The BBC are proposing a traffic light system to help users identify how efficiently their ISP is handling iPlayer traffic. The news comes in a speech to the FT World Telecoms Conference from Erik Huggers, Future Media director of the BBC and follows Ed Vaziey setting out the governments position yesterday which encouraged a step away from net neutrality in favour of innovation.
Huggers suggests that a simple red / amber / green indicator would help users understand the level of service that they are getting through their service providers connection to iPlayer, which would explain any performance or quality issues that they see. He was also keen to point out that the company are happy to work with service providers to reduce congestion on the network. One idea is the use of adaptive bitrate streaming using HTTP which can be cached on ISP networks.
The continued proposal of using multicast technology to distribute content was also made, however the current broadband platform doesn't provide much benefit to this other than saving on the bandwidth between the ISP and the BBC iPlayer platform. Providers such as TalkTalk or O2/BE which operate their own LLU equipment could make use of the technology to help deliver content to users, and TalkTalk have indeed announced a deal which could see CDN technology used in this way. There could be a change to the use of multicast across BT's network however. The proposed use of VULA (Virtual Unbundled Local Access) for fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) installs could leave scope for multicast services to be delivered over the wholesale network whilst still allowing the general Internet access to be handled by the broadband provider.