BT Content Connect tramples on net neutrality?

Darren Allan

January 4, 2011

BT has been accused of leading the charge towards a two-tier Internet where certain content is prioritised with fast lanes via the introduction of a new service called Content Connect.

Content Connect is a BT Wholesale product which is designed to allow ISPs to deliver streaming video content more effectively across the net.

BT explains: “This is achieved by connecting a Content Distribution & Delivery platform to the IPstream Connect and Wholesale Broadband Connect networks. The Content Distribution & Delivery platform will be placed in the broadband network so that content bypasses the ISP’s backhaul.”

“Content Connect gives the opportunity for the ISPs to have a commercial relationship with the Content Service Providers.”

In other words, video content will be streamed from local servers direct to end users, allowing for much smoother streaming for those content providers who pay for it. BT is planning to use the service itself to deliver iPlayer content to BT Vision subscribers, according to the BBC.

Critics say that the concept is the beginning of the end for net neutrality, the principle that all traffic on the net should be treated equally.

Ever-present defender of Internet rights, Jim Killock of the Open Rights Group, told the BBC: “This is a sea change in the way that content is delivered by ISPs. It is essentially them saying: ‘Rather than delivering whatever content is on the internet as best we can, here are our services that we will deliver through our own network.’”

A BT spokesman also talked to the Beeb, and insisted the company was in favour of net neutrality: “BT supports the concept of net neutrality, but believes that service providers should also be free to strike commercial deals, should content owners want a higher quality or assured service delivery.”






 

Comments in chronological order (2 comments)

  1. Brian Turner says:

    It seems insane that – at a time when the US is enshrining the right to net neutrality – the UK is trying to undermine it.

    Perhaps if ISP’s spent more time filtering out DDoS attacks, spam IP’s, and hack attacks from zombie PCs, there would be less congestion on broadband lines and internet speeds would improve accordingly.

    In the meantime, I wonder if US internet giant Comcast still blocks emails from BT servers because of their IP’s being blacklisted for spamming?

  2. Damien says:

    I personally cant see it working for too long, whilst the uk government have said they would tolerate/accept a two tier internet BT claim its not a two tier internet – but I cant see how you describe a service thats normal, and one which ensures more stable? traffic even at peak times as anything other than two tier. Maybe BT have a faster loading site which defines it differently?

    I also fail to see how this will benefit business or customers, I can clearly see it will benefit BT, but not really able to see anyone else benefitting.

    Also BT only have 50% – 60% of market share, so will companies then have to pay other isp’s? In that case it might get expensive to provide media content.

    As for the rest of the small businesses it should be a case of “Cant pay – wont pay”.

    Extortion is a strong word which springs to mind, im sure BT dont see it that way, but I sure do.

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