BBC iPlayer a bandwidth killer?

Written by Joe Martin

August 16, 2007 // 10:51 a.m.

Tags: #4od #bandwidth #bbc #internet-tv #iplayer #isp #joost #on-demand #online #television #tiscali #video

Update: After looking more into the issue, Bindi has discovered that closing the iPlayer program doesn't actually stop the processes from running. Read here for more info!


The BBC iPlayer, which offers online video on-demand, has come under fire today from internet service providers for being a massive bandwidth hog.

According to BusinessWeek, Tiscali in particular has expressed considerable concern about the level of demand the service has placed on its network. Tiscali told reporters that it feels the additional bandwidth being generated by customers using the BBC iPlayer should be payed for by the BBC.

A spokeswoman said: "We don't see any reason why some of the cost of transmission over our network shouldn't be paid by the provider of the content. We don't believe that the potential for it to cause congestion is being properly recognised and acknowledged."

That latter point may definitely be true. For instance, the internet connection in the bit-tech offices has been a little bit slow and sluggish lately and it was only after a day or two of investigation and head-scratching that we found the culprit. It turned out that our very own Bindi was using the iPlayer almost constantly, subsequently bringing our connection to its knees. Shame on him!

He was completely unaware that the iPlayer is based on peer-to-peer technology and was both downloading and uploading content continuously.

The ISP trade association has issued a statement saying that it will be monitoring the service closely, especially as the service is set to expand over the next few months.

The BBC is already in regular discussions with several ISPs and is working on finding a solution to the problems. "We will be playing our part in this, and are working closely with ISPs... to deliver the best experience that we can to the audience," the BBC said in a statement earlier this week.

Which ISP do you use and what sort of connection are you on? Have you used iPlayer and what do you think about the future of online TV? Drop us your thoughts in the forums.

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