Internet service providers including Tiscali and Carphone Warehouse have expressed concerns that BBC’s new iPlayer may increase demand for bandwidth, placing a greater stress on their infrastructure. The ISPs argue that if additional bandwidth is required for customers to be able to use iPlayer, the BBC should pay for it.
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," Mary Turner, chief executive of Tiscali UK, said.
Broadband provider Tiscali claims services such as the iPlayer and others are being launched without proper attention to the cost of delivery that is being transferred to ISPs and unless they could agree a strategy with the BBC to share network costs, they would have to restrict users' access to the iPlayer. As margins for broadband continue to get tighter, ISPs will want to control and profit from online video distribution to stay solvent. The move could deal a blow to the principle of net neutrality which is against providing fastest internet access to companies that pay the highest price.
It's not clear how much strain the iPlayer, which is still in beta, has had so far on ISPs. A BBC statement said the corporation is in discussions with ISPs and is monitoring the costs of providing on-demand video.