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BBC's iPlayer Chief Pushes Tiered Charging For ISPs

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the if-isp-bills-looked-like-phone-bills dept.

The Media 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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172 comments

The bbc is joking what is next a net fee like tv (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 5 years ago | (#26253773)

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

Re:The bbc is joking what is next a net fee like t (3, Informative)

pxlmusic (1147117) | more than 5 years ago | (#26253831)

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

I already pay my tv licence (5, Insightful)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 5 years ago | (#26253829)

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:I already pay my tv licence (2, Insightful)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#26253859)

Or they should just give you a password for iPlayer when you pay your TV license.

Re:I already pay my tv licence (1)

kdcttg (980465) | more than 5 years ago | (#26253941)

Yeah! Then we can share passwords amongst our friends, and sell them cheap over the internet to make a profit!

Sarcasm over, that would never work.
Not that I think the BBC's suggestion has a chance either.

Re:I already pay my tv licence (1)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 5 years ago | (#26254011)

It could be the last 12 digits of your credit card number. :D

Re:I already pay my tv licence (1, Interesting)

i-CONICA (1316963) | more than 5 years ago | (#26254415)

It could be the last 12 digits of your credit card number. :D

Still just as sharable as any other password. The last 12 digits of mine is 662628812973. Go spend spend spend my friend...

Credit card numbers (5, Informative)

neapolitan (1100101) | more than 5 years ago | (#26254475)

I sincerely hope you were joking:

All VISA cards start with 4.

All Mastercards start with 51, 52, 53, 54, or 55.

Don't believe me? Take a look in your wallet. :)

Thus, iCONICA, if you just shared the last 12 digits of your Mastercard, you now have cut down the search space of your password to 500 numbers. Moreover, credit card digits have to conform to a checksum (double every other digit + add them all up, must be 0 mod 10.) Thus, I'd estimate we could guess your card within 10 unique numbers, around 100 if VISA. There are ways of getting around the "security digits" and expiration date...

Short story is, don't share your credit card number. Even as a joke.

Re:Credit card numbers (1)

The MAZZTer (911996) | more than 5 years ago | (#26254703)

Of course he could have a Discover card. :)

(Disclaimer: I agree with your post.)

Re:Credit card numbers (4, Informative)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 5 years ago | (#26254763)

I sincerely hope you were joking:

All VISA cards start with 4.

All Mastercards start with 51, 52, 53, 54, or 55.

Don't believe me? Take a look in your wallet. :)

Thus, iCONICA, if you just shared the last 12 digits of your Mastercard, you now have cut down the search space of your password to 500 numbers. Moreover, credit card digits have to conform to a checksum (double every other digit + add them all up, must be 0 mod 10.) Thus, I'd estimate we could guess your card within 10 unique numbers, around 100 if VISA. There are ways of getting around the "security digits" and expiration date...

Short story is, don't share your credit card number. Even as a joke.

Not only that, but the remainder of the digits in the first group of 4 digits are used to identify the issuing bank. While it's not actually a bulletproof method, knowing where someone is can narrow down the list of valid codes even smaller. Just take the valid numbers, cross-reference them with the list of Visa or Mastercard bank codes, and with the smaller list of numbers, find the banks that are in the local area, and use it knock off a few more numbers (someone in the US will probably not have a UK credit card, for example - they might, but it's extremely rare).

The entropy in the first 4 digits is extremely low.

Anyhow, sharing codes is easy to prevent - just do IP geolocation - non-UK IPs should be restricted from using the codes (and for the most part, IP geolocation is reasonably country accurate), and ensure that one code isn't used from multiple IPs in too often a time, or one code used simultaneously.

Re:Credit card numbers (1)

retchdog (1319261) | more than 5 years ago | (#26254943)

Or you could buy a boatload of CC#s from a Russian clearinghouse for a coupla bucks.

Not that I would do what iCONICA did of course, but you'd have to have a truly niche skill-set/hobby/ethics to puzzle out iCONICA's CC#, and not just buy them directly.

