BT hopes Canvas will diffuse iPlayer row

By Andrew Laughlin

BT is looking to Project Canvas as a way to diffuse a dispute with the BBC over online video usage.

The broadcaster recently noted that BT was throttling video streaming speeds on its lowest broadband package, and accused the telco of not making this clear enough in their sales collateral.

In response, a BT spokesman told the Independent that the telecoms giant "can't give these companies a free ride any more".

"Bandwidth costs money and files like movies and music take up a lot of that. The situation at the moment is that the internet service provider picks up the tab," he added.

The BBC currently pays content delivery networks to place its videos on the internet, which are then delivered to users by ISPs.

It has been suggested that BT is searching for ways to monetise this process by either establishing its own CDN or charging content providers in some way.

As a joint venture between BT, the BBC and ITV, Project Canvas is an initiative working towards developing a new agreed platform for online video delivery.

Speaking to Digital Spy today, BT spokesman Mike Jarvis pointed out that the project is a "good demonstration of how everybody can get around the table and agree a way forward whereby costs are shared and everybody achieves their business objectives".

He added: "So really it is a very good model of what can happen if everybody is around the table to have a serious commercial discussion about the way forward.

"Obviously we are partnered with the BBC and ITV in that project. So that is very much what we would see as a good model of cooperation."

Jarvis also said negotiations are "still ongoing" with content providers, including the BBC, and claimed that this row is "just paper stuff".