The BBC won’t sit back and let Internet service providers push it around, and will take at least some action against potential throttling of its iPlayer and other services.
Erik Huggers, the Beeb’s Director of Future Media and Technology, has been talking at a Financial Times conference, the FT.com reports, and taking a tough line on proposed two-tier Internet plans.
This comes off the back of a black day for net neutrality in the UK yesterday, when government Minister Ed Vaizey effectively turned his back on the principle of giving all Internet traffic fair and equal treatment.
Vaizey floated the possibility of “the evolution of a two-sided market where consumers and content providers could choose to pay for differing levels of quality of service.” In other words, ISPs could favour the traffic of certain sites which paid them, over others.
At the FT conference, Huggers said software developers at the BBC were working on a system for the iPlayer which would warn users when their ISP was throttling down the quality of their viewing experience.
It would do so via a traffic light system, with red indicating that the ISP was heavily degrading the streaming quality, the idea being that consumers could then make a decision to potentially shift provider if they didn’t like the ISP’s actions.
Huggers also made it clear that it was “highly unlikely” that the Beeb would pay an ISP for fast lane access for its sites and services.
The Open Rights Group also spoke out against Vaizey’s comments yesterday, calling the abandonment of net neutrality a blow against free speech, and a hindrance to innovation on the web.