programme guides on a BT Vision box without the net - then we will be made to pay for it.

    Is it more that the dream of retiring early on the back of advertising hasn't paid off and he's a bit grumpy?

    We have enough social drugs that are taxed - booze, fags & petrol and don't need another one. first you get hooked, then the dealer puts the prices up.

  30. Eddie Edwards


    Where on Earth does this 1.5Mbit/s number come from? There is no single standard bitrate for a DVB channel. According to, which is slightly out of date, BBC1 uses about 3.5Mbit/s on average, including audio. There is 13Mbit/s to share between BBC1-4. Even the crappiest DVB channels use about 1.9Mbits/s.

    Five minutes using Google, Andrew.

    1. davenewman

      Compress it

      Yes, but the MPEG2 can be compressed to 700 Kbps as MPEG4 or AVI at PAL resolution - which is what I routinely do for programs I have saved using MythTV and want to keep.

      Video podcasts (e.g. via Miro or for mobile 'phones) are compressed even more.

  31. Dan 55 Silver badge

    His sums don't add up

    Freeview/DVB uses MPEG2, iPlayer doesn't, but he argues that iPlayer is similar to MPEG2 because MPEG2 has a relatively low compression ratio.

    He then goes on to estimate that the cost to the ISP for supplying access to the content the customer wants (assumed to be 28 hours of IPTV) will be the same as what the customer 'should' pay per month to be able to access iPlayer or similar using (insert mysterious codec with low compression ratio here) over unicast. This is utter tosh.

    If the internet were tubes (as some US politicians argue it is) and his ISP were a water company, his company would be busy justifying the price of laying one pipe per customer from the reservoir to each customer's house arguing that every family has (insert huge amount of baths here) per month.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I don't think using retail rates is a great way to work out costs of backhaul. The BT backhaul costs are published so use those as a starting point. It's nothing like those numbers (if any ISP could get £1.50 per GB and HD over IP became the norm, the capital investment problem would soon go away). I've no idea where the £50bn figure comes from, but it certainly won't be all on backhaul. That sounds like local loop uplift costs to me which is the really expensive bit if it means FTTP. Incidetnally, don't forget the costs of peering interconnects - that is by no means cheap either.

    @Ginolard - I assume you got your comparison around the wrong way - nodody charge more for 1M than 1GB over the same network. As to why it costs more for 1Gb rather than 1MB? Quite simply because you need more equipment - more and faster switches, more circuits. All switching equipment has a capacity limit. If you want more then you have to install more. Technology brings costs down over time, but constantly upgrading to keep up with capacity costs serious amounts of money.

  33. hahnchen

    This has to happen

    If consumers want net neutrality, then this has to happen. Mobile broadband already charges for data, your old dialup ISP used to do the same.

    You should pay for how much you use, not Youtube.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      ... or not

      Must be lucky then - got mobile broadband via Vodafone, €49 per month unlimited. Of course this is Spain.

      1. Shades

        ... or not x2

        O2. Unlimited internet. £5 month (ignoring the rest of the £30 per month contract, unlimited internet is a £5 "bolt-on")

  34. Deadmonty
    Thumb Down

    Why dig up the roads?

    Fibre can be passed through the sewage system, which itself goes past everyone's front door. Someone is already doing this - in Bournemouth if I remember correctly.

    1. Pop

      What sewage system ?


      Sewage systems might be a great idea for urban areas, what about all us rural folks who have septic tanks.

      That would seem to blow a hole in your notion that the sewage system "goes past everyone's front door" would it not ?

      1. It wasnt me


        What would you rural folk want with broadband anyway ?

        Bleeding heart crofters getting in the way of the big issues - letting chavs steal hollywood movies.

        Stick to yer sheep.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        What sewage system ?

        If you haven't got mains sewage why do you expect mains broadband?

        Face it, there are downsides to living in the country.

