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British Telecom says bandwidth costs unsustainable. True?
From: David Farber <dave () farber net>
Date: Wed, 24 Sep 2008 03:11:20 -0400

Begin forwarded message:

From: Dave Burstein <daveb () dslprime com>
Date: September 23, 2008 9:33:28 PM EDT
To: dave () farber net
Subject: British Telecom says bandwidth costs unsustainable. True?

Sally Davis at BT just gave a speech (below) saying BT might have to block the iPlayer and other Internet video because their bandwidth costs are unsustainable. Other carriers, like Verizon, say they have no problem handling the video load, nor expect to have a problem. So I'm sending her comments over to see if anyone can provide evidence on why BT's experience is different or that Davis' comments are unproven hyperbole. It's especially surprising to hear BT's 21st Century Network, (superbly designed by superb engineers) is inadequate. Key competitor Sky just pulled off all limits on their $20 broadband service, saying,"it had invested in creating 'a high-capacity network that is designed to carry huge amounts of traffic without congestion'” without traffic shaping. I've written BT to doublecheck the reporter got it right, but the quotes are pretty clear.

So am I missing something unique to the UK, or are Ms. Davis' comments unfounded? Facts welcome.

Wholesale giants say Internet will no longer be free
... the answer could be to restrict "free" access to services like the BBC's iPlayer that allows users to stream BBC TV content over the Internet ... "One thing keeps me awake at night. In the immortal words of Jerry McGuire 'show me the money!'," said Sally Davis, CEO of BT Wholesale. ... Today there are a number of unsustainable business models out there, and these need to change, Davis insisted. ... the ISPs are saying "I can't keep increasing the bandwidth for no more money," Davis said, a situation that will ultimately lead to ISPs adopting traffic shaping measures and the like to keep control of bandwidth usage on their networks. ... "We're going to have some very grumpy people," namely the content owners and end-users, said Davis. As such, "we have to find new ways around it… Content distribution models will play a role in that," Davis said. "We will see those business models emerge," but more work needs to be done, she cautioned. ... "In the next three years… we will see some different models emerge," said Davis, a prediction that was greeted with some scepticism from others in the auditorium.

There won't be just one model, "there will be room for many models," agreed Kathryn Morrissey, EVP at AT&T Wholesale.

"Somebody at some point is going to have to pay for [this network usage]," she said.


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