Friday, 6 June 2008

BBC Televison streamed on Internet - can New Zealand handle it?

BBC1 will be web-streamed live through as of next year, according to the broadcaster’s director general Mark Thompson.

The move was announced yesterday in the BBC's annual statements of programme policy. Speaking about the decision, Thompson said, “Building on the success of the iPlayer, we want to develop to include a broad range of the BBC's broadcast content, as well as new and interactive forms of media that enable audiences to interact with and contribute to the website."

The 2008/9 plan also includes plans for a common standards in IPTV courtesy of a dynamic underlying architecture and a new identity, rating and recommendation system which will form the basis for personalisation on all platforms.

These are seriously interesting statements, and are part of the BBC's annual Statements of Programme Policy (SoPPs) 2008, The Future Media" section starts on page 51 of the PDF.

The UK Broadband
This content plan is best read in conjunction with a wider appreciation of the UK broadband scene. For example, in a recent BBC survey of UK broadband rates it was reported that London's broadband users can go online at average speeds nearly twice those in Wales and Northern Ireland.

The survey analysed speed tests from the last two months in 6,000 UK locations and found the average speed to be 3.2 megabits per second (Mbps). London's average speed was 4.5 Mbps, but in Northern Ireland it was 2.3. Rural areas generally fared worse than towns, with telephone line lengths and lack of access to cable being blamed. In Wales the average figure was 2.6Mbps and in Scotland 2.9 Mbps.

City Networks - Dundee
There are also some interesting city broadband trials with this story from Dundee coming up tops - it tells of University students at Dundee University getting broadband speeds of 45Mbps. Check here for more.

Back in New Zealand
Back here in New Zealand I am astonished to be able to report that a recent change of broadband plan is getting me speeds almost, but not quite, parallel to the Scottish results of 2.6 Mbps.

This still means that my 2.5mbps is almost half what I could be getting in London, it still means a seriously better offer than I had before with Telecom.

My new provider is Orcon [aka Kordia] They recently upgraded the number of local exchanges they were able to offer the new upgraded broadband serivice, ADSL2. My local exchange in the city was one of them, so I was in there like a robber dog.

Two weeks later I have a new wireless ADSL2 router, which was a breeze to configure [just give it the account name and password ] as well as an automatic home wireless zone.

The latter was little harder to set-up, and needed some tweaking. It's fine if you know what you are doing - but I suspect a little daunting if you are nervous around adjusting router settings.

That said, it has to be said that the service was a dream - and the outcome more than satisfactory, especially as part of the plan I chose gives me unlimited toll calls to the UK.

Vodafone NZ
And just off the press is the latest from Vodafone NZ, who are also offering ADSL2 as part of their reach into the domestic and SME broadband market.

Curiously, the BBC news came on the same day that Kordia has scaled back their plans for IPTV. The report I saw, cited concerns around the business case and an unwillingness to take risk around an unproven market. Given that Kordia is a state owned enterprise this is probably a good thing, but it does beg the question when and how are we going to see some traction around other New Zealand video content?

In the meantime, until the BBC start streaming to me I continue to trawl the IP pathways looking for strange talking heads who just might know what the future has in store, mostly because they are in the business of building it.

My latest example is this clip from the OII, [Oxford Internet Institute]. This is going straight on the ipod for the weekend. Who says I need to get out more!

Is the Future of the Internet the Future of Knowledge?
Lawrence M. Sanger (co-founder of Wikipedia and founder of Citizendium) and Andrew Keen (prominent critic of the Internet as a means of acquiring knowledge, and author of 'The Cult of the Amateur') discuss issues of legitimacy, credibility, regulation and censorship on the Internet.

Postscript: a UK spike on my webstats alerted me that this post had been picked up by the BBC Internet blog  - and was now on their del page


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