BT’s plan for a so-called two-tier Internet

January 04, 2011 3:35 PM

The FT reports today that BT is rolling out a new offering called Content Connect to its wholesale customers – typically smaller Internet Service Providers (ISPs) – who use BT lines to deliver their services. Content Connect will allow for streaming live and on demand video to be delivered to end users in higher resolution with less bandwidth stalling.

Net Neutrality advocates – those that argue that all content should be treated equally – are up in arms. Why? Because Content Connect is a clear ‘violation’ of Net Neutrality rules. No, in fact it isn’t. Other than the US where the Federal Communication Commission enacted Net Neutrality in late December by a series of regulatory measures, there are no ‘ rules’ to how and when content is delivered to end users. Only business best practices. And many believe the FCC has overstepped their regulatory powers so we are likely to see a backlash against this action. In any case, Content Connect is another service offering that will allow for improved video delivery.

According to BT themselves, “The Content Distribution & Delivery platform will be placed in the broadband network so that content by-passes the ISPs backhaul.” Quite frankly, I would pay for that and I am sure that many football fans wanting to watch football on their computers would as well. And that is the point. BT and their wholesale providers will likely offer pay on demand streaming without all of the issues that we see while trying to watch an iPlayer program on demand. But the revelation that may upset Net Neutrality advocates is that traffic management has been and is already happening. Managing Internet traffic is key to being able to provide efficient and timely service on any ISP. That is why Akamai exists – to, among other things, buffer and manage Internet traffic. Why wouldn’t you want to pay for a much improved service if it guarantees no interruption to video streaming online?

Many Net Neutrality advocates also believe that accessing content, including streaming video, should be free. So how, then, are ISPs supposed to invest in the next generation Internet infrastructure? How are they supposed to differentiate their services from one another in order to created income to invent in the next generation Internet infrastructure? Money doesn’t grow on trees and though this Coalition Government is investing in Internet technology development, it is unlikely we will see future government investments in this age of austerity. And we shouldn’t rely on the government to provide the Internet for us when ISPs can and do provide. So I will happily pay for better video streaming service online as long as ISPs are providing what they are promising to deliver.The FT reports today that BT is rolling out a new offering called Content Connect to its wholesale customers – typically smaller Internet Service Providers (ISPs) – who use BT lines to deliver their services. Content Connect will allow for streaming live and on demand video to be delivered to end users in higher resolution with less bandwidth stalling.

Net Neutrality advocates – those that argue that all content should be treated equally – are up in arms. Why? Because Content Connect is a clear ‘violation’ of Net Neutrality rules. No, in fact it isn’t. Other than the US where the Federal Communication Commission enacted Net Neutrality in late December by a series of regulatory measures, there are no ‘ rules’ to how and when content is delivered to end users. Only business best practices. And many believe the FCC has overstepped their regulatory powers so we are likely to see a backlash against this action. In any case, Content Connect is another service offering that will allow for improved video delivery.

According to BT themselves, “The Content Distribution & Delivery platform will be placed in the broadband network so that content by-passes the ISPs backhaul.” Quite frankly, I would pay for that and I am sure that many football fans wanting to watch football on their computers would as well. And that is the point. BT and their wholesale providers will likely offer pay on demand streaming without all of the issues that we see while trying to watch an iPlayer program on demand. But the revelation that may upset Net Neutrality advocates is that traffic management has been and is already happening. Managing Internet traffic is key to being able to provide efficient and timely service on any ISP. That is why Akamai exists – to, among other things, buffer and manage Internet traffic. Why wouldn’t you want to pay for a much improved service if it guarantees no interruption to video streaming online?

Many Net Neutrality advocates also believe that accessing content, including streaming video, should be free. So how, then, are ISPs supposed to invest in the next generation Internet infrastructure? How are they supposed to differentiate their services from one another in order to created income to invent in the next generation Internet infrastructure? Money doesn’t grow on trees and though this Coalition Government is investing in Internet technology development, it is unlikely we will see future government investments in this age of austerity. And we shouldn’t rely on the government to provide the Internet for us when ISPs can and do provide. So I will happily pay for better video streaming service online as long as ISPs are providing what they are promising to deliver.

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