broadband Business internet

BBC Claims BT is Throttling iPlayer

The BBC has an article online regarding the fact that BT is broadband throttling the iPlayer traffic of customers taking “Option1”.  Option1 appears to be BT’s cheapest broadband package at 8Mbps with a 10GB download limit.

I’m afraid that it is a fact of life that ISPs cannot afford to keep providing the services they do at the prices they do without some element of constraint over what consumers can download.

BT’s website does have a long list of caveats for its broadband service. They are quite open about the fact that they “network traffic manage” P2P and video streaming between their peak hours of 5pm and midnight although you might argue that the fair usage policy has become quite a complex one for people to understand.  Also whilst openly promoting the fact that users can watch online TV they fail to mention that only the lowest quality iPlayer setting is accommodated at these peak times.

The problem is about to get worse as higher speed 21CN connections become more prevalent and trials about to begin on 40Mbps services using Fibre To The Cabinet. Customers will expect to be able to get high quality video streaming  with these services.  Indeed video and likely HD video, will be one of the drivers for uptake of faster broadband.

Note whilst checking out the BT website I observed that the company sells its 10GB download limit as the equivalent of 2,500 music file downloads, 14 videos or 25 hours of streaming iPlayer a month.

This riles the music industry no end.  Does anyone believe that consumers download 2,500 “paid for” music files?  Is BT inadvertently helping to promote illegal P2P filesharing here?

Trefor Davies

By Trefor Davies

Liver of life, father of four, CTO of, writer, poet,

2 replies on “BBC Claims BT is Throttling iPlayer”

I agree, ISPs have a difficult job when the people want to download and move files. The current copper network we run the internet on wasn’t designed for this sort of traffic, it was designed for phone calls. Until ISPs have access to fat pipes and the customers have access to fibre this problem will only get worse. Instead of letting the people use next generation applications this country is being throttled down to make money for fatcat bosses and shareholders in the obsolete infrastructure. (BT).
I think it is time the ISPs spoke up on behalf of their customers. This is the first post I have found so well done, maybe the others will start to fight back soon, or are they scared of being throttled too?

Also this throttling and capping is having a very negative effect on the users. It is the main reason why people switch off. Losing your connection as you are about to purchase something on ebay, book a holiday or complete a bank transaction is very frustrating. People then jump in the car or pick up the phone and sack off the internet. They then moan about it at work, in the pub, in the shop etc. This puts off the people who would be tempted to try it. This is not the fault of the internet itself, it is the fault of the people high up who have decided not to build a futureproof infrastructure. Only people next to an exchange have a fairly decent service, and at least 3 million people are slagging off their poor connections. No matter how much money govt and RDAs shove into adverts and groups to stimulate take up nothing will work until the basic plumbing is right. 21cn will not deliver this. We, the ISPs, the people of this country, the kids, the students, the NHS deserve more. The internet applications have grown and the legacy copper can’t keep up with them, hence the throttling and capping.

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