BBC faces ISP storm as it ports iPlayer hosting to Level 3

The BBC has quietly slashed its hosting cost for the iPlayer service by moving from Akamai to Level 3.

Unfortunately for many ISPs whose punters download/stream iPlayer material, however, whereas Akamai offers full reciprocal data feeds (i.e. open peering) with all UK ISPs, Level 3 charges for many of its services.

The problem, it seems, is that Level 3 charges a number of smaller ISPs for nett data transfers from its network.

As Thinkbroadband puts it: "This may not seem significant to the average user, but in reality this is likely to increase the costs for small and medium sized service providers due to the way traffic on the Internet is exchanged."

Level 3 will only open peer with another major ISP. If you're a smaller ISP - tough - you have to pay a modest fee per megabyte for data relayed from Level 3's servers.

My own guess is that smaller ISPs may start throttling access to the iPlayer feeds until they can resolve the situation. This isn't good, but you can understand why the BBC has moved its hosting facilities...