Re:Credit card numbers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26255029)

Hes right, mine is 5526-2881-2973-3452

Re:Credit card numbers (1)

chrispugh (1301243) | more than 5 years ago | (#26256297)

My Mastercard ends in 49...

Re:Credit card numbers (1)

ionix5891 (1228718) | more than 5 years ago | (#26256521)

mine ends with 42

Re:I already pay my tv licence (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26254601)

thanks for the new 72" flat screen TV my friend. :)

Re:I already pay my tv licence (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26253877)

Your TV licence gives you access to the BBC's content *over the air*, otherwise the BBC DVDs would be free too.

Re:I already pay my tv licence (4, Insightful)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 5 years ago | (#26254059)

You need to have a TV licence if you watching live TV on the PC as well. So then you'd have to prove you don't watch Prime Minister's questions, BBC news, football, etc.

It's also implied the iPlayer may show live content at some point as well. They know full well PCs are goinjg to become a major part of watching TV and they won't let that licence money disappear.

I suspect even now you'd get harassed and made to prove you never watch live broadcasts online if you opted not to pay the licence and got rid of your TV.

Re:I already pay my tv licence (1)

jacksonj04 (800021) | more than 5 years ago | (#26254567)

You can already watch BBC One, Two, Three, Four, News, Parliament, and CBBC (And that's only after a quick skim), for example BBC One [bbc.co.uk] (Beta, limited to UK IPs).

Re:I already pay my tv licence (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26254607)

"...BBC news, football, etc..."

Indeed. Speaking of the best kind of football, American football, what about those San Diego Chargers [chargers.com] just having whooped the Denver Broncos' [denverbroncos.com] asses 45-21?

Fuck Yeah!

Re:I already pay my tv licence (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26255985)

Moron, you are, Sir!

Re:I already pay my tv licence (2, Informative)

Archibald Buttle (536586) | more than 5 years ago | (#26256207)

The live content on iPlayer is not "implied", it's an actual current feature. All the BBC's main TV channels, with the sole exception of BBC Alba (the BBC's new Scottish language channel), are now available online for live streaming through the BBC iPlayer web site.

The addition of BBC One and BBC Two to live streaming was within the last few weeks, but I believe the other 6 channels (BBC Three, BBC Four, CBBC, CBeebies, BBC News and BBC Parliament) have been streaming for some time now. I'm not sure that local variations of BBC One and BBC Two are available - I only see the London versions and haven't spotted links for others.

I don't think the BBC is asking for more money (1)

Wesley Felter (138342) | more than 5 years ago | (#26253927)

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...

Re:I already pay my tv licence (1)

caramelcarrot (778148) | more than 5 years ago | (#26254045)

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.

Re:I already pay my tv licence (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 5 years ago | (#26254105)

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 network of packages.

Re:I already pay my tv licence (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26254357)

They had a 'business model' that was based on some 'big picture' VP's fantasy of what customers would want or put up with, and their customers handed them their head on a platter by forcing them to release Mac and Linux compatible downloads. The BBC has been repeatedly shamed in the last two years by being caught manipulating and defrauding their customers in telephone dial-ins, a documentary about the Queen, and various awards programs.

I was watching this happen from inside the BBC. The bureaucracy around the folks developing Iplayer very carefully and deliberately shielded the designated developers, and managers, from any criticisms from anywhere else in the BBC. They're getting what they deserve for technological stupidity and for misleading the public about what Iplayer is and how it works: customers are ignoring Iplayer in favor of ThePiratesBay, which works much faster and more reliably, and has a better interface than that one-week-limited piece of crap in Iplayer.

Re:I already pay my tv licence (1)

Kindaian (577374) | more than 5 years ago | (#26254625)

I do believe that they would made more money if they had something like a cheap yearly license for out of uk people to be able to see bbc content in it's full...

