Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Kafka-esque threat to IP video business

A strange story that could almost have been written by Kaftka comes from the Register on the importance of bandwidth caps on Internet services.
John Stith, a Comcast subscriber in Colorado, has had bizarre conversations with his Internet service provider (ISP), who says don't go over the download limit or we will cut you off without notice. What's the limit? We can't tell you? What's your name? I can't say. Can I speak to a supervisor? No. When he complains, he is told it's a prank call, then that it's not policy, but then is referred to the 'security' department who give him the same threat to cut him off.
Why does this matter? Because IP video sees this route to homes through the ISP as a new route for video distribution - see the stories on here from IBC in September form companies like Amino. Not only do the ISPs have a cap (which stops the video model) but those with 'unlimited' internet have invisible caps.
You could argue that this is in the fair use policy, but one large and growing part of the industry (Google, Youtube, Apple TV, TivO et al) are all pushing exactly this capability, which will come head to head with the service providers before long.

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