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Ofcom Suggests £36 Yearly Fee For BBC iPlayer & VOD Services

A report published by telecommunications watchdog Ofcom is the clearest indication yet that UK could be heading towards a UK broadband sector devoid of the notion of net-neutrality.

The fourth edition of the technology research programme document published by Ofcom and entitled "Converged Communications in Tomorrow's World" reckons that " In the case of extreme traffic demands, the costs to do this [delivering services such as video-on-demand] might be in the region of £1 to £3 per household per month on top of existing Internet Service Provider (ISP) subscriptions; however, given the increase in value of the data consumed in the home this increase in price might be acceptable".

The last few words, coming from the independent regulator and competition authority for the UK communications industries is the clearest indication that charging extra for "premium" services like video on demand is acceptable.

The £36 per year would be equivalent to an annual toll fee which will let customers get prioritised bandwidth for time-sensitive content like VoIP, video on demand and gaming.

The revenue generated by this additional "broadband tax" would be used to upgrade the existing network. Many BBC's Project Canvas, to be the catalyst that could bring UK's broadband infrastructure to its knees as millions choose to view television via broadband and not through the normal broadcast channels.

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In related news, the BBC Trust has delayed its second hearing on its Canvas project, which is a partnership between BBC, BT and ITV to launch a broadband based video on demand set top box solution. Ironically, BT has made it clear in the past few days that free video on demand services are putting undue strain on the network and should be charged.

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