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BBC and ISPs argue over iPlayer

Originally published at Lost Entropy. Please leave any comments there.

“A row about who should pay for extra network costs incurred by the iPlayer has broken out between internet service providers (ISPs) and the BBC. ISPs say the on-demand TV service is putting strain on their networks, which need to be upgraded to cope.”
– BBC News (Link)  

Services like YouTube, the iTunes Store and BBC iPlayer should NOT be held responsible for the fact that the Internet is being used by more and more people to transfer more and more data now than ever before. The Internet is getting used more widely every day. This is a GOOD THING for everyone involved, the services get used more, and the ISPs get more customers. The UK’s ISPs are trying to make the services foot the bill for this. This will remove the incentive for these services to be maintained, and many will go away if this happens. It’ll also prevent small companies, individuals, not-for-profit organisations and many others from inventing any services that require high amounts of data transfer. No more Linux ISOs? No more online software distribution at all?

The UK’s ISPs are going about this all wrong. They’re the ones providing connectivity between residential users and the Internet backbones. They’re the ones having trouble with their networks. They’re the ones that need to pay for the costs of upgrading their networks.

But where do they get the money from? Well, their customers. As a residential user myself, I think that sucks somewhat, but in reality we’re getting a worse deal right now. Most providers have massively oversold their service, which is why they punish users who download lots — their networks weren’t designed for everyone to constantly max out their 20 megabit connections 24×7, but they sell connections that are capable of doing so, and punish their customers for using what they’re being sold.

Something needs to change. Spread the word. This is important.