Posts Tagged ‘Broadband’

ISPs vs BBC row

Relationships between the BBC and internet industry have plunged to an all-time low, after the BBC’s internet chief Ashley Highfield used a blog post yesterday to tell ISPs to get stuffed – and even threatened to name and shame them.

The cost of carrying iPlayer traffic has been a sore point for ISPs, who must absorb steeply rising traffic costs. Regulator OFCOM’s Market Impact Assessment estimated the P2P version of iPlayer would create up to £831m in extra costs for the internet industry. In the first month of the “low bandwidth” iPlayer, ISPs saw streaming costs rise 20 per cent.

But Highfield, Director of Future Media and Technology at the £4bn-a-year corporation, said the BBC won’t help them out.

“I would not suggest that ISPs start to try and charge content providers,” he scolds.

“They are already charging their customers for broadband to receive any content they want. If ISPs start charging content providers, the customer will not know which content will work well over their chosen ISP, and what content may have been throttled for non-payment of a levy.”

Highfield instead advises them to pass the increased costs onto their customers in the form of tiers of service (ie price increases).

And if ISPs didn’t follow his “advice”, and dared to traffic shape their networks to manage their bandwidth hogs, Highfield threatened that the BBC would name and shame them.

“Content providers, if they find their content being specifically squeezed, shaped, or capped, could start to indicate on their sites which ISPs their content worked best on (and which to avoid). I hope it doesn’t come to this, as I think we (the BBC and the ISPs) are currently working better together than ever.”

Being put on the BBC’s List of Shame could have serious commercial repercussions for internet providers.

(Highfield also raised eyebrows with his assertion that “The best technical solution is usually Moore’s law”. An oddly ignorant thing to say, since the capacity and price of copper and fibre connections have very little to do with the density of transistors on a semiconductor die. Earth to Ashley: Ceci n’est pas une pipe.)

It’s a lose-lose situation for the ISPs. If they refuse to carry iPlayer material, they lose customers and go out of business. If they do carry iPlayer material, and traffic shape their networks, the BBC will shame them, and they go out of business. Who’d be an ISP?

Highfield’s heavy-handed intervention may undo much of the conciliatory work undertaken by iPlayer boss Anthony Rose. As we reported recently, the BBC is exploring building its own Content Delivery Network (CDN) to ease the delivery costs for ISPs.

One executive at a major ISP stormed back at Highfield:

“Relying on the customer’s failure to read the small print is not the basis for a digital content strategy.”

Source:The Register


More remote workers using next door’s broadband

The number of workers in the UK who admitted they “hijack” the wireless connection of others has gone up from six per cent to 11 per cent over the last 12 months. Globally the figure is 12 per cent*, with big increases all over the world.

That’s among the findings of the second annual survey of remote working commissioned by networking giant Cisco Systems, which paints a picture of general (and increasing) slackness about IT security threats. The poll of 2,000 remote workers and IT pros from ten countries, including the UK, found that many remote workers were happy to risk opening suspicious emails and attachments. Nearly half (48 per cent) admitted to opening dodgy emails in the UK, something of a black spot for the issue. The US scored better (by comparison, at least) with 27 per cent of those surveyed admitting that they exposed themselves to this risk.

Remote workers feel less urgency to be vigilant in their online behavior, with 56 per cent stating that the internet is becoming safer, an increase of eight percentage points from last year. This “happy factor”, most pronounced in the world’s fastest-growing economies such as Brazil, India and China, is having some undesirable consequences.

Punters half know that they are safer behind a corporate system, but that doesn’t stop them from engaging in all manner of bad behaviour. As well as opening unsolicited emails and hijacking Wi-Fi connections, remote workers are in the habit of loaning out work computers to friends and family. Unsurprisingly they also use work computers for personal use, such as downloading music and visiting social networking sites. Worse still, from a security perspective, many are in the habit of accessing work files from personal devices that haven’t been screened by IT departments.

Cisco reckons the reasons why punters flout corporate security policies when working from home are largely psychological.

“While working at home, people tend to let their guard down more than they do at the office, so adhering to security policies doesn’t always intuitively seem applicable or as necessary in the private confines of one’s home,” Stewart said. “The blurring of the lines between work and home, and between business lives and personal lives, presents a growing challenge for businesses seeking to capitalise on the productivity benefits of the remote workforce.”

More than half of respondents (55 per cent) to the survey reckon that remote workers are becoming less diligent about online security, an increase of 11 percentage points over the last 12 months. As well as the US and the UK the survey, conducted by market research firm InsightExpress, involved quizzing punters in France, Germany, Italy, Japan, China, India, Australia, and Brazil. The sample countries were chosen to represent a diverse set of social and business cultures.

The number of remote workers is growing worldwide, with as many as 46.6m staffers expected to be spending at least one day working at home by 2011, according to estimates from analyst firm Gartner.

Cisco is calling for greater security diligence so that firms and individuals can enjoy the benefits of remote working without exposing their organisations to security risks. Security awareness and education are at least as important as technology in these efforts, Cisco notes. ®

*The reasons offered for squatting a neighbour’s wireless connection provide an insight into the thinking of remote workers. Answers offered in the survey included: “I needed it because I was in a bind”, “It’s more convenient than using my wireless connection”, “I can’t tell if I’m using my own or my neighbour’s wireless connection” and “My neighbour doesn’t know, so it’s OK”.

Source – The Register