  35. Gideon 1

    We rent the equipment not the allowance

    The ISP business model is to rent out access to their equipment, the data allowance is just to make the use of it fair. Satellite and mobile broadband have huge costs to pass on so need to charge any way they can, which includes by the megabyte. He is never going to be more than a niche player.

  36. David 138


    The idea wouldnt work because you couldnt stream adverts that people had to pay for which would make it unviable for TV on a major scale. Would anyone really watch sky, channel 4 etc if you where paying half the cost because of adverts?

    If we wearnt years behind the 3rd world in terms of broadband we would be fine by now. The problem is we have to do it all at once now which suddenly seems really expensive.

    Thinking about it if we cancel the olympics the saving would allow them to run fibre to my house. We could then give it to France and watch it online. We could probably only afford my house though, as the rest would be absorbed by MPs expenses to pay for the broadband to their eighth home.

    You should also remember that if you have to pay for the connection then why pay for the content. Pirate flags ahoy!? If i have to pay for it then im keeping it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      They already are

      I seem to be paying for 20 minutes of adverts per hour with my Sky subscription. Actually it feels like a lot more.

  37. Disco-Legend-Zeke

    He's Got It All...


    "Williams says the cost incurred is moving data from the local loop to the backbone; the backbone itself is inexpensive." The local loop cost is fixed, once the street cabinets and drop are in place, except for tiny increases in electrical consumption, the heavy downloader creates ZERO incremental costs over a casual user.

    As Jermome 0 stated, if IPTV content is stored in a local cache (or many, as in Cascade Distribution) the cost of the backbone becomes trivial.

    OF course, a geo routed self forming mesh network would provide local loop bandwidth at virtually no cost once a $150 rooftop radio/router is installed.

    Beer and TV; it takes both to make a happy Zeke.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    another view

    A view on backhaul costing from Griffin Technology now that 21C WBC is being rolled out and in relation to LLU alternatives.

  39. blackworx

    Here's a bright idea

    Everyone and their dog watching telly over the network you say? Why, one might reasonably conclude from this that perhaps we need some sort of effective broadcast medium for TV. Maybe earthbound radio or - and this could be a bit "out there" but do bear with me - microwave transmissions from orbit?

    1. kevin biswas
      Thumb Up


      Yeah right ! keep popping those LSD tabs, you far-out dreamer ! Good grief, next this loony will be suggesting audio broadcasts by frequency modulated wireless telephony, or point to point voice conversations over single-purpose fixed wired infrastructure.

    2. It wasnt me

      thats a fair point.

      If everything is going to go down the phone line then the broadcast frequencies can be auctioned off. That should raise enough cash to pay for FTTH.

      Only it'll get spent on something else, like single mothers handout, or the left handed lesbian lettuce washers income tax subsidy. Something we really need.

  40. Anonymous Coward

    FAIL - on download info

    The HomeChoice service has been sold to multiple ISPs now and it is still going strong at prices comparable to satellite and cable.

    While it has not set the world on fire, it and BT Vision show that you can deliver video and broadband fairly cost effectively.

  41. heyrick Silver badge

    One way price shifts

    My tariff is "up to 20Mbit" (unmetered). I am only able to receive *one* megabit due to being a billion miles from the exchange and all the usual reasons, yet I don't get told I can pay a 20th of the monthly cost. Instead I hear "tant pis" (oh well, too bad...).

    Yet, for people that do make heavy use, especially those watching TV over internet, costs should rise. This might make some sense if 24Mbit+ subscribers who watch everything online pay £600/month (haha, as if!) while those on sub-2Mbit subscribers who read El Reg, send emails, etc get their connectivity for a couple of quid a month.

    Somehow I can't see that happening. Upper tariff prices will rise, lower tariff prices will either stay the same or rise slightly for <insert excuse here>.

  42. HmmmYes

    Virgin cabinet infrastrucure

    He's right. Virgin (joined with the jibbering retard that NTL was) do have a lot of cabinet. In the streets adjoining my street there's a lot of it spread around, on the floor, in the buses etc.

