ISPreview - Interview with BT (Phorm, iPlayer, FTTx)
Interview with BT (Phorm, iPlayer, FTTx)
By: Mark Jackson - May 21st, 2008 : Page 1 -of- 1
"Consumer research we have done suggests to us that many people would like to see relevant advertising"

ISPreview has managed to sneak in a quick interview with BT's Group Communications Director, Peter G Morgan. We question Morgan on a number of topics from their pro-Phorm stance to solving the 'Next Generation Network' (NGN) debate with fibre (FTTH etc.).

1. What do you feel would be the best way forward for BT when contemplating the national deployment of true 'Next Generation' broadband networks, such as FTTH and or FTTC? Should we even go with a fibre solution?

PGM(BT): We believe that next generation access will be driven by customer demand. Our customers are much more interested in the services they can get than in the technology that provides it. This already includes fibre to the premises’: 120,000 businesses already have fibre connections because they need the bandwidth it gives.

We are also proposing to install fibre connections to 10,000 new homes at Ebbsfleet in Kent. That will give us some idea of what demand exists and what sort of new services might be developed to use very high speed broadband. But we are certain that next generation access will be provided by a mixed economy solution for the foreseeable future. And one thing we certainly won’t be doing is making any investment that would destroy shareholder value.

2. Some ISPs, such as Tiscali, feel that the BBC should contribute towards the cost of delivering Internet access services, which have increased since the introduction of the iPlayer's (IPTV) P2P style technology. These providers fear that they would either need to impose additional restrictions or raise prices to cope. What are your thoughts?

PGM(BT): We don't agree with Tiscali.

3. The government recently began threatening enforced legislation upon ISPs unless they agreed some form of voluntary ("Three-Strikes") system to help combat online piracy of music, film and other software content (see ‘this’ article for more). What do you think should be done?

PGM(BT): We think that this is an issue for the music and film industry and not for us.

4. BT has recently taken a lot of criticism for its decision to adopt Phorm's controversial advertising system, which is a complex debate and somewhat difficult to summarise into a single question. Suffice to say, what are your personal thoughts on the matter, would you be happy to have the websites you visited tracked regardless of whether it was done anonymously or not?

PGM(BT): We think Phorm offers some real customer benefits, including better protection against phishing. Consumer research we have done suggests to us that many people would like to see relevant advertising. We are going to continue to investigate this technology, and we will only include customers who want to participate in our tests.

As a matter of information the websites people visit through search engines like Google are already tracked, while online retailers like Amazon have been giving their customers targeted advertising for years.

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