BT offers ‘fast-track’ for video and TV content

BT is offering a new service to allow faster and higher quality video streaming and downloading.

BT is unveiling a new service which will mean consumers will be able to get better quality video and TV content delivered to their homes even during peak times of internet congestion.

The new service "Content Connect" will allow BT and the broadband providers that use its network, to charge extra for a premium service in order to offer customers a better online experience.

The move is in response to the exponential growth in internet television and video services such as the BBC iPlayer and YouTube, said BT.

At the moment this type of video traffic must travel through congested internet networks, said BT, but Content Connect is able to bypass the usual networks. Instead, video content goes through a new BT system to the customer's local exchange.

This new routing means that users will be able to get high quality content in their homes even at peak times of internet congestion.

However, digital campaign group the Open Rights Group warned that BT's new service could threaten net neutrality, or the idea that all internet traffic is equal.

"BT's plans have the potential to end up with a two-tier internet, with customers increasingly tied to bundled services [from broadband providers], and a reduction in competition across the open internet," Jim Killock, executive director of the Open Rights Group, told the Financial Times.

BT rejected the idea that its new network could create a two-tier internet though. It argued that to improve the quality of video content consumed by customers, broadband providers now had a choice. They can opt for offering services based on Content Connect or can improve their customers' experience by offering faster download speeds.

BT added in a statement: "BT supports the concept of net neutrality but believes that service providers should also be free to strike commercial deals should content owners want a higher quality or assured service delivery."

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