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BT is readying a two tier Internet in the UK

Will prioritise traffic, for a fee
Tue Jan 04 2011, 15:53

NET NEUTRALITY OPPONENTS have had an encouraging start to the new year with British Telecom (BT) introducing a service that could create a two tier Internet.

The firm's wholesale division is readying a service that gives broadband providers the tools they need to create a fast lane for video content, which will deliver paid media content to consumers at higher quality than other material.

According to the Financial Times (registration required), the service will let broadband firms peddle high quality video distribution services to content owners in return for cash.

The pink paper added, "BT is seeking to capitalise on the fast-growing volume of video being downloaded over fixed-line and mobile infrastructure, led by services such as Google's YouTube and the BBC's iPlayer."

"A new content distribution network built by BT should ensure that bandwidth-hungry video can be streamed to consumers without interruption, even at peak web usage times."

BT calls the service in question Content Connect, which the FT reported is already used by BT Retail to provide customers with BBC Iplayer services.

According to BT's own webpages, its Content Connect is designed to let ISPs deliver content more cost effectively than previously possible.

"Content Connect gives the opportunity for the ISPs to have a commercial relationship with the Content Service Providers (CSPs)", it added on its website. It claimed this "[b]rings ISPs into the content value chain and allows them to earn revenue from delivering internet video from CSPs."

Sally Davis, head of BT Wholesale, batted away suggestions that the service will create a two tiered Internet where firms that do not pay it for high quality content delivery will be relegated to poor quality of service.

We have asked BT for more information, along with its explanation of how this does not create a two tiered Internet where some content is prioritised for money and everyone else suffers from poorer service as a result, but are still awaiting a response. µ



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