Foxtel Wants ISPs Not To Charge For Downloads

Foxtel Wants ISPs Not To Charge For Downloads

The most surprising aspect of yesterday’s Foxtel download service announcement was that Foxtel hadn’t stitched up a deal with BigPond (or another ISP) to offer cap-free downloads. It turns out that Foxtel has a simpler strategy in mind: begging ISPs not to do it.

Any download-based service in Australia has to grapple with the challenge of convincing users to give up part of their precious monthly download allocation to grab TV shows and movies. The most successful local examples tend to achieve that by partnering with an ISP to offer cap-free (unmetered) downloads, a strategy used by multiple ISPs with the ABC’s iView service, by iiNet with iTunes and by BigPond with its eponymous movies and music services.

Foxtel, however, hasn’t taken that approach yet. Instead, as Geoff Elliot at the Australian reports, CEO Kim Williams is hoping that ISPs can be convinced to not include those charges without the hassle of formal negotiations (or, as the Oz puts it, “hoping pressure will mount on the telcos”).

Foxtel might have some technical grounds for that approach:

Mr Williams told The Australian that Foxtel’s movie download service would operate from discrete servers located in Australia. That is expected to give Foxtel a firm hand in discussions on the download-cap issue, since the data-carriage cost is marginal for the telcos.

Not sourcing content from overseas does eliminate one of the main reasons for download caps: the relatively high cost of accessing data from offshore, rather than just sending it around Australian networks. However, as the ABC’s experience demonstrates, there’s still a good deal of negotiation and discussion required before a cap-free service can be offered even with locally hosted content. Furthermore, even when one is in place, glitches can occur, and complaints are likely to be louder when that happens given that Foxtel is a subscription service, unlike the ABC.

Are you going to hold back on Foxtel downloads until a deal is in place, or does the existence of YouTube, iView and Channel BT mean that the whole scenario is irrelevant anyway? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Foxtel tackles telcos on movies: download limits [The Australian]



    But in all seriousness. . . I would have thought Telstra would have offered unmetered usage for Foxtel content. After all, you can combine your Telstra, Bigpond and Foxtel bills.
    I thought Telstra and Foxtel were in each others pockets.

    But surely Foxtel knew about Australias download limitations before deciding on this venture.
    Aaaaand. . . anyone who has a big enough monthly quota to be able to download Foxtel content more than likely just downloads it from channel BitTorrent.

    Foxtel charge through the nose for their pay tv service, they charge for downloading content, but they want ISP’s to just let them be unmetered? Greedy!
    The difference with ABC is theyre all free and ISP’s treat it like a charity for them. Theyre happy to help out the ABC.
    But Foxtel? Theyre a money making machine rip off machine. ISP’s arent going to just let them do it for free.
    But no doubt the extra cost will be lumped onto the customer.

    *note to all*
    Dump Foxtel!
    The money you save each month you can use for a decent internet plan and watch everything that way.

  • The common room in my apartment complex got foxtel installed, I thought i’d go check it out.


    Will never. Ever. Spend money on foxtel. Bring on the NBN and the rise of alternate IPTV providers!

  • Warcroft, I really don’t understand your statement that Foxtel are “greedy!” – are you saying that companies that have websites that offer content should pay Australian ISPs to deliver that content to their users?? Even though the users are already paying a large amount to the ISPs for the privilege of capped downloads?

    Foxtel are saying that they are making it as easy as possible on the ISPs (by placing their content servers throughout Australia), and that it is now up to the ISPs whether they charge for that or not. I think that’s fair enough.

    I for one am happy that Foxtel have added this service to my account for no extra cost!

    • Greedy, yes.
      Because they want ISP’s to make their content free to download (no usage accrued) on their plans.
      If Foxtel want this to happen they need to pay the ISP’s for the privileged. Especially if Foxtel are making this content available to their paying customers.
      The ISP’s will want some sort of payment from Foxtel for making the content available on their network.
      Why should the ISP’s do this for free?

      • Ummm, ISPs would want to do it for free cause it could potentially increase their market share if they offer it! The small cost of data could be outweighed by increase in customers.

        Thats how business usually works.

    • Richard, there’s two problems with your analogy:
      1) websites are free to users, but Foxtel charges $40-100/month, and
      2) users have to pay the ISP to view webpages (in the form of quota usage), whereas Foxtel want ISPs to provide gigabytes of data quota-free.

      Can you see why ISPs might not be happy about incurring extra terabytes of bandwidth costs with no compensation, while Foxtel collects all the money instead?

      • I didn’t actually give an analogy!

        I have a broadband account with an ISP that I pay to access the internet – WHATEVER content that may be!

        There are lots of sites out there that you have to pay for their content, and there are lots that are free, but that is beside the point. Do you expect YouTube to pay Aussie ISPs for Australian users accessing their site? I know you are going to say “yeah, but YouTube is free”, but YouTube makes its money from advertising revenue rather than subscription, but it is still making money while the ISPs have to pipe the video to you – and in this case from servers located outside of Aus!

        People have to realise that it is not content providers fault that ISPs in this country have quotas (which don’t exist – or are much more generous – in other countries).

        Start voicing anger at the ISPs, not content providers!

      • But Richard, youre still not getting it.
        Watching/downloading clips on YouTube gets counted towards your monthly quota. So customers are paying their ISP for that usage.

        Foxtel want their service to be made available to customers for free. To NOT be counted towards the customers monthly quota.

        The vast majority of broadband users have crap low monthly quotas.
        Unless Foxtel data is made free for people to download then the service isnt going to be all that successful. Especially when 1GB of excess data can cost a customer an extra $150.

  • And this is a shock to anyone? There is little or no competition in Australia so I’m not surprised by this at all. Especially since Telstra owns something like 50% of Foxtel/Austar.

  • The whole scenario is irrelvant anyway. I watch media on a LCD screen in the lounge using a keyboard to zoom around whatever I want to watch, whenever I want to watch.

    When are the content providers going to get with the times and replace Channel BT (in terms of quality and simpleness (mkv, 720p x264 encoded video, multi-channel audio) with some sort of paid service? iTunes fails still as the quality, quantity and use ability is below Channel BT (actually Usenet..)

  • They should make it unmetered this will stop some(yea i know not all) torrents. But with all this crap about you can only watch them on foxtel player, one movie = 1300MB, content expires, blah blah blah. I’ll just stick to the sites i know where I can watch all the tv shows for free, and if you know how to find ur temp files you can save them before you log off. You get a movie from torrents, last time i heard it was as little as 700MB for a movie, why spend twice that much bandwidth? Like i said I’ll just stick to surfthechannel, they seem to be above board, they even advertised their website on the radio, so it must be legal, and i get to whatch the shows before its on foxtel even.

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