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ISPs warning to streaming TV via p2p
Monday 13 August 2007 15:50:41 by Sebastien Lahtinen

Streaming television services via the same peer-to-peer (p2p) technology that file sharing networks use has been the recent distribution model for broadcasters such as Sky Anytime on PC (formerly "Sky by Broadband"), 4oD and BBC's iPlayer. Over the last couple of days, several national news sources have carried stories of criticism by service providers on the shifting of distribution costs to service providers.

By employing p2p technology, it is possible for companies to send the content to users once, and then allow the users to share it with their virtual 'neighbours' reducing the companies' distribution costs. However, this is causing increasing problems for service providers as the traffic on their networks increases. With packages often based on 'unmetered' access, their revenues remain the same.

TheRegister's coverage of this issue has attracted many comments critical of the ISPs' position illustrating the consumer's demand for high bandwidth services usually without usage based charges. One comment suggests that ISPs can exchange traffic with the BBC for free, but neglect to consider the fact that the ISPs' most significant cost is delivering the content from its own network to the end user through a DSL broadband network. Cable operators could be at a distinct advantage in their delivery mechanisms, and it may be BT's new 21CN network will help things for DSL operators in the future.

The fact that some ISPs are jumping on this argument now may be an indication that BBC iPlayer is on its way to become a success. Whilst sites like YouTube have been around for a significant amount of time and streamed movie rentals have existed, they have never been prevalent enough to cause ISPs concern to this extent. Others have suggested the ISPs in question (which have included Tiscali, BT and Carphone Warehouse according to TheRegister) are looking to protect their own broadcast TV services.

Comments

Posted by h0tbl4ck over 9 years ago
The Net Neutrality debate was bound to cross the Atlantic, but I can't say I'm surprised two companies trying to gain revenue through premium VoIP/TVoD services are spearheading this attack.

There is already plenty of streaming, capping and prioritisation from many ISP's going on with regards to P2P and the simple fact is P2P technology is here to stay. BT control the majority of the DSL network in this country and if their business model is broken they need to fix it. Not anyone else.
Posted by herdwick over 9 years ago
BT's business model will work fine - if ISPs want more bandwidth they can buy it and BT will make a turn on it.

" the simple fact is P2P technology is here to stay" that would be an opinion, not a fact.
Posted by keith_thfc over 9 years ago
Virgin + the LLU specialists like SKY and be* should be rubbing their hands over news like this....

Although even an idiot like me could have foreseen this coming given the amount of time the BBC iPlayer has been in beta and the popularity of previous BBC events such as the live World Cup streaming.

Posted by h0tbl4ck over 9 years ago
>" the simple fact is P2P technology is here to stay" that would be an opinion, not a fact.

Technically yes, an opinion. But do you really think that the ever increasing uptake of P2P technology is going to stop? It's now used by everyone from Blizzard to Microsoft via the BBC and Paramount.

There is an ever increasing demand for bandwidth for legitimate purposes.

herdwick, If BT's business model is working fine, then why do they feel the need to attack companies who are encouraging bandwidth use which as you say, makes them money?
Posted by herdwick over 9 years ago
P2P will only survive if its "somebody else pays" model is viable, sustainable and tolerated by connectivity providers. Otherwise it'll go the same way as open SMTP relays.

TBH the bandwidth question is not really a P2P question as simple video downloads would also cause extra demand.

