BBC iPlayer: Making the unmissable, unaffordable?

BBC iPlayer: Making the unmissable, unaffordable?We and other publications have been reporting that the BBC iPlayer has been taken up in large numbers by UK TV License payers.

We’ve experienced something that other individuals might, one that will have serious implications for the long term success of BBC’s heavily-promoted service.

It’s centred on bandwidth and the keenness of the ISPs to restrict how much of it is delivered to UK consumers on a monthly basis.

When a single, admittedly longer that normal TV programme (The Last Enemy, 85 mins), is a 850MB download, the restricted-bandwidth DSL contrasts offered by some ISPs start to get used up pretty soon.

At that rate (110MB/min), using Metronet’s entry-level account, PAYGo Option 1 as an example, its 419MB monthly included bandwidth would be used up with just seven hours half an episode of iPlayer-delivered The Last Enemy . That’s only seven hours in a whole month, without any other Web browsing, or YouTube watching.

What drew our attention to this?
This isn’t the first time that this potential problem has been floated.

BBC iPlayer: Making the unmissable, unaffordable?One of Digital-Lifestyles writers experienced this problem first-hand when his ISP got in contact, charging for extra bandwidth usage over and above a monthly 94GB limit – the first time this has occurred in over two years with this ISP.

It ties-in with downloading a lot of iPlayer programmes during the first couple of week of the new year. As it turns out, all of the programmes that were downloaded remained unwatched (it would be interesting to hear those figures from the BBC) adding extra insult to the bandwidth-charge injury.

BTW – As a side issue, the TV programme that we use to illustrate this piece, The Last Enemy, is about a possible future for the UK under a the shadow of combined ID database. Worth watching.

2 thoughts on “BBC iPlayer: Making the unmissable, unaffordable?”

  1. It’s far worse than that. Your example of 85 mins / 850 MB means that the downloads are 10 MB/min, not the 1 MB you quoted. So you’re out by an order of magnitude, and your 419MB monthly limit from Metronet will be swallowed up by downloading just a single episode of Torchwood from iPlayer.

  2. Iain – I’m so very sorry … my brain must have fallen right out of my ear when I wrote this. I can’t believe what an numerical buffoon I’ve been. Now corrected.

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