S07E02 - Cord cutting and media unbundling

This week the team are amazed at the way media consumption - driven by 'cord cutters' using services like Netflix - dominate use of both mobile and fixed-line broadband connections.

If streaming media is now the primary use for mobile networks in some circumstances will they be able to cope? Can they sustain the service they offer? And how does the team's usage mirror a recent survey?

Ben: Hello and welcome to the 361 podcast season 7, episode 2. My name is Ben Smith from Wireless Worker.

Ewan: I’m Ewan from Mobile Industry Review.

Rafe: And I’m Rafe from the All About sites.

Ben: Welcome back, gents. Season 7… new kit, new recording studio. A good episode last week?

Ewan: I thought so.

Ben: We enjoyed talking about networks. I think it’s going to be a new format we’re trying out for season 7. We’re going to focus on topics and things. So before we get on to this week’s show, are there any updates from you guys?

Ewan: I just want to say that I’m looking forward to getting a SIM from Simwood. So on record, Mr. Lane, I want a SIM; I want to try all this stuff out.

Ben: We’re all about the new toys. Rafe Blandford?

Rafe: I went to a ‘Digital Summer’ event in the last week or so and that was an opportunity to see all of the usual companies showing off their wares to a whole bunch of journalists in one go. I got various goodies to try out, including self-cleaning cases and battery connectors that have a new type iPad connector and iPhone connector, plus the usual bits. We’re going to try some of those out and report back. Towards the end of the season we might have a look at some of the gadgets that we’ve picked up recently, and see if we can make any recommendations to our audience.

Ben: Yeah, absolutely. We’re going to do a good kit guide before the end of season 7. So now is a great time to tweet us at 361podcast or go onto the website 361podcast.com and use the tools there. Tell us your good kit that should be in our good kit guide.

Ewan: Let’s move, let’s move, come on!

Ben: Rafe Blandford, what is this week’s topic?

Rafe: This week we thought we’d talk about media unbundling. What we mean by this is anything that you might consume content-wise. Obviously there’s a big mobile element to this, but traditionally we’ve had it delivered to us in bundles. Now there is an opportunity to move away from that.

Quad play used to be a big thing for mobile operators and other content providers, but I thought we might talk through some of the ways that you can do it, our own personal experiences, and the decisions we made to get there.

Ewan: I’m looking forward to seeing what you’ve got to say.

Ben: This week’s guest is not a guest. Actually it’s a really interesting blog post that I was reading. It will be linked in the show notes, so get to 361podcast.com and you’ll be able to find a link there. It’s by a company called Sandvine.

Ewan: Did you get that from me? I wrote about that.

Ben: For 361 podcast?

Ewan: For Mobile Industry Review.

Ben: I’m honestly not sure. The whole reason for talking about it this week is that I thought when I was reading this report that we might have reached some kind of tipping point. It’s some kind of important point. I want read the whole thing, so here’s the stats you need to know.

It’s about people who give up on traditional media, satellite, cable services, and those sorts of things.

Ewan: Such as Sky TV.

Ben: Sky, or Virgin in the U.K., or the cable providers in the U.S., or perhaps in other cases giving up on all broadcast TV. You get rid of your TV license.

Rafe: They’re commonly known as cord cutters, and this is version 2 because a lot of people have already done this for their phone service. They just have a mobile. But now we’re seeing people do it…

Ewan: For the Sky broadcasts.

Rafe: … for their television consumption as well.

Ben: Rafe Blandford and cord cutters, get ready for some stats. North American subscribers who exhibit cord-cutting behavior are the top 15th percentile of video users. They are absolutely dominating the North American ISPs. They consume on average 212 gigabytes of data a month at more than 7 times the 29 gigabytes that a normal subscriber uses. They view the equivalent of 100 hours of video each month, and they account for the majority, 54 percent, of total traffic on networks.

Ewan: Media consumption?

Ben: Yeah, media consumption. Specifically where we are in the U.K. and Ireland, Netflix is now the second largest source of traffic between the peak evening hours, accounting for 17.8 percent of downstream traffic.

The availability of high rate, super HD content to all Netflix consumers in North American increased Netflix’s peak downstream share from 31.6 to 34.2 percent. Amazon Video is also coming up, although that only accounts for around 2 percent. It’s a ton of numbers, but I think what struck me is I had no idea that people viewing TV over the Internet, particularly over wireless subscriptions as well -- that is the primary use for some ISPs. I was amazed.

Ewan: I find myself on the bus, I take the bus from Waterloo…

Ben: I find that hard to believe.

Ewan: I’ll tell you why. From Waterloo up to Angel is about the same time, depending on the time you go, and that gives me 40 minutes to do my emails on the bus, because you can’t do them on the tube. But more and more I’ve been using it for Netflix. So I’ll sit there and bring up an episode of Breaking Bad. And because I’ve got 4G on a Vodafone, I haven’t yet had the thing saying you’ve gone over your limit. Not yet. I’ve been doing that daily now and it’s a complete change in how I’m consuming media.