BT Wholesale will do nicely out of extra bandwidth investment. BT Retail the ISP would be just one of the ISPs facing the need to match supply, demand, cost and revenue. Maybe we need to specify which bit of BT we're referring to.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
Im sorry but in this case i have no sympathy for the ISPs or BT. Bring your stupid overly priced overly slow services into the modern day era instead of just trying to milk customers for every penny and then crying like spoilt little brats. When people use your so called services, thats what they expect. You can whinge and cry as much as you want but rich content is on the increase. A few years ago your wouldnt had seen a fully flash based site today they are all over the place.ISPs and BT wake up, you cant and never will be able to dictate the direction the internet takes like it or not.
Posted by bosie over 9 years ago
BT created the bandwidth problem by forcing a pay-as-you-go model which nobody wanted. This thinking was short sighted at the time and looks glaringly stupid today. Nobody asked for cheap thrills but we have it anyway. Probably the people at BT believed consumers would be content with low-res streaming content of the sort found on YouTube - by not understanding and planning for the sophistication of internet services BT with it's dominant position continues to undermine the UK's potential in the global economy. Too slow, too late.
Posted by h0tbl4ck over 9 years ago
A nice article on short term thinking and how investment in the much needed higher bandwidth networks is not being made:
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/05/17/the_economics_of_fibre/
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
Nice post bosie, at the end of the day it is BT that made the screw up originally due to their lack of foresight. Fankly im sick of whinging ISPs complaining like little girls how much it costs them and im sick of BT and their shallow promises of so called fast broadband thats cheap which only ends up throttled due to them milking the ISP. If i could wave a magic wand and make the whole internet completely high bandwidth video based tomorrow i would and then these people would have to do something if they still wanted us consumers cash
Posted by c_j_ over 9 years ago
"BT created the bandwidth problem"

Maybe BTw started it, but others haven't exactly set the market alight when they've had the opportunity.

If broadband bandwidth is now so cheap that non-BTw-based ISPs can still turn a profit with a reasonably priced "unlimited"-class tariff, why has Be's rollout stopped? Why are the LLU operators only interested in higher density areas and capped/shaped (not "unlimited") services? Broadband market economic reality, perhaps? LLU ISPs wouldn't turn down easy profits if those wanting "unlimited" were willing to back it up with their credit cards.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
well c_j you could argue its because LLU providers have common business sense and have done their figure work in advance to realise what they need to do to make a profit. Like any business if you are happy with the way it is running you dont go and upset the apple cart by spending out when you dont have to, you also in a market like this dont start making statements like BT do about so called miracales that have never and will never occur. If BT spent as much time on their network as they do promising services then maybe we would actually have what they promise.
Posted by herdwick over 9 years ago
"BT created the bandwidth problem by forcing a pay-as-you-go model which nobody wanted" - BT Wholesale do have a use based scheme but it is hardly used (Usage Based Charging). Virtually all ISPs use Capacity Based Charging - pay for size of link - which is absolutely not PAYG. So your argument is fundamentally flawed - find someone else to blame. No BT Wholesale product is metered per GB.

Why do Be only have <30,000 customers despite serving half the population with "unlimited" "uo to 24M" ADSL ?
Posted by keith_thfc over 9 years ago
"Why do Be only have <30,000 customers despite serving half the population with "unlimited" "uo to 24M" ADSL ?" Because they don't have the marketing spend of the big boys and O2 have presumably been concentrating on their own broadband plans since the be* takeover.

Because of the power of branding on the masses, O2 broadband will attract a lot more punters than be* broadband, even if its poor quality.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
"...find someone else to blame. No BT Wholesale product is metered per GB."
Really none of its metered huh? Then why is it BT residential and there so called unlimited option 3 package is throttled and has a fair use policy. I would assume if its unmetered per gig then at the very least the retail division of BT would be able to get and provide customers a service that isnt throttled. Then again perhaps again its all about profit and saving pennies not upgrading the ancient services BT churn out.
Posted by herdwick over 9 years ago
"No BT Wholesale product is metered per GB" is the reality. It may not fit into the assumptions of your mindless rants but that is the case. The price list is in the public domain - find me a charge per metered GB.

Throttling, FUPs, caps and metering are all methods to manage the retail demand to fit the available contracted supply capacity. Otherwise a few mindless cretins use all the bandwidth and the service grinds to a halt, as witnessed on numerous occasions with various ISPs - some of which went bust.
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 9 years ago
c_j_ - Be* has stopped their rollout because the unrealistically low prices and massive overselling done by other ISP's has killed their margins.