    NTL/Virgin have specced the lowest grade metal and hinges possible. I helped some kind sole (who foolishly gave his credit card number years ago - he told me) gaffer tape the front panel to the box - he did not want to lose his phone, tv and internet when the pubs kicked out and someone tried to tip their chow mein into the cable distribution.

  43. Connor
    Thumb Down

    What a c*ck

    I'm sick of this constant complaining about how expensive new cables and updating the infrastructure would be. Virgin Media managed it (or at least their predecessors did) and their whole business model meant that they HAD to lay new cables. Today they turnover about £10billion a year.

    The fact is, like the water companies, these ISPs make large profits (BT turns over £20+ billion a year) but they just don't want to have to pay to replace/upgrade pipes and infrastructure. They want us, or the Government to do so, they just want to make a profit out of it without any investment.

    At the end of the day it is BT that has let their antiquated system rot to save money. Too concerned with maximising profits, e.g. phorm, non-direct debit charges, and penalising their customers rather than keeping up with developments. They have been talking about fibre optics for 30 years, yet still won't cover the last mile to homes. I'm hoping for a great leap in broadband over powerlines, or the viability of Virgin Media's broadband via telegraph poles because BT has basically missed the boat on next generation broadband.

    1. JimC


      Yes, Connor, Virgin's predecessors did manage it, but they all went bust doing it. AIUI Virgin or whatever got the infrastructure for 5 pounds and a mars bar rom the receivers, which is a very good business model if you can find a fool (or a Government) to lose the money in the first place. If on the other you you don't want to follow the well trodden path into bankruptcy you are very careful indeed...

      1. AndrueC Silver badge

        Not such a good business model

        Despite getting the infrastructure at a knock-down price VM are still struggling. They had to restructure their debt again just prior to the credit crunch. Lucky for them they got the papers sealed when they did. Another six months and they'd probably have to go bust.

    2. kissingthecarpet

      Isn't BT's crap infrastructure

      the fault of old Thatchler. I was under the impression that BT offered to fibre the whole of the UK in exchange for a monopoly for a few years, but she told them No. Throughout the Tory 80's & 90's they were too interested in making a quick buck, instead of investment in infrastructure.

      (Icon = Tebbit)

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      10billion - but no investment

      they might be making 10billion a year...but they dont appear to be investing any more in the streets - when was the last time a street got dug to increase their coverage? i've got mates who've waited years to get the fibre to their road...and the coax to their house. instead their stuck on dodgy copper pair for their internetainment

      PS costs - make it more expensive or disuade the main reason a lot of peopl eget broadband (eg free stuff) and a lot of punters will desert. broadband britain will become disconnected britain. the DEBILL tride to start that process :-|

    4. Anonymous Coward


      BT were giving IEE presentations in 1991 / 1992 on Fibre to the Kerb and Fibre to the Home at Martlesham Heath. They gave presentations on Wave Divison Multiplexing and there was a lot of good research going on.

      So the boys in the labs worked on very clever things, the guys now running the old monopoly are focussed on 1 to 2 year profit, not long term growth.

      BT decides it's not in the telecommunications research business, it should rely on suppliers. The "sticking to the knitting" means accountants can rule.

      NTL are just a little better. What are they doing with the hundreds of kilometers of fibre optic network they have in East Anglia when the bought the telecommunications business of Eastern Electricity in 1998 for £ 91 million - is unlimited broadband cheaper in that region ? Nope. (see

    5. staggers

      Re: What a c*ck

      You speak truer than you know. in the 1960s (yes, 1960s), my old man was at a commercially secret conference between the P.O. as it then was, and manufacturers. The P.O. had this plan where, every time they dug up the road in the normal course of events, they would sneak a fibre cable down the hole, and thus have them ready in every street when the time came to spring it all on the world.

      As we know, it never happened. Why? Because the P.O. wanted everyone else to pay for it. Still do.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      >>Virgin Media managed it (or at least their predecessors did)

      Yes, but all the companies that originally laid the cables ended up going bust first, then the assets were purchased at a fraction of the original cost from the administrators.

