BBC argues for net neutrality

The BBC’s director of Future Media & Technology has said traffic management should not be used on the Internet other than in extreme circumstances. In comments passed to Ofcom and the European Commission, and posted on the BBC Internet Blog, Erik Huggers said it was critical that broadband companies continued to invest in their networks in order to cope with increasing amounts of traffic.

“Until that capacity is in place, the BBC recognises that traffic management may sometimes be necessary for technical reasons – for example to cope with legitimate network congestion – but this should be an exception.” Huggers said the emerging trend by operators to discriminate in favour of certain traffic, based on commercial agreements with the providers was a worrying development.

Huggers comments come in the week that Canvas CTO Anthony Rose – who previously held the same position for the BBC iPlayer – said new multicasting technology would take the pressure away from the delivery of simultaneous IPTV streams.

Taken together can it be assumed there will be no traffic shaping on the YouView platform by ISP partners BT and Talk Talk.

Huggers cited experiences where certain ISPs had prevented iPlayer traffic at peak times, but emphasised the problem was broader than that of the BBC alone, bringing in sites such as theyworkforyou, which monitors the work of MPs, as well as Mumsnet and communication tools and social networks including Skype and Facebook. He said an innovative and dynamic ecosystem could be put at risk if network operators were allowed to become gatekeepers to the Internet.