But i'm just a crazy guy with stupid ideas... ;)

Charge TV users instead (1)

CuteSteveJobs (1343851) | more than 5 years ago | (#26254847)

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.

Re:I already pay my tv licence (1)

bibh_sl427 (514692) | more than 5 years ago | (#26255829)

I would rather not take this line of argument ("what is in it for me"?).

The situation is a lot more complicated than that. You do not pay the license, or at least not only, to access BBC's content, but also to maintain a public broadcasting system (in UK, without ads).
The situation changed quite a long time ago when also commercial TV was made available, because, so many an individual user argued, "why pay for the BBC license, if I only watch Granada"?, so many an individual did not pay the license, and risked the fine.
In the Netherlands (where alsmost everybody has cable) the cable TV services have been privatized to a great degree, but on the government's condition that commercial cable providers also give access to public broadcasting services, within reason, that is.
I am quite happy with that situation, because you can bet your boots that if the cable providers would be the only ones to decide, they would get rid of a lot of channels that are not very interesting commercially, whereas I happily pay for x channels of trash, to watch the ones I do not regard as trash, or that at least do not dish out trash most of the time.

Re:I already pay my tv licence (1)

damburger (981828) | more than 5 years ago | (#26256253)

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.

Re:I already pay my tv licence (1)

pandrijeczko (588093) | more than 5 years ago | (#26256331)

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 programs that I do watch, not to mention the radio stations (particularly Radio 4 drama and comedy) and the web site for learning resources (I'm a Spanish language student), I think it's excellent value for money.

No, I probably wouldn't pay more for iPlayer but then I've not used it so far anyway as I just record what I want to see.

Re:I already pay my tv licence (1)

damburger (981828) | more than 5 years ago | (#26256405)

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 sensible.

Net neutrality (0)

gavron (1300111) | more than 5 years ago | (#26253889)

This is a perfect example of the data delivery middleman trying to make more money out of delivering the very same product they're already being paid for.

Cellular providers are already being paid to deliver data. Now they are saying "Pay us extra and we won't throttle iPlayer." What's next? "Pay us extra and we won't throttle YouTube"?

Net neutrality is important to all of us. Any "provider" who can't deliver the data should be allowed to quietly go out of business.

E

Brit ISPs Wankery rivals that in the USA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26253899)

Sounds like the ISPs over on that side of the pond are are trying to claim the "unlimited" broadband package they sold you isn't really.
Old news here.

We tried this back in 2004, and in mobile network. (4, Interesting)

Zarhan (415465) | more than 5 years ago | (#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.

Re:We tried this back in 2004, and in mobile netwo (5, Insightful)

cjonslashdot (904508) | more than 5 years ago | (#26253971)

Good.

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.

Re:We tried this back in 2004, and in mobile netwo (3, Informative)

Zarhan (415465) | more than 5 years ago | (#26254099)

Considering QoS...an 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 slashdot.org across all those various organizations at any practical cost...

BBC *is* a special case that topologically they have their own network [bbc.co.uk] 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.

Re:We tried this back in 2004, and in mobile netwo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26254335)

can only guarantee QoS to any practical degree

The only practical degree they need to guarantee is "we won't cripple your data transfers". Given the historical consistency of ISPs dragging their feet on upgrading their networks (in the US anyway, is it any different over in the UK?) that's almost certainly the guarantee they're offering, since unlike the consumer side of "up-tos" and "best-cases" it's unlikely that the BBC and other companies would allow them to oversell these guarantees.

Re:We tried this back in 2004, and in mobile netwo (4, Interesting)

cjonslashdot (904508) | more than 5 years ago | (#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.

Re:We tried this back in 2004, and in mobile netwo (1)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 5 years ago | (#26255817)

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.

Re: Argh the cost! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26256351)

The BBC is only thinking about this because it's *finally* dawned on them how much the bandwidth is going to cost them (via Siemens).

Why not shunt the cost onto the monkeys watching the tubes?

Yes, I helped build the infrastructure for that iPlayer disaster. No it is not good in any way, shape or form.