      No company has managed to make a profit from creating their own network in the UK, on equivalent scale such as BT (which inherited it's network from the Post Office) or Virgin (which bought up the assets of lots of bankrupt or near bankrupt companies).

    7. This post has been deleted by its author

  44. Anonymous Coward

    "broadband over powerlines", satellite broadband

    Don't hold your breath for broadband over powerlines. Neither the technology nor the economics work right as a "last mile" distribution mechanism competing with DSL, cable, and (in a few places) wireless.

    Wrt satellite broadband in general: yes Micky, I'm aware that DSL and cable and even GSM etc aren't available over much of the earth's surface, in some places (middle of the ocean) never will be, and that in those places, satellite service is one of very few options. If you really are in a really far away place, you'll be relying on satellite for upstream as well as downstream. Afaik, Avanti aren't in that game (correction welcome), they're one of the ones that need a phone line or similar for upstream, so you'll be looking at Iridium or its successors?

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Well, as it stands I have a choice between paying for Sky TV, grabbing a freesat tuner or using the streaming services such as iplayer because I can't get over the air TV - I'm the wrong side of a hill to get the signal from Elmley Moor transmitter.

    I despise Mr Murdoch and so refuse to give him any money. And don't watch enough TV at the times it's broadcast on. That leaves the net as the source of the little TV content I consume until I can put the cash together for a freesat tuner and set up my own TVPC (being unemployed gets in the way of affording this).

    Also, most ISP's already charge you for consumption - it's hidden as those "fair usage" caps.

  46. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    Move along, nothing to see

    Companies pay for their *uplink* not downlink.

    Open access to the DSLASMs is offering companies the chance to compete for companies on price and service using innovation. This is why we're down to €20 a month for unlimited broadband and national calls in Germany. We don't have any single service quite as extensive, or popular as the iPlayer but the telcos are pushing IPTV. Presumably because they get a cut on advertisting revenues from broadcasters trying to reduce costs by streamlining their infrastructure.

    Of course, the satellite downlink, phone uplink is going to struggle in this environment. You know what, Mr. Williams? Invest in some Wimax spectrum for you missing infrastructure. That's what it's there for. And it's dirt cheap 'cos no one else needs it. Provide a premium service in the sticks and command a premium price.

  47. Anonymous Coward

    Huh ?

    "A typical family watches 28 hours of TV, mostly by FreeView or Sky .... If that was transmitted over IP, and the unicast protocols we use today, that would be around 81GB of data a month."

    "If that were transmitted over IP". But its not .

    I travel to work by train. If I travelled by private limo it would be much more expensive.

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    BitTorrent spreads the load

    I find bittorrented HD downloads overnight work quite well. Even if Virgin can't handle everyone running the network at peak times, if you are prepared to watch stuff out of real time, no problem.

  49. Dino

    He is right but he is also mad

    Ok he is right - I completely agree that all you can eat data is not sustainable. There is a clear cost to every byte that is consumed.

    However his suggested price point means he needs to be locked up in the mental asylum and the key thrown away.

    I currently get 1 TB /month for 14Euro a month at my data center. (first 1.5 TB is free). This I get at 'proper' un-congested data rates. if don't upgrade to extra data and just stay at 1.5 TB which is free I am on a 100Mb circuit. I've frequently passed images, backups etc to other sites across the world and easilly get 95% and over of the bandwidth (so it's not just theoretical). If I buy even one TB per month extra I can then get a Gigabit network connection.

    I would have no objection to a pricing structure like this.. Infact I'm currently on half the bandwidth (50Mb with Virgin) at home and 100 times less upload speed and pay 30 odd pounds a month.

    The german datacenter (hetzner btw) I pay 49 euros a month, I get a decent speck server thrown in and damned good network connections.

    So the equivalent .... I'd say 8-9 TB free per month should about balance it out as virgin offers such a lower network capability in comparison, the service is nowhere near as resilient and equipment provided is probably an order of magnitude or two less expensive than that provided by a data center (completely making it up but lets start at that point...)

