By: MarkJ - 25 June, 2009 (6:30 AM)
Broadband ISP Tiscali UK, which is now owned by TalkTalk ( The Carphone Warehouse ), has once again re-iterated old calls for broadcasters (BBC, ITV etc.) to pay ISPs for the delivery of their online TV content. The news follows similar calls made by BT earlier this month (here) and echo's what Tiscali said early last year (here).

Speaking to DigitalSpy , Tiscali's Director of TV - Simon Hunt, said:
"The example I always come back to is the BBC and satellite. The BBC spends a lot of money on Sky so we can watch its programmes at home," he explained. "It also spends a lot of money putting them on DTT so they can be picked up, but this is just another form of digital distribution; so why is this free of charge?"

The example given is hardly an Apples to Apples comparison as Satellite TV is most definitely not "just another form of digital distribution". Commercial satellite is a closed platform focused on a single linear service, while the Internet is open and dynamic. It's interesting to note that the two most vocal proponents of this, BT and Tiscali, both have their own Internet TV (IPTV) services.

Consumers already pay ISPs a fee to give them access and a bandwidth allowance to view the content they desire. Should richer quality content become available then it is up to the provider, not the content developer, to make sure that suitable packages/usage allowances are offered to cater for it. Without content there is no Internet or freedom of choice.

Naturally ISPs are seeking to keep their prices low and perhaps there is a slim case to be made for the largest mainstream TV broadcasters to assist in funding content distribution. Still the risks are high, especially with there being no perceivable barrier to ISPs restricting all online content to a bare minimum (related news).

For now consumers can rest easy, comfortable in the knowledge that any ISP trying to impose overly harsh restrictions on their consumers are likely to shoot themselves in the foot by doing so.
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Comments: 3

asa logoThe Jam
Posted: 25 June, 2009 - 10:56 AM
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Let me get this right...
Your saying its up to the ISP to pay for all the upgrades needed to the networks to increase the bandwidth to the end user because of those developers that produce the content that eats up bandwidth while you are viewing it and not expect them to pass on the costs to the end users, well that statement is just a tad ridiculers, what company in their right mind spend millions on say rolling out fibre to the house without charging extra and thats just in metropolitan areas, what about all us users that live in villages where there are no plans for those sorts of upgrade to our connections?
I think some of the ISPs are getting a raw deal here now, as we all expect them to provide a service for as cheap as possible and then complain when you dont get a first rate service and its pushing the smaller players out of the market, either by going bust or being swallowed up by the larger ones, which in turn with only leave around 4-5 ISPs if that.
I think the content providers need to start taking responsibility for some of the applications they are developing, after all, Im sure they are getting paid for the advertising that they pump down their streams, so affectively they are pretty much getting money off the ISPs back for pretty much nothing, which is like me riding on the bus everyday and not paying for it, after all, thats also a service that some other company pays the upkeep for and now that we are on the subject what about the BBCs i-player, we as license payers pay for the development of that and we also pay for the adverts they stick in the cinemas, which i thought that that was not point of the license fee (but may be wrong there).
If we as consumers want the best services without paying for the upgrades, then something needs to be done and deal be struck with these companies and expecting it to be done with no extra costs, is just naive, even if they can apply for the governments new grants for their broadband revolution of 2mb to every house, we still end up paying via taxation anyway.

Thats my rant done now 
asa logoMarkJ
Posted: 25 June, 2009 - 12:35 PM
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Interesting perspective, though you wouldn't have an Internet without content and that is what ISPs exist to provide a service for. I wouldn't say ISPs were "getting a raw deal" either because it is their own competitive choice to try and undercut rivals with cheaper packages.. usually at the cost of quality. Many of the big boys then go on to deliberately and inaccurately advertise this as an all you can eat style bargain = warped consumer expectations. This is not the consumers fault.

Some ISPs out there do price correctly based on a clear balance of restrictions and or usage allowances, yet ultimately if you want a free and flexible Internet without ISP based content censorship then you have to pay a little extra. This is neither a rural nor urban specific issue everybody has to pay for what they use, just like you gas, water or electricity supply; its common sense.
asa logoThe Jam
Posted: 25 June, 2009 - 2:01 PM
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May be getting a raw deal was a bit strong, but if you read the reports that are posted on various news sites, then isps do get a heavy bashing, i read one the other day were some of the big hitters in the music industry are going to take Irelands largest isp to court because they refuse to install an application that monitors what their users are downloading and block copyrighted material, now the report said it would cost them around 30m to implement, to which the music industry was not willing to foot any of the costs, which if you look at it, is rather the same sort of argument, the media companies are quite happy to develop new stuff and gain a large revenue from it, but are unwilling to help foot part of the costs for the upgrades. This will only lead to isps not being able to provide or block the services that us the consumer want, which in turn will lead to the consumer jumping to one that does and the inevitable conclusion of some isps going out of business, which then restricts our choice. The internet is all about the content and the freedom to view (within legal reasoning) whatever you like and is what you already pay for, but if you then have to pay extra for what you are already viewing, due to download/streaming caps.
At the end of the day, the most likely losers will be the consumer who cannot afford to pay for the extra service which looks like will be imposed, as thats the way this all seems to be going.

You mention the utilities that we use and pay for, well we get right royally ripped off there, because there costs go up, they pass it right on to keep their profilts up and in some areas (like London) its not as if you can change your water supplier to get a better deal, not to mention they charge a standard charge, which and i quote is for the rain water and or melted snow that runs off your property into the drain now why should we be charged for something like that ??



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