Re:We tried this back in 2004, and in mobile netwo (1)

VVelox (819695) | more than 5 years ago | (#26254431)

I find it unusual you are in favor of this then as what is being suggest is that they don't charge you based on connection quality/speed, but on what content you are accessing.

Re:We tried this back in 2004, and in mobile netwo (0)

cjonslashdot (904508) | more than 5 years ago | (#26254697)

I see the confusion. Their proposal sounds fair on the surface, but consider the ramification: they are trying to establish and end to end performance level based on their relationship with their ISP (the provider that connects the BBC network to the rest of the Internet). I feel that packets should not be prioritized based on who sent them. That is what they are trying to do, even though their purpose if reasonable. It sets a bad precedent. Imagine if Disney did the same thing: then Disney's ISP would start to give higher priority to Disney high QOS packets, OVER that given to other (non-Disney) sites. Very, very bad precedent.

Re:We tried this back in 2004, and in mobile netwo (1)

Kindaian (577374) | more than 5 years ago | (#26254639)

That leads only to pay twice for something that should just exist.

You already pay for that QoS and that Bandwidth.

If people did measurements of the offered QoS/Bandwidth some ISP would be forced to close down...

Re:We tried this back in 2004, and in mobile netwo (2, Informative)

cjonslashdot (904508) | more than 5 years ago | (#26254709)

You are right, but the reason is subtle. The key is to require that ISPs cannot prioritize based on sender. All senders (and receivers) should be treated equally. Then, if QOS is not sufficient, the ISP's media customers will all be equally affected. With such a policy, yes, we would ultimately be paying for the QOS because the cost would propagate to the endpoints.

Re:We tried this back in 2004, and in mobile netwo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26254341)

The funniest thing about the above comment is that (in Australia at least), the mobile phone plans are heading towards pay $x for $y worth of credit (eg $39 for $150 worth of usage). This is more along the lines of the internet plans rather then the traditional mobile plans.

(Mobile data can be covered by these plans but sometimes is not and the rates are usually higher then the normal plans...)

Re:We tried this back in 2004, and in mobile netwo (1)

Rasta_the_far_Ian (872140) | more than 5 years ago | (#26254535)

There's just *no* way this is going to happen anymore.

In the late 1990s, one would have the same about Americans paying for bottled water, but now people seem to be happy to pay $2/L for bottled water - even when the same quantity of soft drinks are offered for sale at the same location for $1.50!

If an ISP were to force the issue with access to a popular website in an area where customers have no competing ISPs, they will probably get away with it.

All it takes is a precedent - we need to fight this type of anti-public price gouging now, before it gains a foothold!

ISPs: Just like new broadcast stations (0, Offtopic)

wsidegangstarr (981592) | more than 5 years ago | (#26253907)

By doing this the BBC would opt to become one of the first (and largest) players in European tiered-web. The control that they would command could possibly turn British ISPs into the broadcast stations of the days of old. I'm sure they would reserve the right to not offer their services to ISPs that didn't pay-up from increased rates.

Re:ISPs: Just like new broadcast stations (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26253999)

Sorry, but the BBC is nothing compared to the NOS in the Netherlands. And if you're on the multicast backbone you can have a free 17Mbit/s feed of the public channels. The stored broadcasts are cached by all the big ISPs and I can watch broadcasts from over more then a year ago. Not as the seven days in Belgium. Even the commercial broadcasters here have a longer retention period.

The BBC asked the NOS for guidance on BBC3 back in the old dayes, and should maybe do the same for there Internet broadcasting. They even warning you when your favorite shows are coming.

BitTorrent & p2p? (2, Interesting)

saibot834 (1061528) | more than 5 years ago | (#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:BitTorrent & p2p? (2, Insightful)

cjb658 (1235986) | more than 5 years ago | (#26254043)

It wouldn't be as profitable for them.