    9TB/30 days = 307 GB per day .. that's fine. (such a figure is about 65% utilisation running 24/7 non-stop)

    Where's the problem? I'll pay... Infact I've already paid so where's my data?.

  50. Anonymous Coward

    Internet use

    Interesting economic models here.

    At the moment the amount of data I use is "unmetered" (although the slightly vague fair use applies) and it has been since I first went online in 1997. In the early days I paid for time online in the form of a phone bill so the longer I tied up the phone, the more I paid, not the amount of data I shifted over the internet.

    In the old days, services such as YouTube, iPlayer etc were but a dream because connection speeds sucked and people were aware of the costs they were suffering every time they got their phone bill. Its one thing surfing crap on YouTube to kill time, its another doing it a 1p a minute.

    Now, since the widespread adoption of broadband (which in my case is 2meg on an outstandingly good day) this is no longer an issue. I dont even mind the crappy speeds as much (buffering is your friend) because I only pay my monthly rental. When I need to download an new distro, I can leave it to work over night and again, I am not concerned if it has problems, needs to redownload or the like, because I pay a flat monthly fee.

    Most of the applications on the internet, and the drive to having an online economy, works because of this business model.

    If we break the business model, and make everyone acutely aware of paying for every byte they download, what will survive?

    Will you bother looking at random crap on youtube, on the off chance of hitting gold, when you know its costing you an arm and a leg?

    What about huge software updates? Who pays for a 100mb patch when its released? How about cloud services?

    What about adverts? When a content provider adds an ad into the stream, why should you pay for it?

    If my home broadband was billed in the same way as my phone broadband used to be I just wouldnt use it (which is why I moved to a phone contract with unlimited internet use).

    Basically this comes across as a whine from someone who is a bit upset that their cash cow hasnt turned out to be what they wanted.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down

      Welcome to New Zealand

      Welcome to the future. Good to see we're a world leader in one aspect at least, bringing metered internet to the masses:

      35 quid a month for landline and a whopping 5GB (anymore than that and I drop to dial up speed)

    2. heyrick Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Completely correct

      My mobile tariff does data at 15c/10Kb (yes, ten kilobytes for 15 (euro) cents). It is PAYG, but even if the contract tariff is about 6c/10Kb, it can mount up pretty damn quickly. Accordingly, I have little interest in WAP or mobile phone optimisations. I can't justify the cost of making test calls.

      There's a vastly different mindset between always-on and tick-tick-tick-kerching!

  51. Anonymous Coward

    Crazy Ideas

    I am not sure what pricing scheme is being suggested here.

    The article opens with the implication we will all have to move to metered tariffs, and then goes on to show that the reason for this is a family using the predicted (SWAG) amount of data on an metered tariff would be charged an unacceptable £600 a month.

    So the argument is the price of metered tariffs is unacceptable, so we all have to move to a metered tariff...?

    What did I miss?

    If streaming stuff like TV is placing too much strain on the network, then dont stream TV - we manage quite well without it at the moment. Same with VoIP - use the bloody telephone line like normal.

    Williams really does want to have his cake and eat it. He wants us to all go internet (lower distribution costs) for all our services and rather than use the savings to improve the service he wants us to pay more for the priveledge.

    Well he can fuck off.

  52. Anonymous Coward

    Throttling? We have Choking-to-death!

    ZOMG! You get throttled down to 2.5Mbit? How do you live? My god! So inhumane! Phone the International War Crimes Tribunal, thats an abuse of basic human rights!


    Down here in Australia, "throttling" is far more fierce, like our spiders & snakes. 64kbps. Yes, you read that right, SIXTY FOUR KILOBITS PER SECOND. Remember phone-modems? You know, like back in the um, 1890's, er, 1990's? Have you seen Youtube at that speed? Watched the standard news-paper site full of flash die horribly? Waited 35 minutes to log on to your BANK?

