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BBC's iPlayer Chief Pushes Tiered Charging For ISPs 172

rs232 writes with a link to a story at The Register which begins: "The executive in charge of the BBC iPlayer has suggested that internet users could be charged £10 per month extra on their broadband bill for higher quality streaming." The article suggests (perhaps optimistically) that "after years of selling consumers pipes, not what they carry, [tiered, site-specific pricing] would be tough to pull off."
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BBC's iPlayer Chief Pushes Tiered Charging For ISPs

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  • The bbc is joking what is next a net fee like the tv one?

    • by pxlmusic ( 1147117 ) <> on Sunday December 28, 2008 @09:49PM (#26253831) Homepage

      it's more of that stupid notion that the ISPs are trying to get away with double-dipping their customers.

      • by Anonymous Brave Guy ( 457657 ) on Monday December 29, 2008 @01:41PM (#26259507)

        Is it just being realistic? Here in the UK, ISPs have been selling flat-rate "up to 8MB" broadband for some time now, but glossing over the very high contention ratios they've been using (and getting away with so far, because the average user doesn't currently want anything like 8MB/s of data transfer).

        With the rise of streaming, real-time media — and the BBC's iPlayer has been a great success story over here — the assumption that a large group of users only ever sends a few e-mails and shops at Amazon is becoming less valid. While quite a few people have visited YouTube and the like and watched a five minute clip of something, that's a long way from a service that offers full-length, full-quality downloads of major programs and advertises this fact prominently on several major TV stations.

        Unfortunately, the reality is that the ISPs don't have the bandwidth they've sold if everyone wants to use it, any more than the banks had the money they were selling. Some sort of change in pricing is inevitable. One way or another, those who have been doing very well out of the current flat-rate deals are going to be the ones who lose out, because they are getting things disproportionately cheap right now.

        Personally, I don't like the filtering by source/destination idea. It sounds like something that will attack the openness that has made the Internet such a success. I'd rather go back to some sort of metred use policy, perhaps with tiered flat rate bundles for a bit of predictability for low/average users (so that up to x MB/month is a standard rate, up to y MB/month is another standard rate, and after that it's metred or something). This model seems to work fairly well for the mobile phone industry, and the pricing is transparent and sustainable.

        But whether it's done by bandwidth, web sites visited, protocols used, or what postcode you live in, anyone who has been happily streaming tens of gigabytes per month of downloads on their flat rate plan and thinks an extra 10 pounds a month is excessive is just deluding themselves. The bandwidth simply isn't there to support everyone doing that, and when commodities are scarce, prices go up.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by pxlmusic ( 1147117 )

          "This model seems to work fairly well for the mobile phone industry, and the pricing is transparent and sustainable."

          and we've seen what they charge for text messages. i don't trust that.

          "The bandwidth simply isn't there to support everyone doing that, and when commodities are scarce, prices go up."

          and referring to bandwidth as a commodity seems a little like fallacious thinking.

          • and we've seen what they charge for text messages. i don't trust that.

            Text messages are an odd case in several ways. Their pricing is on the high side, but then their pricing for calls is on the low side, and in neither case do they really make that much money out of their customers: it's the high-end, premium services like mobile Internet browsing and picture messaging where they make the big money these days.

            In any case, this isn't really the same idea as what I was suggesting. Distinguishing by service like this would be more akin to letting people browse web sites cheaply

            • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

              by lamapper ( 1343009 )

              On the contrary, it is the very essence of a commodity in the economic sense of the term: one ISPs bandwidth is as good as another (at least for now) but there is only so much available.

              And this is my fault why?

              They should have been building out their infrastructures since 1996, but they have not...and we have been paying additional fees and taxes here in the US for the build out that has NOT occurred.

              Until the current ISPs and telcos provide fiber in the end mile as they have in Japan since 2000 and before (100 MB up and 100MB down stream) I really do NOT want to hear their excuses.