Re:BitTorrent & p2p? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26254167)

They try, if you want to use the DRM laden download version of iplayer, i can't as i don't use windows and even then wouldn't want to, then you'll be raping the bandwidth of fellow TV license payers, afterall, it's your BBC, bend over at your convenience...

Re:BitTorrent & p2p? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26254349)

There's now Linux and Mac clients for the iPlayer download version. Enjoy.

Re:BitTorrent & p2p? (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 5 years ago | (#26256303)

Ugh. Intel Macs only, requires Adobe Air, and only works for the same movies that I can already get with iplayer-dl without DRM.

I wish the BBC would realise that they transmit unencrypted, HD, H.264 streams over the air for all of this content, and anyone with a DVB-t receiver and a hard disk can permanently archive them. It makes absolutely no sense for them to spend so much effort trying to protect the lower-quality versions.

Re:BitTorrent & p2p? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26256549)

It makes absolutely no sense for them to spend so much effort trying to protect the lower-quality versions.

It sure does matter when they have nervous content providers wondering if their work can be ripped off. You know and I know that high-quality rips emerge from the scene.

Re:BitTorrent & p2p? (1)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 5 years ago | (#26254375)

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.

Re:BitTorrent & p2p? (1)

grahammm (9083) | more than 5 years ago | (#26255705)

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

Re:BitTorrent & p2p? (1)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 5 years ago | (#26256137)

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 that they invented it. That's the sort of insistence on personnel credit common to middle management and VP's with 'big visions', and the BBC may be as vulnerable to that as many other companies.

Don't most ISPs already have tiered service plans (2, Interesting)

piltdownman84 (853358) | more than 5 years ago | (#26253979)

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'.

Re:Don't most ISPs already have tiered service pla (4, Informative)

jrumney (197329) | more than 5 years ago | (#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.

Re:Don't most ISPs already have tiered service pla (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26255365)

In the UK [...] the tiering is based on download caps (5Gb, 20Gb, 100Gb, uncapped is typical)

Most UK ADSL accounts are capped.

Re:Don't most ISPs already have tiered service pla (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26255421)

working for a UK ISP i can guarantee that you will not see more then 8Mbps anytime soon in 90% of cases.
BT's exchanges wont let you go any faster, and those exchanges are what most ISP's are using (though not always directly), and the upgrades are 'ongoing' to the point that there is no difference in the setup of the exchange for 8, 16, 24Mbps, whatever links (there are settings for below 8Mbps).
in the rare case where you actually get what your paying for, its probably one of the new & fancy fibre links from virgin.

Re:Don't most ISPs already have tiered service pla (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 5 years ago | (#26256323)

Most of the Virgin connections are not fibre for the last mile, they're the same old coax to the house, with a fibre backbone. That said, I still get 10Mb/s from mine (1.2MB/s sustained transfers, so 9.6Mb/s + protocol overhead).

I'm visiting my mother over Christmas. Unlike me, she is a BBC license payer[1], but because she lives out in the country and can only get a 512Kb/s connection, she can't watch streamed iplayer content because it doesn't buffer adequately and so pauses every minute or so.

[1] I used to be, but I stopped when they introduced MS DRM for the iPlayer. I have no desire for my money to be spent helping Microsoft extend their monopoly into a new market. I will start paying it again when they introduce DRM-free downloads.

Re:Don't most ISPs already have tiered service pla (1)

Warll (1211492) | more than 5 years ago | (#26255469)

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.

Re:Don't most ISPs already have tiered service pla (1)

Fallen Seraph (808728) | more than 5 years ago | (#26256085)

"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 the way (at least in the US) cell phone providers charge you separately for text messaging, voice calls, picture messaging, etc.

Net Neutrality is a movement to try to prevent this, and keep the internet the way it is, where all bits are (more or less) equal.

Re:Don't most ISPs already have tiered service pla (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 5 years ago | (#26256561)

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, I talked to several of the cablemodem engineers about my voip problems when I worked there, I was told that their changes bork voip. They can reconfigure your modem to act differently, but hey, they can charge you $5.00 a month for that "special" config.

