Some of the largest broadband providers in the UK are threatening to “pull the plug” from the BBC’s new iPlayer unless the corporation contributes to the cost of streaming its videos over the internet.
The likes of Tiscali, BT and Carphone Warehouse are all growing concerned that the impact of hundreds of thousands of consumers watching BBC programmes on its iPlayer – which allows viewers to watch shows over the internet – will place an intolerable strain on their networks.
Some of the companies involved have told the BBC that they will consider limiting the bandwidth available to iPlayer – a process known as traffic shaping. The measure would limit the number of consumers who could access the iPlayer at any one time.
A spokeswoman for Tiscali said: “The potential for iPlayer to suck up capacity is a concern and we need a better dialogue with the BBC about that.”
A senior insider at BT added: “It is certainly a live debate between ISPs [internet service providers] and the BBC. If the BBC gets the numbers it wants for iPlayer then network capacity could become an issue.”
Company representatives have expressed their concerns to Ashley Highfield, the director of new media and technology at the BBC.
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