ISPs express concerns over iPlayer

Broadcaster and Internet service providers in discussions over bandwidth concerns
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According to reports, several UK ISPs have held discussions with the BBC over concerns that their networks will not be able to cope with the level of demand that the broadcaster's upcoming iPlayer could cause.

The consortium, which is apparently led by Tiscali, BT and the Carphone Warehouse are reported to have raised significant concerns over the ability of their infrastructure to cope with the levels of usage the BBC is expecting for its upcoming video-on-demand service.

The group have apparently asked the broadcaster to help with the necessary costs to upgrade the network, which they consider would be getting a "free ride" otherwise.

According to the BBC, the costs associated with the necessary upgrades would have to either be passed on to the consumer, or "the ISPs say they would have to limit access to services."

One method they have said warned could be used is "so-called traffic shaping" – a method of slowing down or even blocking access to a site, which "involves delaying packets of information sent across the network until congestion has eased."

"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 chief executive of Tiscali UK, Mary Turner.

"If the iPlayer really takes off, consumers accessing the Internet will get very slow service and will call their ISPs to complain."

A BBC spokesperson said: "We are in regular discussions with the ISPs and together are monitoring the costs associated with video on-demand."

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