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ISP Tiscali UK Calls on Broadcasters to Pay for Online Content Distribution

Posted: 25th Jun, 2009 By: MarkJ
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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