              Oh yes, it costs less than $.50 per MB to provide those fiber connections up and down in Japan, so do

        • Unfortunately, the reality is that the ISPs don't have the bandwidth they've sold if everyone wants to use it, any more than the banks had the money they were selling. Some sort of change in pricing is inevitable. One way or another, those who have been doing very well out of the current flat-rate deals are going to be the ones who lose out, because they are getting things disproportionately cheap right now.

          You are making an assumption that fraud has occurred. If, like a properly run bank, if depositors'

  • by thetoadwarrior ( 1268702 ) on Sunday December 28, 2008 @09:49PM (#26253829) Homepage
    Let me get this right. I pay my TV licence which is supposed to give me access to the BBC's content but they now feel I should pay out extra for something I've already paid for?

    I've used iPlayer like 3 times in my life. I shouldn't have to pay anything extra for it and certainly not £10 per month for something I rarely use. It'd be more cost effective to buy the content in DVD format.

    If the BBC can't afford to do something with the licence fee then don't do it.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Or they should just give you a password for iPlayer when you pay your TV license.
    • I think the idea is that you'd pay your ISP more to cover their costs of carrying iPlayer traffic. Cue proxy servers in 3, 2, 1...

    • It seems that the BBC is suggesting that ISPs could offer a package that includes high-quality streams from iPlayer. This isn't the ISPs threatening to restrict iPlayer access unless users buy a more expensive package, it's the BBC offering ISPs an item to throw into their best packages. It's no different to paying for Sky HD or whatever. I suspect that few to no-one will take it, and this is just a stopgap measure to make the ISPs happier while the network catches up to demand.
      • While at the same time it prepares peoplef or cable tv-like internet service and internet freedom dies.

        If iPlayer requires more money to cover everything then they should have to do it through the licence and justify the increase. This isn't that different from the case of B&W and colour TVs. One gives you a better picture and you pay more for it through the licence if you want and it covers the BBC content only rather than making it easier for ISPs to convert the web into a very costly and limited n
    • Very True. Instead of charging you £10 a month for broadband, the BBC should instead be charging maybe £200 a month for selfish people who insist on having their programs delivered through the horrendously expensive terrestrial TV system?

      But let's face it; Bureaucrats see it as their job to think of new ways to through levies, fees, taxes and charges at customers.
    • The license fee is a model the BBC see as unsustainable - so they are seeking other means of funding.

      This is not the way. Personally I would just slice it off income tax and thus it wouldn't disproportionately burden the poor. As it stands its practically a poll tax.

      • Why is the license fee unsustainable? After all, it is basically a "tax" just about everyone in the UK pays & the only way to make it more sustainable would be to deduct it directly from salaries as is the case with income tax.

        Furthermore, I think that if you speak to most people, you will actually find that they don't mind paying the license fee in order to maintain advert-free broadcasting. Personally, the majority of TV programming across all broadcasters is trash but for the handful of good BBC prog

        • Its a flat tax against everyone in the UK i.e. a poll tax. Last time someone tried to openly introduce a poll tax there was rioting, so the only reason it stands for the license fee is because Brits are quite fond of the BBC.

          The problem is mainly that the BBC is (rightly) moving beyond TV and radio and producing a lot of online media. This is being paid for by a tax on TVs which is a fairly bizzare state of affairs.

          Non-commercial media is a good idea, but the model for raising the funds has to be fair and s

        • The lack of advertising would be appreciated more if the BBC stopped their advertising and trailing of other BBC products in between programmes. It just gives the impression that they are struggling to fill the airtime. I want to be informed and educated, not told what is coming up on other channels, I can find out that for myself.

  • by Zarhan ( 415465 ) on Sunday December 28, 2008 @09:58PM (#26253903)

    I work for an ISP/Telco. A few years ago this whole "access Internet from your phone" was just coming and GPRS costs were crazy. At that point we made quite a few studies that basically came to the effect of "in ISP world, with DSL, cable etc, people are already used to flat rate - you can't change that. In mobile, folks are still used to idea of different price for different services - case in point text messages".

    Well, we missed the boat on that one (technology was there - all traffic goes through GGSN and they supported tying a Layer 4/7 switch to a accounting server). There were some ideas proposed, like concepts of "sponsored links" where if you normally paid X amount per megabyte some advertiser could perhaps do it for you and so on.

