I was lucky enough to visit the offices of Plus.net, the Sheffield-based ISP, this morning, where the products director Neil Armstrong kindly spent some time explaining how the major ISP handles its traffic at peak times.
The logistics of shepherding IP traffic efficiently in the right direction all the time (and not just at peak times) is a technical nightmare, but one thing that did stand out in Neil's graphs, and that was the fact that iPlayer is placing a very heavy load indeed on Plus.net - and all ISP's - systems.
Outside of peak hours (4pm to 9pm-ish on weekdays) this isn't a major problem, but it's clearly an issue for any ISP at peak times, and it's an issue that will, I predict, get worse.
Plus.net is fortunate enough to have reworked its packages last year to offer residential monthly usage deals, so heavy users of t'Internet can opt to pay extra for better access then their peers at peak times.
Reading between the lines, however, reveals that more people are using streamed TV services on their desktops and portable devices and, whether we all like it or not, we'll all have to pay extra for these services in the longer run, no matter which ISP we're with.
I think the BBC may have lit the blue touch paper on future bandwidth issues for us all.
I hope I'm wrong, but...