Ofcom: the BBC should not fund ISP's network upgrades

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ofcom_logo.jpgOur faith in all that is just and fair was restored by Ofcom today when the battle between content providers, most notably the BBC’s iPlayer, and UK Internet Service Providers reached Parliament.

Ofcom chief exec, Ed Richards, was questioned by MPs at a joint session of the Commons culture and business select committees whether content providers should help fund upgrades to the UK’s broadband infrastructure.

“It is not necessarily the only way it can happen and it is not necessarily the way we would anticipate it will happen,” he said, adding later “I’m pretty disinclined to go down that route.”

Earlier this month a fight began between Tiscali and the Beeb after the ISP had a good old whinge about people using iPlayer, saying that it was messing up its business model.

Apparently its business model is ‘Sell people a service we can’t provide, then get all uppity when they want to use it’. Genius, obviously. Unfortunately it isn’t the only one that thinks that way.

Richards’ replies to the committee are encouraging though. For the moment it looks like we won’t be footing the bill for super-fast broadband upgrades through our license fees, nor will other content providers be expected to cough up simply because their service is popular.

However, the fact remains that the current infrastructure is unable to provide for the growing demands for internet access. Somehow, someone is going to have to pay for it.

Obviously we’re of the opinion that ISPs should pay for it.

We pay them to provide us with internet access. I-N-T-E-R-N-E-T. You know: facebook, YouTube, file sharing, MySpace, pornography, fanboy ranting, lolcats, rickrolling, World of Warcraft, news feeds, viagra spam, MSN Messenger, Skype, Google, Scabulous, pointless polls, Amazon, Play, Xbox Live. The whole shebang.

We’re not paying so that we can only access the select few services that ISPs deem suitable / have been bribed by.

Chairman, Lord Currie, also disagreed with suggestions that public money should be used to provide the upgrades, saying “I would have thought it was probably an unnecessary use of public funds”.

So the message to ISPs here is this: you dug this hole by making deceptive ‘Unlimited’ claims and trying to charge for services that you just don’t have the bandwidth to provide, and now you can go dig yourselves out.

Ofcom (via The Guardian)

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