    We missed the boat on that one, and now everyone is in the "flat until X MB (where X can be infinite), then extra bytes cost extra from that point on" model - even in the Internet accessed from mobile phone. In regular ISP world it's a doomed proposition since we have had 10-15 years of flat rate broadband now.

    There's just *no* way this is going to happen anymore. Sure, business customers might be interested (and are) paying for e.g. guaranteed delivery for their internal VoIP traffic and guaranteed QoS, but it's just not going to fly for average consumer. Some "added value" services might be in there (stuff like, say, some freebies at iTunes), but QoS-related stuff for *generic Internet service* is not going to be one of them.

    • by cjonslashdot ( 904508 ) on Sunday December 28, 2008 @10:09PM (#26253971)


      I want to be in charge of the QOS I receive. I disapprove of any model in which the content provider pays the ISP for more QOS. That leads to a Disney and Coca-Cola Internet.

      The consumer should be the one to choose (and pay) for QOS. And payment should be to the ISP, not the content provider, which would end up as a kickback to the content provider's ISP.

      Only in this way can we hope to ensure that the Internet is not filtered by the content providers with the largest pockets, and by the ISPs themselves.

      • by Zarhan ( 415465 ) on Sunday December 28, 2008 @10:31PM (#26254099)

        Considering ISP can only guarantee QoS to any practical degree in their own network.

        The whole point of term "Internet-based service" is the fact that it's accessed through a mystical cloud of multiple networks held together by glue, duct tape, BGP and peering agreements. Accessing Slashdot (for me) goes through four AS numbers (try in Linux traceroute with the -A option). So while all those ISPs have been able to agree to exchange bits either in peering or customer/provider model, there's no practical way that I could negotiate a guaranteed access quality to across all those various organizations at any practical cost...

        BBC *is* a special case that topologically they have their own network [] which is able to peer with other ISPs at lot of places (at least if you are either in US or UK) so they might be able to wrangle deals with directly-connected ISPs to provide some QoS to their peering point. As their customer-base would be UK license payers it might, technically, work.

        Whether anyone is actually willing to pay extra for that...I seriously doubt it.

        • by cjonslashdot ( 904508 ) on Monday December 29, 2008 @12:29AM (#26254689)
          Hi Zarhan,

          I understand the QOS issue. With a packet network such as the Internet, you cannot guarantee QOS. All you can do is promise to prioritize packets, and provide a certain bandwidth within the network that you control. Out in the cloud, one can try to set up special arrangements, but as you know, nothing is for sure. One can always lose or delay a packet if traffic is heavy.

          Thus, there really isn't a technical solution beyond what IP6 provides - which is not a guarantee.

          What I am saying is only that I do not want QOS to be managed primarily by ISPs who deal with the deep pockets. I want the ISPs instead to attempt to treat each packet without regard to where it is from, and deal with the QOS service issue by providing enough bandwidth to satisfy their customers, without playing favorites.

          At the consumer endpoint, the consumer should have the ability to improve performance by buying more bandwidth, but you are right, that if there is insufficient bandwidth at some point along the way the traffic will be choked. But if that occurs, I want it to occur evenly and fairly to all of the customers of the ISP that is causing the choking. No favorites.

          That is the only way that we will ensure that players with big wallets will not hog the Internet and cause response time for other sites (perhaps ones with more open content) to be accessible.

        • You *can* guarantee QoS as an ISP/NSP if you control almost all of the connectivity end to end. Case in point: Comcast's IBONE network. They're slowly moving away from using Tier 1/2 providers for a lot of traffic and pushing those packets across their own nationwide network.

  • BitTorrent & p2p? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by saibot834 ( 1061528 ) on Sunday December 28, 2008 @10:08PM (#26253963)

    Why don't they use BitTorrent or similar p2p networks to distribute their files? Sure, it might be a bit more difficult for live-streaming, but most content is not live content* and p2p networks have shown to be a good alternative to regular Server-Client-downloads.
    (* I don't know about you guys, but hate anyone trying to force me to watch some tv show at a specific time. I want to watch what I want, when I want. I believe this is true for most people and most content).

