Blog Post

P2P TV Net Neutrality – Are We Heading For War?

Some industry types are starting to use military lexicon to describe what they see as the looming possibility internet service providers will force broadcasters to cough up cash for online TV bandwidth, or ban the traffic altogether. A few weeks after the BBC launched its iPlayer beta in July, Carphone Warehouse and Tiscali told newspapers the app’s peer-to-peer distribution method, in which programme downloading is shared amongst viewers themselves, could swamp their networks, requiring further infrastructure investment (see previous post).

Alexander Cameron, MD of IPTV consultancy Digital TX, told Web TV Takeover, a Chinwag panel in Soho, London, tonight: “There’s a war on the way and the BBC is going to kick it off. If you try and do the maths of sending video down a national network, it just does not work. Ultimately, the strain’s going to be too hard, the ISPs are going to kick in and … say to peer-to-peer guys like the BBC, 4OD and Lovefilm ‘no more video’.” Cameron estimated it would cost an ISP between £500,000 and £800,000 a year to cope with the additional demand of P2P-based online TV distribution. “It’s at risk, it’s going to die if they carry on.”

Alan Patrick, founder of broadband media consultancy Broadsight: “It’s very difficult to imagine that the owners of the distribution sector are not going to want some amount of revenues from this game.”

Cosmo Lush, head of development for Channel 4’s 4OD player, which works using the same Kontiki P2P technology: “It’s going to be a long, drawn-out battle. I think every side in the argument has a very strong argument, a very good one. They can try to shut off our (content) if they like, but I think I would say: ‘Why don’t you look at all the illegal pirate P2P content first rather than the legal stuff?’ … It’s going to be a long fight.”

It’s perhaps slightly unfair of Cameron to say the BBC has fired the opening shots. iPlayer’s proposal may have first been drawn up in 2003, but 4OD beat it to the legal P2P TV game in December 2006 and Sky Anytime, too, uses the same underlying technology.

In an in-depth interview with paidContent:UK this month, BBC director of Future Media & Technology Ashley Highfield said customers should not expect their ISP to discriminate between the types of content they can download. He said ISPs that did were being “disingeuous”.

2 Responses to “P2P TV Net Neutrality – Are We Heading For War?”

  1. that's just over the top. what Mr Cosmo Lush has said, i think he has forgotten p2p was developed to help content producer to distribute files easier and cheaper this was made to remove the cost of sending large data to many users. the p2p technology has been with us since networking was established, take a example thepiratebay.com is a bit-torrent distro platform, which helps millions of users world wide to distro legal and illegal files. that's TB of data per month and the costs are next to nothing for a single user, who simply uploads a file then let users get that file from other peers in the network.

    so there really ain't a war, instead there is a massive war against p2p software such as bit-torrent platform and the content producing owners whom do not understand this fact which they need to adopt promptly. 4OD is a Download service based on p2p like ed2k with DRM enabled over p2p platforms.

    dont ever forget p2p was developed by the best illegal pirates in the world. because of these illegal sharing real p2p was reborn

  2. I think calling it a war is a bit over the top (as it were), as I said on the night no-one wants to kill the golden goose, its more a haggle over who gets what.

    Infrastructure providers have to make the large investments, and can't easily switch out if they are wrong, so tend to be very interested in getting the rest of the value chain to help defray their risk. As you can imagine, the rest of the value chain does not see things the same way. They are partly correct, but its also partly an attempt to let the cost of picking up the "tragedy of the commons" fall on someone else's shoulders.

    At present the industry is in a very early evolution, so there is a huge amount of experimentation going on – and a huge number of companies being formed to experiment – and thus a lot of uncertainy over business models.

    As a service therefore, we have thus addressed this pressing issue – with the Broadsight Bizniss Model Selecta over here on our blog, <a href="http://broadstuff.com/archives/427-The-Broadstuff-Web-TV-Business-Plan-Selecta.html">Broadstuff</a&gt;

    And its free to use….just cut us 5% equity in your startup ;-)