Article suggests right (4, Insightful)

casualsax3 (875131) | more than 5 years ago | (#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.

How long before... (1)

Bin_jammin (684517) | more than 5 years ago | (#26253987)

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?

I'm confused.. (4, Insightful)

poptix_work (79063) | more than 5 years ago | (#26254023)

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).

Re:I'm confused.. (1)

cjb658 (1235986) | more than 5 years ago | (#26254067)

Here is one solution [akamai.com] to that problem.

Re:I'm confused.. (2, Interesting)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 5 years ago | (#26254453)

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 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.

In the US one "solution" to this is to charge the folks supplying content. Some of them, notably Google, aren't making anything and aren't selling anything directly. But their operation is extremely cash-rich and they aren't subject to market share issues. Face it, the ISPs are going to have to start charging what the connections cost when they stop fighting over market share. And either consumer prices are going to match the business prices or they are going to get paid by someone else.

Re:I'm confused.. (3, Informative)

nabsltd (1313397) | more than 5 years ago | (#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.

Re:I'm confused.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26254621)

In the US, ISPs are fighting for market share. Most home connections are operating at zero or negative profit

I assume you've got a source for this that you'd like to share with the rest of us?

Re:I'm confused.. (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 5 years ago | (#26256575)

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.

Re:I'm confused.. (1)

failedlogic (627314) | more than 5 years ago | (#26254657)

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 store surely produces a lot of (legal) traffic.

Around '95 or '96 the large ISP I was connected to had proxied content of commonly downloaded software, patches, games, etc. in agreement with content holders. I don't know that such servers would be economically feasible given the alternate of a customer just downloading it elsewhere. Might help though.

Re:I'm confused.. (1)

Kindaian (577374) | more than 5 years ago | (#26254659)

I'm also confused... There are countries, where they invent nice things... like a common pearing thrunk... shared by everyone ISP and managed by the cientific/university community...

Where did i heard of such incredible thing?

I think it's something related to that 2 thing that appeared before web2... something called internet2???

Re:I'm confused.. (1)

superskippy (772852) | more than 5 years ago | (#26256537)

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 has a cap- since that's clearly worse, comparing spec-for-spec. He'll go for the cheap stuff, and get stuck in their traffic shaping software, and he won't know anything about it. So any ISP that moves away from the lying business model will rapidly lose it's customers.

And a BBC viewer says : (3, Informative)

unity100 (970058) | more than 5 years ago | (#26254029)

"shove it"

They do not need better quality (1)

elgaard (81259) | more than 5 years ago | (#26254125)

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?

Re:They do not need better quality (1)

freedom_india (780002) | more than 5 years ago | (#26255691)

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.

Helping the company and hurting the consumer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26254143)

This is the new motto for those who have the consumer's interests by the balls. "Oh, so you like this content? Well guess what? You're REALLY going to pay for it now." Things they were already making a profit on they're now going to squeeze further so we become even poorer for the same crappy programming.

This whole scheme is absurd. They can *already* charge us more for higher bandwidth streams. It's called PASSWORD PROTECTION you mopes. It's called ENCRYPTION. DRM. It's not impossible to keep certain media off-limits except for those who pay. This whole idea is designed to put billing and access control in the hands of the ISPs while the BBC reaps the profits.

And what do we, the consumer, get in the end? Fucked. They shove this bullshit down our throats and we gobble it all up. Here, take my money so I can get another copy of the same thing on another medium in another format. It's all our fault... We just keep moving, buying the same crap, feeding the system, letting it grow larger and control our lives some more.

Hopefully people will run out of money before they run out of guts.

bandwidth (3, Insightful)

jmcvetta (153563) | more than 5 years ago | (#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...

Re:bandwidth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26256103)

I think that's the entire point. ISP's want to charge the BBC money as they are using a large % of there bandwidth. The BBC are pointing out that this is flawed, and that it's the consumers that are paying for access to servers, not the other way around. If ISP's don't have the capability to absorb this growth in traffic, then the ISP's are flawed, and either need to invest more money in expanding there networks, or die as an ISP.