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by cjb658 ( 1235986 )

      It wouldn't be as profitable for them.

      • Regardless, bittorrent is useless for streaming. People don't want to wait an hour for their program to start. Eventually, one way or another, whatever method wins out WILL support streaming.
    • That's what Iplayer was written as, a concealed Bittorrent-like client. The need to support non-Windows platforms, and their own decisions to use Windows Media to provide the DRM they insisted on, forced them to break their usage model and provide something closer to normal video streams for Mac and other clients.

      • by grahammm ( 9083 ) *

        Why could they not have used p2p technology for the mac and linux clients as well as the windows one?

        • Because their business plan absolutely demanded 2 features.

          * It must apply DRM on all recordings to only be playable for one week. There is exactly one graphical player for which that works reliably and is in fact a key point of the software's existence, and that player is Windows Media Player.

          * It must only work within the UK. Again, the only player that does that is Windows Media Player.

          There was also another feature which I suspect, but cannot personally prove was relevant:

          * They must be able to claim th

          • They now use a flash based client that does all the above on multiple platforms, and have no dependency on Windows.

            • _Good_. Is that actually part of the Iplayer client on Windows to use Flash and avoid Windows Media? And if not, how are they doing the DRM?
    • by aj50 ( 789101 )

      A P2P model is far worse from an ISPs point of view as they have to provide twice as much bandwidth (once to receive the file, once to send it on).

      With the traditional download model, ISPs can cache static files (including iPlayer shows) within their own network, vastly reducing costs.

      I don't know why ISPs are complaining about iPlayer so much, I'm sure it's much less of a problem than things like youtube where the variety of content is much higher, even if the bandwidth used is lower.

      I really don't want my

    • The bbc stream pre-recorded content as well as their live channels. There is however a p2p version which allows you to download the tv but you have to wait for everything to download. People don't like waiting, they much prefer pressing play and watching on demand, so the streaming version although lower quality and a little glitchy is more popular. The BBC responding to feedback on iPlayer want to make the streaming version more bandwidth intensive, they are already pushing the boundaries of what can be de
  • I don't get what the big change is? My ISP already offers several tiers of service for Internet. I can pay $30/month for 256 Kbps; $40/month for 5 Mbps; $51/month for 10 Mbp; $100/month for 25 Mbps. The also screw you by making you pay for 'PowerBoost(TM)' which is $2.95, and allows you to download a "10 MB file in 8 seconds" with the 10 Mbps plan. Which is a real scam as my maths tell me that's what I should be getting with the plan anyways. I don't have it, but maybe that's why my 10 Mbps service seems throttled to 118 KBps, and when i tried to downgrade to a '5 Mbps plan' I went down to around 60KBps. Also when they launched their own Internet phone service my Vonage stopped working, they said I needed another option for $5 to 'speed up net phone service'.
    • by jrumney ( 197329 ) on Sunday December 28, 2008 @10:30PM (#26254085)
      In the UK, speed based tiering is all but dead. Now you get whatever speed your line can support (up to 8Mbps or 24Mbps - depending on provider), and the tiering is based on download caps (5Gb, 20Gb, 100Gb, uncapped is typical), after which they either throttle you to dialup speeds, charge you per gigabyte, or in the case of the ISP I am with, do nothing, but if you're over a few months in a row they phone you up and request that you upgrade to the next tier if you want continued service.
      • Alternatively you could just get Be Unlimited, which gives you up to 24mb/s and NO CAP for £18 a month. Why anybody uses anything else I have no idea.


        • Because they're horribly oversubscribed. Because they have no decent support. Because they have the audacity to actually charge *per month* for IP addresses so to replicate my current 16 IPs would jack the price up to £42 per month (making them simultaneously the most expensive and cheapest ISP.. a neat trick).

          And your £18 a month contract is a minimum 12 months. Costly when you want to change, or even just move house. Many, like myself, won't even consider such a contract.