    Welcome to the world down under. It has been hilarious this week as our major software supplier has gone to direct downloads only, and we have instantly blown our monthly cap of 20GB, yes, that's right 20GB. For which we pay about AUD$120/month, due to the monopoly of one provider on our particular exchange, who then charge hilarious prices to any resellers. Only in 3rd world countries like Australia can you expect service this crap, but it looks like it's spreading.

    I fail to see how it can be cheaper to run a freaking CAR per month than a digital service! Great big FAIL to the human race on that one.

  53. Christian Berger

    Bandwidth costs are imaginary

    What actually does cost money is equipment. However you need to replace equipment regularly anyhow and that's what your customers are paying you for.

    BTW the broadband "boom" in Germany was only due to the fact, that DSL quickly became unmetered. You could suddenly be connected to the Internet without having to worry about 1000 DM telephone bills. It was just about 80 DM a month fixed. That was and still is, highly attractive to people.

    Ohh and a little hint to your people. Why not just leave WLAN enable harddisks around without any passwords.

  54. Phil 54

    unlimited dialup

    Funny, in Toronto when we had a dialup connection in the ninties, we had free unmetered internet access, due to the fact that local calls are unlimited in Canada (with a landline at about 18 dollars a month).

    Now I live in France and I have 5mb unmetered broadband, tv and unlimited landline calls (and some mobiles depending on the country) to about 100 countries for 29 euros a month.

    I'd say that's from good to better.

    Thumb Up

    No surprise

    "All-you-can-eat will disappear, I am 100 per cent sure of that"

    In the days of dialup access it might once have been feasible.

    But as broadband speeds get ever faster, the gulf between people who max out their connections 24x7, and the people who read the occassional email or browse the net will get wider and wider.

    You can't have a flat rate. It doesn't work. Telcos have to charge by resource consumption.

    And its better they do, it creates a virtuous circle of funding for infrastructure investment.

    Far rather that than the telco use 'excessive use' as a reason for arbitrarily warping the flow of my communication traffic based on their prejudice about the content.

    I pay my ISP to deliver packets, not open them.

  56. Steve Pettifer

    Do we really need a squillion bps to the home?

    Seriously. Do we? Everyone seems desperate to get ridiculous bandwidth to homes but only a very small minority of people actually use all that theoretically available bandwidth. My Sky ADSL connection runs at a solid 8-10Mbps (I'm not that close to the excahnge and I'm not on ADSL2 to my knowledge so I have no idea how but it's all good). I do download stuff, usually things that I have missed on TV and forgot to set the Sky+ for because frankly the quality of iPlayer is a bit shit and I'd rather download a decent rip, or music from Amazon/emusic.

    Now, if I'm lucky that rip will come down at up to 7 or 800KBps and won't take long but to be honest I'm not that bothered if I have to leave it running for a night or two because I've been throttled or whatever. The truth is that most people aren't bothered about it either. A lot of these projections are based on the assumption that everyone will demand a crazy fast service and want the entire intertubes to download instantly, but it's just not true.

    I wonder, if everyone was limited to, say 2 or 3 Mbps (and of course could actually get that, which they can't) whether there would be any talk of insufficient capacity? Is this a self made problem fueled by telcos brainwashing people into believing that what they need is the worlds fastest conenction, when in fact most people really don't need a great deal of bandwidth, followed by over-selling and under-delivering?

    Just saying. We don't have it that bad on the whole in the cities (and I don't even live in a particularly big city). Stop the pointless speed 'arms race' and first concentrate on getting the more remote places up to a decent basic speed. Then worry about delivering lots of pointless content through fibres to the home.

  57. Anonymous Coward

    Thriving on stupidity

    Applying a flat-rate broadcast model to a point to point service is dumb. I agree, we need telcos to invest in infrastructure.

    I waste more bandwidth than I use downloading movies I never watch, entire discographies on the basis of just one song, games I never play and software I don't need.

    Ok, so I have to throtle it back to avoid being penalised during the day and just upload to fellow freetards on the other side of the world.

