Network Scaremongering is a Contentious Issue

Services such as the BBC’s iPlayer have proved very popular with Internet users but some ISPs are predicting that the rise of such ‘over-the-top’ services will lead to the failure of broadband networks as they struggle to cope with demand. THUS, owner of the Demon internet brand, discusses how consumer ISPs should stop trying to limit the services offered on to customers and instead update their business models to support the changing face of the internet.

“Businesses in the UK have long enjoyed the fruits of multiple 10Gbps broadband connections. Most commonly, companies have linked their sites throughout the UK with IP-based networks, allowing them to share high volumes of data and more advanced applications bringing both commercial and productivity benefits. There is a huge quantity of data being transmitted over these networks every second yet not one business-focused service provider has reported that the networks can’t support the demand.

When it comes to consumer ISPs, however, the picture couldn’t be more different. Many are throwing their hands up in horror and complaining that the networks simply won’t be able to cope with customers downloading increasing amounts of content from the iPlayer. So, as an industry our networks can support multiple Gigabit connections for businesses but we can’t support the bandwidth necessary for consumers to download from iPlayer?

The issue here isn’t that the networks aren’t capable of supporting this type of media – of course they are. This issue is that consumer ISPs have adopted a “stack ‘em high, sell ‘em cheap” business model. Heaven forbid that consumers may actually want to use the internet for something more than a bit of online shopping, reading some webpages and playing the odd online video game… that would break the business model.

It’s the consumer ISPs’ business models that are fundamentally flawed. The race to see who can provide the cheapest service, and get the most customers, has led to compromising the service that customers get. Instead of just trying to get as many customers as possible on their networks, consumer ISPs need to adopt a business ISP model approach; provide a scalable range of products and services that meet the needs of the businesses depending on what size the company is or usage that’s required.”