          To get decent, rel

    • by Warll ( 1211492 )
      I take it you're Canadian? What you are describing sounds alot like Shaw's plans, with a few exceptions. First off PowerBoost is free with the 10mbps and 25mmbps plans, and what it does is double your connection, not simple raise it to 10mbps. Second your point about VoIP is correct, is it any coincidence that shaw offers their own VoIP plans? Anyways your slow connection is likely just the sites your pulling from.
      • Yup, Shaw it is. Yeah I didn't read the small print about PowerBoost being free on my plan. As for my download speeds its not the source, its definitely a shaw cap. Its a constant speed I see all the time. It doesn't matter if its a large Microsoft Binary, a download from my office which is also downtown, or from a friend with the same plan three blocks away(I actually get the lower 60KBps rate at the time in that case, as that's the capped upload speed). Even with shaws own speed test I get these rate
        • by Warll ( 1211492 )
          Well it does seam as if something is wrong with your connection, can;t say that about mine though. I often get upto 25mbps with the PowerBoost even though it should only be 20mbps.
    • "Tiered Internet" in this case is not talking about speed, it's talking about content. At the moment, you pay for the connection between you and your ISP, in most places. With a better connection offering better speeds. A "tiered internet" would be if you want to watch YouTube, $5 is added to your bill, or a $2 surcharge for using Google, or an extra $20 to use BitTorrent, etc. It's content based filtering. So you might have like a 25Mb/s line, but not access to the content that'd utilize it. Kind of like t
    • by Lumpy ( 12016 )

      Comcast screws with Voip traffic. I switched from comcast to DSL and my Voip service quality improved dramatically.

      Comcast induces a lot of jitter and other problems because they increased the buffer times in the modems. Increasing this time will completely screw with Voip service. When you get their voip service the modem is different and designed to not do that to the voip ports.. oh but your old voip service will not work as they are hogging those ports for your ip address.

      I used to work at Comcast,

      • What is almost criminal is that the phone worked perfectly fine, up to the very month that they rolled out their own phone service. My main problem is I live in a condo where my only TV option is the company I have. Because of bundled pricing it doesn't make sense for me to go with an alternate Internet service as it will cost me $10 more a month for a 'slower' service.
  • by casualsax3 ( 875131 ) on Sunday December 28, 2008 @10:11PM (#26253985)
    I'm not going to pay $10 more a month for what I already have just because someone wants more money. But... if the BBC made their content such high quality that my 10Mbps connection wasn't enough to stream from their site, then maybe I'd consider upgrading to a 20Mbps plan. Don't offer me what I already have and pretend it's suddenly worth more - offer me something better, and then maybe I'll buy it.
    • I cannot see how this was modded as 'insightful'.

      The suggestion, as I read it, is that the BBC should increase the quality and resolution of its output at the expense of the UK TV licence payer, so it takes more bandwidth. This will mean it will not download at a reasonable rate unless ISP suppliers worldwide sell the viewers an expanded service for which it can charge.

      None of your ten dollars to your ISP gets back to the BBC. I do not see it as the duty of the BBC to provide future revenue for your IS

      • I agree that it's not the BBCs responsibility to provide revenue to the ISP, however I don't think that was suggested. I had, perhaps wrongly, assumed that the BBC would be getting that money extra $10, and that they'd be getting it by adding an optional tax onto your broadband bill. I'm not sure why the BBC would be concerned with ISP revenues.
  • the same cable companies that are pushing for tiered pricing start pulling stunts like packaging channels instead of allowing us Ala carte pricing, so we only get the channels we want. Wait, what? They what?
    • IIRC all cable and satellite companies have to offer a la carte pricing for their channels. The problem is that the a la carte pricing is ridiculous. For basic level channels, by the time you add more than 7 or 8 of them you're past the price point where you could have just bought the package that includes every basic channel they offer.

