BT: no free lunch for content players

BT has told video streaming sites that they will have to contribute to the cost of upgrading its broadband networks if they want consumers to enjoy a good level of video quality in future. BT Retail MD John Petter told the FT: "We can't give the content providers a completely free ride and continue to give customers the [service] they want at the price they expect." Petter wouldn't say how much BT was losing to traffic overloads but did say "if it wasn't a significant sum, we wouldn't be focused on it".

The BBC complained last week that BT's practice of capping broadband speeds on its basic Option 1 broadband package at nights from "up to 8Mbps" to just 896 Kbps to cope with bandwidth pressure was stifling use of its watch-again iPlayer service. But BT is not in a mood to back off just ahead of the release of Lord Carter's Digital Britain report. It wants assurances from content owners and government that it won't have to shoulder the full financial burden of creating universal web access.

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