Re:bandwidth (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 5 years ago | (#26256345)

The BBC isn't exactly in a weak position here. They can just say 'fine, block out content if you can't afford to carry it' to ISPs. I very much doubt that an ISP that did so would last more than a year.

go figure out a business model (1)

speedtux (1307149) | more than 5 years ago | (#26254361)

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.

If it's the Beeb you can count on 2 things (1, Interesting)

gelfling (6534) | more than 5 years ago | (#26254381)

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

no comprende (5, Insightful)

Eil (82413) | more than 5 years ago | (#26254449)

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 (5, Insightful)

Craevenwulfe (611318) | more than 5 years ago | (#26254623)

Some ISP's appear to be upset at the prospect of customers actually bothering to use the utility that they've been sold.

Correction. (1)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 5 years ago | (#26255625)

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 [wikipedia.org] the [wikipedia.org] news [zeropaid.com] . The "information age" was stifled a long time ago, and its remains expelled from its gestation chamber in a dead bloody mess.

the bbc? this won't matter. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26254569)

obama has all of us by the balls and we will pay through the nose for anything we need in life.

Re:the bbc? this won't matter. (1)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 5 years ago | (#26255637)

obama has all of us by the balls and we will pay through the nose for anything we need in life.

This is rather funny.

If someone came to abduct me and subject me to the horrors of my every need being catered to for the rest of my life they wouldn't need a gun or knife to make me go : )

If they were coming to abduct me and make me empty my account so they could buy weapons and drilling equipment, however, i'd take as many of them with me as possible.

C08 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26254631)

long time FreeBSD coomitterbase and FreeBSD used to

Quality Scales, not Extra Fees (1)

gazz (101967) | more than 5 years ago | (#26254649)

To my eyes, blurry as they may be for this hour, the quote appears to suggest that media streams may be delivered in varying qualities, dependent upon the user's available bandwidth. It does not seem to suggest that users should pay "extra" fees on top of their standard ISP charges to watch higher quality media, as some here seem to have interpreted.

Correct me if I'm wrong.

Re:Quality Scales, not Extra Fees (1)

grahammm (9083) | more than 5 years ago | (#26255735)

To my eyes, blurry as they may be for this hour, the quote appears to suggest that media streams may be delivered in varying qualities, dependent upon the user's available bandwidth.

Which is nothing new. Realplayer was doing that for media streaming many years ago.

Fuck you, Rose (1)

Legion303 (97901) | more than 5 years ago | (#26255301)

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.

Re:Fuck you, Rose (1)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 5 years ago | (#26255641)

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?

Re:Fuck you, Rose (1)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 5 years ago | (#26256275)

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.

Re:Fuck you, Rose (1)

pandrijeczko (588093) | more than 5 years ago | (#26256157)

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.

Combined with for-the-kids ratings... (2, Interesting)

damburger (981828) | more than 5 years ago | (#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.

BBC A GREEDY (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26256451)

Seriously, they either need to let in 3rd parties or get the &!*% out of my internets.

I am getting pissed off severely with their greed and stupidity.
"oh hur we are the boss, we can do anything we like because we are total prats"
SCREW THEM.

It's time to scrap the BBC (0, Troll)

johnsie (1158363) | more than 5 years ago | (#26256483)

Youtube is better. Also, the BBC has a blatent left-wing political stance. It's ok for a normal media corporation to be politically biased because you can just turn over, but a taxpayer funded one should be a little more balanced. Yes you can turn the BBC over, but you still have to support them financially whether you watch BBC channels or not. I've nothing against people who are left of centre, I just dont like paying the BBC if they are not being even-sided. I also don't see the point in funding the BBC when the Internet has brought us plenty of alternatives. If it isn't scrapped then it should be an optional subscription like virgin or sky that you only pay for if you use it.
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