ISP BT has voiced complaints that the BBC gets a free ride with its iPlayer and that it should have to contribute to ISP costs that are incurred as a result of the wide consumer use of the player.
iPlayer streaming video accounts for a large amount of the network traffic and bandwidth that is used, causing many ISPs to struggle with providing equal bandwidth to all of its customers in terms of video streaming, due to the huge popularity of the iPlayer device.
The BBC and iPlayer is not the only company to be targeted, as other major video broadcasters such as YouTube have also been mentioned in arguments that they cannot expect to use vast amounts of bandwidth for free.
This has led many ISPs to limit bandwidth during certain times of the day, which has led BT to be criticised as customers felt that limiting bandwidth goes against the terms and conditions of contracts for high speed bandwidth.
OfCom has supported the BBC’s claim that it should not have to pay for the entire cost of upgrading broadband connections across the country.
In April 2008, at a hearing of the Commons culture and business select committee, chief executive of Ofcom Ed Richards said that forcing the BBC to pay is not a plan that will work.
BT returned the argument by comparing ISPs with the Royal Mail, with large video content taking up space, similar to bulky parcel deliveries, for which the sender is expected to pay more.
Currently, iPlayer has not been told it has to help foot the rising ISP costs, but as the iPlayer usage continues to grow the topic may become more heated.