      Many of them also have minimum purchase levels that you must make. So if you JUST wanted the Sci-fi channel only or something (which would be less than $5 per month), th

  • I'm confused.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by poptix_work ( 79063 ) on Sunday December 28, 2008 @10:17PM (#26254023) Homepage

    If $ISP cannot profitably sell $x mbit/s at $y dollars/month they need to either increase $y or decrease $x. It doesn't cost anyone more to deliver traffic from the BBC than anywhere else (peering ratios/contracts aside). It sounds like the problem is that average people are ... *gasp* ... actually using their internet connection for more than e-mail and web surfing and the bandwidth:customer ratios are no longer extremely in the ISPs favor.

    ISPs should instead be looking at ways they can reduce their costs while providing better service to their customers, such as a peering arrangements with the likes of YouTube, BBC, etc. or a local appliance that serves up the most bandwidth expensive content (you know, like any content delivery network does).

    • by cjb658 ( 1235986 )

      Here is one solution [] to that problem.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by cdrguru ( 88047 )

      In the US, ISPs are fighting for market share. Most home connections are operating at zero or negative profit so they can acquire greater market share. This is offset by other business operations, such as telephone service, cable TV, etc.

      If things are in the same state in the UK, then the ISPs (a) can't charge their customers more and (b) aren't charging what the connection costs.

      One big clue to this is to look at pricing where market share isn't being fought over. Business connections in the US are anyw

      • Re:I'm confused.. (Score:4, Informative)

        by nabsltd ( 1313397 ) on Monday December 29, 2008 @12:09AM (#26254597)

        One big clue to this is to look at pricing where market share isn't being fought over. Business connections in the US are anywhere 2-4x the prices being charged for home connections. This is not a matter of higher utilization because these business connections are sold on the same terms as home connections with "burstable" bandwidth and maximum transfer caps.

        First, why would you think that ISPs aren't fighting for market share with business connections?

        Second, the reason business connections cost more is that generally you get a lot more. Although I agree with the amount of the price difference, my bandwidth is 24/7 guaranteed, with no cap on the total amount of data transferred. Sure, I pay about double what a "residential" customer pays, but all that really gets me is 5 static IPs, no blocked ports, and an SLA. In general, business customers don't have any of the limits that residential customers have, and that's why the connection costs more for the same speed, but that's not true with my ISP (Verizon FIOS). Residential customers get the same guaranteed bandwidth and no cap (not even a hidden one).

        At my work, we also pay a fixed rate regardless of bytes transferred, have 24/7 guaranteed bandwidth, and have no cap. I don't know what residential customers of that ISP get, though, as I don't know any in the area.

      • by Lumpy ( 12016 )

        Wow you're funny.

        Comcast broadband is NOT in any way operating at cost or near zero. They get decent profit from the broadband services. Just look at the quarterly reports sent ot shareholders, it's spelled out right there.

    • True. But I think influence would have some effect on the decision making process of ISPs and content providers alike wether from the company itself or the executive with their connections. I'm hoping it won't come down to a Coca-Cola internet as another poster noted, but based on the volume of media Apple is selling in iTunes store, it wouldn't surprise me if they at least asked for some $$$$ or QoS preference. Or vise versa - that is the ISPs or Tier backbone providers asking Apple for $$$$$ since iTunes

    • The trouble is that there are three strategies currently used in the UK. One- increase $y. Two decrease $x. Three, lie about what you are providing.

      I estimate that strategies one and two probably have around 200,000 customers, and the remaining 20 million lines are with the liars :-)

      The average joe sees that unlimited broadband for cheap offer and plumps for that- he's typically He's got no way of telling he isn't getting what he's paying for. He isn't going to plump for another offer that costs more or

  • by unity100 ( 970058 ) on Sunday December 28, 2008 @10:19PM (#26254029) Homepage Journal
    "shove it"
  • Except for mayby some TV games, there is no need for higher quality.
    TV is one-way so just buffer more.
    Preferably download it all before you start to watch it (that's what mimms is for).

    Would you rather pay 10pount/year or watch the stream delayed an extra second?

    • Because today they will start by charging $10 for HIGH quality. Tomorrow they will start by charging $10 for NORMAL quality.
      Give corporates a small chance to increase price for a select few, and they will increase the price for ALL.
      Treat all corporations as criminals unless proven otherwise.