    If I had to pay for petrol to drive down the information super highway my behaviour would be somewhat different. I only drive a small car while subsidising juggernauts like Google who chew up the infrastructure.

    If uploading (production) was free and faster I could seed long tail obsurities forever. 'Nirvana for mice' anybody?

    When we are saturated with bandwidth that has repaid investment and it just isn't worth the effort to meter we can have genuinely unlimited consumption.

  58. Nick Carter

    broadcast downloads

    Wouldn't it be more practical if all the iplayer and podcast downloads were done using one or more dedicated freeview channels? It would just require a freeview receiver plugged into your pc, then on the respective BBC website there would be an option to download the program/podcast via freeview. Everyone's download requests would be put in the queue for their download transmitter with the most requested downloads in that transmitter area moving up the queue fastest according to cumulative waiting time since each request was submitted. Everyone would receive the download at the same time instead of separately via the internet.

    Other broadcasters could use the same method with their own freeview channels (or even ISPs could use the system for other non-broadcast downloading to save on broadband congestion).

    1. Terry Barnes


      The point of iPlayer and co is that it's on demand. Even if your freeview download was second in the list you'd have a thirty minute wait. If I wanted to watch something less popular I could be waiting for days. If I wanted to watch the most popular thing, but transmission started five minutes previously how long would I need to wait for it to come round again?

      I don't see people paying money to buy extra kit to get a poorer service.

      1. Nick Carter

        broadcast downloads

        I wasn't proposing this to replace iPlayer on the internet but as an addition to ease broadband congestion (and to enable those with slow connections to use iPlayer for the first time).

        The kit to receive freeview on your pc costs about the same as a freeview set-top box. It would just need additional software to enable off-air downloading. My thought is that a whole freeview multiplex could be used for downloads for each transmitter area so the download speeds would be comparable to, or exceed, broadband. Therefore a 1 hour programme would download in a few minutes not a whole hour. There's a limited number of programmes that can be requested so your less popular choice would soon move to the top of the list and it wouldn't be 1 queue for the whole UK but a queue for each transmitter.

        Bear in mind that each digital multiplex has many simultaneous real-time broadcasts, for example all transmitters use Multiplex 1 and Multiplex B for the entire BBC TV & radio output - the equivalent spectrum space of 2 analogue TV UHF channels. So if 1 or 2 additional multiplexes were added for downloads then this would be feasible. Obviously it would need to wait for the analogue switch off.

  59. Matt 130

    License fee?

    It seems to me that this shortfall should be covered by the TV license fee.

    Traditional distribution of terrestrial telly is done by broadcasting stations, paid for out of the license fee.

    The Beeb and other license fee receivers are now broadcasting over the broadband network, so surely it makes sense that the new distribution network should be paid for out of the license fee!

    TV License opposers will of course hate this idea, but distribution isn't free and it's unfair to make private companies such as Virgin and BT take the broadcasting burden without offering them something.

  60. Imbacrs

    why do we want 20MB download

    Just a couple of points,

    What you sell and the price you sell at is dictated by the functionality and the demand for the product including churn. As you know sky are struggling to get HD users, BT hide the price so you dont know what you have until you start using the product. Talk Talk is at present WYSIWYG, but as you demand funding and higher costs, demand weakens, its a downward spiral, if you throttle or manage the pirates they no longer want to play/pay,

    The only reason download speed and unlimited bandwidth is an issue is because of film pirating, music and apps are a small potato but graphics and video editing may be an issue, databases data is minor, so we have a direct link to the download issues, 2 types of bandwidth and 2 types of charges, if you want a sliding scale of charges then increase the tarrifs to the advertisers or better still remove all the porn and illegal stuff, and get your house in order, you are purveyors of filth and depravity, you do little to keep our children safe, yet you want more for less, he he me thinks u r doomed my friends but dont worry as oil and energy disolve u will have no control over your babies and your future is set not by us or you But BY Mother Earth

    Kind Regards


This topic is closed for new posts.

Other stories you might like