End User net neutrality phones piracy

BBC iPlayer on iPad and Android – high quality – blessing or bandwidthbuster & what about the TV license? :)

iPlayer running on iPad and Adnroid HTC Desire HD

The twitterstream was full of references to the new iPlayer App for iPad and Android this morning so I naturally dived in and downloaded. I have to say the experience is top quality on both. The colours are great and the TV is very watchable on both size screens.

What really came into my mind though was not the fact that I now had a new app on my devices but the fact that this was yet another driver for bandwidth use and also the question of the TV license.

Cisco internet growth forecast

The chart on the right is Cisco’s growth forecast for internet bandwidth use – a 4x growth between 2009 and 2014. Much of this as you can see is driven by video. The Y axis legend is in ExaBytes/Month!

A one of the World’s best content provider the BBC really is one of the drivers of this (Ok YouTube et al are also contributors) and making iPlayer easier to access on more and more devices adds to the proliferation. Of course this also adds to the pressures on ISP networks and fuels the NetNeutrality debate butthat is not for this post. Grown up ISPs will manage their way through.

The debate about the TV License fee is however another issue. The BBC has said that it is not going after non license payers watching using iPlayer online:

“Well, the number of homes that currently have no television licence, but that do have broadband subscription is currently estimated to be infinitesimally small. The chances are if you want to watch BBC TV programmes via catch-up over the web, you are also watching some BBC programmes at other times, live or time-shifted, via a TV set, and will already have a TV licence. ”

This situation will possibly change quite quickly over the next few years.

You only need a license if you are watching live TV which the BBC is now promoting using the iPlayer App. My question is whether the BBC is able to identify online users? The chances are they will only have an IP address to go at which is going to raise the same issues as we currently see with the Digital Economy Act and the RightsHolder industries (of which the BBC is a member). Unless that is the BBC has some spyware embedded in its iPlayer App that somehow records data on who is using it – via  iTunes username perhaps?!

The other notweworthy point is that apps like this are also fuelling the demand for newer faster smart phones. The iPlayer App for Android needs a fast processor to run Flash. It will inevitably evolve towards more and more HD content which will use more and more bandwdth and need faster and faster processors etc etc etc.

We do live in interesting times. BBC statement on iPlayer here.  BBC position on TV License for online streaming here. Header photo (click to see more) is of iPlayer App running on both iPad and HTC Desire HD (Android).

More TV related stuff:

Sony 4K Ultra HD TV

TV detector vans – the truth

Boring TV & better things to do.

broadband Business internet voip

Digital Britain FTTC Broadband – The Truth

I spent this afternoon at the Muswell Hill telephone exchange! I’d not been into one before and it must be said it felt like walking into an old high school. A pre-war building that echoed to my footsteps…The most noticeable thing walking in was a constant clicking sound. TDM switching still alive and kicking!! Eerie.

The purpose of my visit was to test the FTTC broadband line. I had a gaggle of BT engineers in tow to watch. I don’t think I was the first in but I was certainly an early adopter.

The results were exciting. We used a number of speed test engines and saw between 22Mbps and 42Mbps download speed. There was also a 172Mbps which was clearly an aberration. I’ll not name the website that gave us that one! The BT Wholesale line checker suggested that we should be able to get a speed of 38.5Mbps.

The uplink was a consistent 1.8Mbps or so – we were clearly not running off the 5Meg version.

I performed a number of tests including video streaming and Voice over IP. Both were stunningly successful. I didn’t expect any problems – the VoIP had plenty of bandwidth and was clear as a bell.

For the video I ran a couple of iPlayer sessions in parallel. The full screen performance was great. With hindsight I should have seen how many I could run to determine the maximum – a consumer household simulation.

The photos below show two video streams running plus a full screen shot of a BBC wildlife programme. Excuse the caption – I had some photos of me making VoIP calls over FTTC but they mucked up the formatting of the post so I deleted them.

Few points in finishing off:
The current BT Openreach strategy is to provide the VDSL2 modem for the Communications Provider to hook up to with an Ethernet Router. This should ensure better interoperability with the MSAN – an issue with different routers in the regular ADSL game.

Speeds will get better during the course of the 10 day training period. BT has seen 30 – 35Meg reasonably consistently after this period though there is not enough trial data to yet be able to quote a “typical” speed. It will be dependent on average distance from the exchange.

Note our range of 22 – 42 Mbps was based on being 4 feet from the cabinet – so there is definitely some bedding down to do there.

I make no apologies for the size of the images – they were just screenprints – I resized them but left them unoptimised for the web so if some of them take a little time to load that’s why.

Note also that whilst FTTC broadband is still a trial apparently the local BT shop in Muswell Hill is selling connections as if there was no tomorrow.  Hopefully they are making their customers aware that it is a trial 🙂

two video streams running off BBC iPlayer over FTTC
two video streams running off BBC iPlayer over FTTC

insect screenprint off BBC iPlayer over FTTC