And herdwick, "mindless cretins", like those who want to watch internet video, yea. Legitimate uses for bandwidth are going up. Bandwidth avaliable, as ISP's slash prices, is going down. Service thus degrades since to get the headline price they then have to slash THAT.
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 9 years ago
The falling caps and the crippling of the average user's connection hurt everyone, and this is only going to accelerate. Blaming a few hundred high-bandwidth users when the problem is massive overselling and ridiculously low prices is silly.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
Exactly Dawn, its a pity people like herdwick cant understand that, instead they have to call people mindless. I did like the comment of "Throttling, FUPs, caps and metering are all methods to manage the retail demand to fit the available contracted supply capacity." LMAO oh so that explains it all.. oh no hang on it doesnt... people in other places in europe dont get throttled so whys that happen here... ah yes thats right its cos of the greedy telco company named BT that dont invest in anything and instead are all about profit rather than innovation.
Posted by herdwick over 9 years ago
It is an inconvenient truth that there are no per GB charges and that a few 24/7 downloaders occupy the bandwidth intended for 14,000 users and that without a mechanism to restrain them that's what they do and the result is a shambolic service. Were they to schedule their activities for the wee small hours it wouldn't be an issue, but they don't, hence "mindless".

Carpetburn is just out to slag off BT irrespective of the facts. Its just one long pointless rant.
Posted by herdwick over 9 years ago
BE failed on a a massive scale to get any customers, this supposed huge demand for fast connections with high GB per month apparently doesn't exist as when up to 24M services are offered to 50% of the population the take up wouldn't fill a football stadium. Is there actually any mass consumer for high speeds ? Or do they just want cheap ?

How's the takeup and throttling on Virgin Media's 20M service ? Going to blame that on BT as well are we ?
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 9 years ago
Even at 40:1 (and the average contention is lower), there would need to be over 350, not "a few" customers running their connections maxed out 24/7 in that situation.

Your math does not add up. It was relevant 3-4 years ago when this was, indeed, an issue. Since then it's been completely eclipsed by the massive overselling done by ISP's. Moreover, it dosn't matter in the slightest when bandwidth is consumed for BT central charges.
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 9 years ago
Virgin Media's trouble is quite illustrative - they have had to introduce bandwidth limits at peak times only because (and alongside) a doubling of their headline speeds without any infrastructure upgrades to accommodate the increased usage - leaving many customers with a seriously degraded service.

This is 2007, not the early days of broadband, and the issues behind slow services have changed.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
quote herdwick "Carpetburn is just out to slag off BT irrespective of the facts. Its just one long pointless rant." Not at all and just to prove it, feel free to tell us all. Who is incharge of maintaining the old moldy copper lines in this country?? Why is it a product known as MAX which comes from BT is throttled by every ISP, including BT thereself?? Now i will answer that for you, its because BT charge a bomb for capacity and the amount of capacity a ISP can afford cannot meet the demands, its sweet fanny adams to do with the odd heavy user as dawn has already tried to explain.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
Oh and you can not even compare LLU services and Cable service to BT products. They are provided completely differently. Also if you want to insult me and say im 'mindless' and pointlessly ranting than i think its fair to accues you of being out to do nothing but lick BTs backside. Everytime there is a news story on this site about BT doing something wrong you my friend are the first to leap to their aid, its almost like you work for them, infact i wouldnt be shocked if you do.
Posted by FRS_Plunderer over 9 years ago
And everytime there is a news story about BT doing something positive you manage to turn it into one big moaning session.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
quote "And everytime there is a news story about BT doing something positive you manage to turn it into one big moaning session"

In accurate again the latest story today about openreach i have commented positively on and i did it before i typed this reply. I give credit where its due and none when it isnt.
Posted by FRS_Plunderer over 9 years ago
Wasn't inaccurate at the time i posted it though was it! lol nice try...
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
Erm it was inaccurate, ive commented in a positive light about a previous BT story well before this little lot appeared. Why you cannot just accept BT dont spend money on upgrading the network like other communications companies in other countrys do and this country from its no.1 communications provider has a dated service i dont know but however you argue thats the facts. BT services get throttled for no other reason other than profit and see they dont have to spend money. Thats the end of it no matter how you argue it.
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