has waded into the current Net Neutrality
(principal of treating all internet traffic as equal) debate by announcing its intention to warn any users of its popular iPlayer
catch-up TV video streaming
service when their broadband ISP is restricting traffic and degrading its quality.
The move follows yesterdays speech by the UK governments Minister for Communications, Ed Vaizey
, whom supported proposals by Ofcom
that would shun Net Neutrality and allow big broadband ISPs the power to effectively favour some online content over others
; depending on who paid them the most money (here
Apparently the BBC
intends to adopt a form of Traffic Light
style warnings, which would consist of RED
icons/notifications. No doubt RED would indicate that a high level of Traffic Management
was being applied and thus slowing the performance and quality of their iPlayer
In addition the BBC's current Director of Future Media and Technology, Erik Huggers
, told the FT
that it was "highly unlikely
" the corporation would pay ISPs to guarantee the quality of its service. We recall that the BBC
first warned of its intentions over two years ago.
In April 2008 the BBC's Director of Future Media and Technology, Ashley Highfield, said:
"Content providers, if they find their content being specifically squeezed, shaped, or capped, could start to indicate on their sites which ISPs their content worked best on (and which to avoid). I hope it doesn’t come to this, as I think we (the BBC
and the ISPs) are currently working better together than ever."
Some readers will be quick to point out that several ISPs are already notorious for restricting iPlayer
traffic (e.g. BT
Retail) under their Fair Usage Policies
(FUP). However a lack of awareness often allows this issue to go unnoticed, which is something that the BBC
hopes to change.
At present it remains unclear whether the BBC's system will have the ability to tell the difference between standard Traffic Management
for general load balancing
purposes and restrictions that are specifically targeting their content. However both warnings could prove educational and might help consumers to find a better service for their needs.