BBC: Don't Be iPlayer-Hater
The BBC’s new iPlayer isn’t even out of beta and already it’s being decried as a bandwidth hog. U.K. Internet service providers are threatening to restrict customers’ access to the media player unless the Beeb contributes to the increased bandwidth costs they feel it will create.
“The Internet was not set up with a view to distributing video. We have been improving our capacity, but the bandwidth we have is not infinite,” said Mary Turner, chief executive of Tiscali UK. “If the iPlayer really takes off, consumers accessing the Internet will get very slow service and will call their ISPs to complain.” And why shouldn’t they? After all, Tiscali claims to offer “unlimited” broadband–a service that’s “ideal for high-bandwidth tasks such as music, video streaming and downloading large files.”
Apparently “unlimited” flat-rate broadband access is only worthwhile when there isn’t a lot to do with it. The ISPs’ “arguments sound hollow,” writes Om Malik. “On one hand they urge subscribers to sign up for faster download plans, and pay premium prices. And yet, they complain when subscribers finally find an application that puts their Web speed to work.”