BT on the way to creating two-tier internet, say critics
We recently reported that mobile service providers Everything Everywhere hadn't dismissed the idea of offering consumers a 'two tier' service, with customers having to pay more to receive particular types of content. It seems BT may be already heading in that direction.
According to the FT, BT is now looking to sell a service to broadband providers that allows them to determine the quality of streaming video available to customers. The Content Connect service is already used by BT to supply television customers with data-rich content such as BBC iPlayer.
The concern amongst critics is that this type of system goes against the principles of net neutrality, that allowing this sort of service to create a premium internet experience leads to a slippery slope of blocking swathes of online content. BT is dismissing the criticism, and instead suggests the system could be used by service providers to provide pay-per-view events, rather than upgrade (or degrade) streaming content.
The likes of the Open Rights Group aren't convinced, however. In a quote given to the FT, a spokesperson said: “BT’s plans have the potential to end up with a two-tier internet, with customers increasingly tied to bundled services [from broadband providers], and a reduction in competition across the open internet.”