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Latest Sign of the Bandwidth Apocalypse

The virtual riot the BBC started when it launched the iPlayer last year may pale in comparison to what happens when the programmer starts streaming BBC1 live in the next few months. That’s right – the BBC is going to offer its broadcast live on the Internet. Now instead of facing increased bandwidth demand spread out over a period of time (iPlayer currently streams select BBC programming after it has aired), ISPs could be faced with massive concurrent demand.

How should operators react? From a policy standpoint, the right answer is being hotly debated. However, no matter how ISPs respond in practice, there’s growing consensus that operators should be as transparent as possible with consumers about exactly what their networks will support. The UK’s Office of Communications has just published a voluntary Code of Practice regarding the marketing of broadband service. (found via thinkbroadband) The code governs how providers advertise broadband speeds as well as how they communicate fair usage policies and usage limits.

As consumers continue to demand more from their broadband providers with services like iPlayer, it only makes sense to manage expectations appropriately – and to be crystal clear about what level of service consumers are paying for.