Faster video downloads?

BT is launching a service that could let broadband providers charge content owners for better quality distribution.

According to a Financial Times interview with head of BT Wholesale Sally Davis, the telco is to launch a wholesale product to broadband providers called Content Connect.

This will allow ISPs to provide users with more reliable access to content that requires higher bandwidth, such as video.

The move could see broadband providers charging content companies for the better distribution of their content and goes against arguments for net neutrality, the idea that all web traffic should be treated the same.

Some ISPs have been arguing for the two-tier system as certain websites, such as YouTube and BBC iPlayer, get such a large amount of traffic.

The service, offered by BT’s wholesale division, is based on a new content distribution network built by BT that stores video content closer to the user, reducing congestion on the network and speeding up load times.

BT retail – a separate division of BT – will begin to use the service to deliver BBC iPlayer content on its BT Vision TV service within the next few months.

“It will cache iPlayer content closer to customers on the network, allowing for the content to be delivered to customers in a more efficient and cost-effective way, as well as improving the overall viewing experience,” a BT spokesperson told BBC News.

“The Content Connect service will also be available to all UK ISPs within the same timescales.”

The spokesperson said that BT would not throttle or discriminate against other video services on the network, but did not rule out that ISPs using the network could do so.

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