  • bandwidth (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jmcvetta ( 153563 ) on Sunday December 28, 2008 @11:12PM (#26254323)

    Wait a minute... I already pay more per month than my neighbor, so I will have a faster internet connection. Faster for EVERYTHING. Now the ISPs are going to ask me to pay even more, so that certain selected (by them, not me) content will be supposedly faster? Yeah, good luck selling that one...

  • Seems to me that the BBC has become lazy and reliant on broadcast fees and thinks it's everybody's job but theirs to figure out their business model.

    If you can't figure out how to stream megabit streams profitably, then don't stream them. Don't try to mess up the Internet just because you don't have a business model.

  • 1) they have their head up their asses
    2) they mumble under their breaths what the BNP says aloud.

  • no comprende (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Eil ( 82413 ) on Sunday December 28, 2008 @11:37PM (#26254449) Homepage Journal

    I'm afraid I don't understand. Most broadband companies where I live offer tiered service already with slower speeds costing less and higher speeds costing more. Or is that not the case in the U.K.? If no, why are they treating this like it's some brand-new idea?

    Why do companies and governments not see that cheap, plentiful broadband is the only way to grow Internet adoption and the online industry as a whole? Especially now that the worldwide economy is in the shitter, the information age is poised to drag us out of it, if only self-serving companies and conrgresscritters wouldn't stifle progress to make their own quick buck.

    When the Internet was this shiny new thing, large companies didn't want anything to do with it. The first ISPs started out as ma-and-pop operations because big communications companies thought it was a silly idea to connect two consumer's computers together over some distance. Remember that? The telcos were the ones that fought the hardest because they hated having dialup modems on their voice network. Now that the Internet is clearly here to stay, everyone with a bit of power and/or money wants their own slice of the pie and in the process make it more costly, more inconvenient, less open, and overall less beneficial to the average individual.

    • Re:no comprende (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Craevenwulfe ( 611318 ) on Monday December 29, 2008 @12:16AM (#26254623)
      Some ISP's appear to be upset at the prospect of customers actually bothering to use the utility that they've been sold.
    • Why do companies and governments not see that cheap, plentiful broadband is the only way to grow Internet adoption and the online industry as a whole? Especially now that the worldwide economy is in the shitter, the information age is poised to drag us out of it, if only self-serving companies and conrgresscritters wouldn't stifle progress to make their own quick buck.

      Apparently you've missed [] the [] news []. The "information age" was stifled a long time ago, and its remains expelled from its gestation chamber in a dead bloody mess.

  • I'll back tiered charging when you back tiered (monthly) rebates from ISPs who slowly take away benefits like usenet, the ability to run your own ports, etc. Looking at you, Comcast.

    • I'll back tiered charging when you back tiered (monthly) rebates from ISPs who slowly take away benefits like usenet, the ability to run your own ports, etc. Looking at you, Comcast.

      since when has 2 gigs a month been useful on usenet?

      • Since some people didn't read or carry 'alt' newsgroups. Not all of Usenet is porn and prodigious ranting, though alt groups with such content tend to be the most trafficked newsgroups, by far.
    • In my experience, ISPs never took Usenet particularly seriously anyway - they always seemed to provide some antiquated 386 server on its last legs for the job that struggled to manage 50% binary completion and 2 hours binary retention.

  • by damburger ( 981828 ) on Monday December 29, 2008 @06:42AM (#26256273)
    This could be the end of the free Internet in the UK (something the government has been pushing for a while now). You would buy packages of sites (IP addresses) you can access rather than a genuine Internet connection.
  • Other than news channels and sports broadcasts there are very few programs which need to be live streams. Even the news channels are suspect as they often report the same news from this morning with 'live interviews' later in the day.

    Seems to me we could probably do without live streams all-together for the public.... let the sports bars host live events using a satellite feed or some such for the sports junkies (it's more fun in a group at a bar anyways) - and let the news junkies get their fix from RSS fe

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