Rafe: Does this mean you need, let’s say I’m making notes, do you have two windows open at the same time to watch your video and do your email? Would you use that?

Ewan: Yes, I would, because it’s quite annoying when someone then sends me a message. I’ll watch that, for example, I have [inaudible 00:06:14] keep doing it. But I used to download, I used to pay iTunes 2 quid or whatever for a video and then download it. That was because the network couldn’t cope with it. But now because it can, I’m using it that way. It’s like an autoway. You build another land that’s amazing and then all of a sudden everyone uses it.

Ben: Are we core-cutters around this table? Rafe, you have telly.

Rafe: I do have a telly. I’m a core-cutter in one sense. I don’t use the land line anymore. I’ve actually recently signed up for a Sky bundle because it was cheaper than trying to get all the separate options of having Netflix and Amazon. It actually came down to if I wanted to have broadband, which is kind of necessary at the moment for this kind of consumption because if you’re trying to do it via mobile you’ll go over your tariff… It’s fine if you’re commuting but not at home. So once I was paying line rental and paying for a basic ISP package, it was only a little bit extra to have the TV as well. So I said I might as well have the TV.

Ewan: What package have you got?

Rafe: I can’t remember the exact makeup of it, but essentially I get a phone line that I don’t use, a broadband connection which I do use, and some Sky channels. And part of it was it gave me a Sky box with the DVR so I could record stuff and time shift it.

Ewan: Do you use that?

Rafe: I do but interestingly, the bit I use the most of it is the Sky on-demand service, which is actually effectively cord-cutting because I’m not using it in the broadcast way. I’m downloading it and then watching it.

Ewan: Internet, basically.

Rafe: The Internet. And I also use Amazon Instant Video, I’m a Prime subscriber. I didn’t buy it for that, I had it for the free Amazon delivery and it was a nice extra. Some people complained about that.

I looked at Netflix and I wasn’t using it enough. I think I may well go back to it if I want more content. But the U.K. is an unusual market in that Sky is quite dominant in that cable-satellite space. You can get quite attractively priced packages, particularly compared to the U.S. where the sports tends to be a lot more expensive and the movies are quite expensive. So I think the economic imperative in the U.K. isn’t the same. That’s partly because our public broadcaster, the BBC, provides so much as well.

Ewan: I’ve got Sky at home. My wife and I, neither of us watches anything live. Our children sometimes watch the CBeebies stuff live, the children’s stuff. I use Netflix a lot. I use Amazon Prime Video less but I subscribe to it as well. I still buy on iTunes now and again, but more or less… I’ve just been looking carefully at the Sky usage and the only thing I get from Sky that is of any value to me is the Sky Go subscription which I pay an extra 5 per month for, so I can download Game of Thrones every week. That’s the only value I feel I’m getting from that. So I’m looking very carefully at either killing or reducing the Sky subscription. I don’t think I get any value from it.

I’m a massive Netflix user, so much now that my wife and I have separate Netflix profiles. We find that quite useful.

Ben: When I was reading this report, first of all I was amazed that these huge numbers, in some cases ISPs… Actually, if you look at mobile networks as well it’s even more true for some mobile networks. They are not mobile networks if you look at their primary task; they are video distribution.

Rafe: Let’s give you the stat on 2015. The prediction is that 80 percent of the traffic over mobile networks with be video on demand services.

Ben: Which is amazing! And I thought a moment, why am I amazed by this? I think I mentioned this on the podcast before, but two years ago we moved house. And as you do when you get all your services, it was a house that didn’t have a satellite dish. It’s a new house and there’s no cable service.

So we went for months without, because you have to wait for the guy to come round and install it. But in the meantime we got into this habit where in our house we only watch catch-up TV over the Internet. So I’m in this ludicrous position now of having bought a really high-end TV which sits in my living room, connected to a satellite dish which is live. It’s all cabled up, ready for HD, ready for Sky, the operator I’d have to buy it from. Okay. I never use it. Literally since the day I bought the telly it’s been turned on once. And we sit in our kitchen having dinner or chatting or whatever…

Ewan: With the wine open?

Ben: Often we have wine; you know me well. We’re watching telly on an iPad.

Ewan: By the way, what about iPlayer? BBC iPlayer?

Ben: We use iPlayer, Amazon Instant… and actually, we haven’t signed up for Netflix. We’re thinking of signing up for Netflix. Out telly is more incidental, watch what’s available.

Ewan: Have you got an Apple TV?

Ben: No.

Ewan: Rafe?

Rafe: I don’t have an Apple TV.

Ewan: I have an Apple TV and that’s how I watch Netflix, through the TV.

Rafe: But I do have a TV that accepts all sorts of connections because it’s a fairly recent model. It does uPNP. It does MirrorSync, which will take stuff off a tablet or Android or Windows device and put it back up for viewing.

Ewan: Even by a Samsung?

Ben: A windows phone device?

Rafe: It will. So I’m not in the Apple ecosystem, but if I was, I almost certainly would have and Apple TV. The reason I use it is just because it’s a bigger screen and therefore slightly higher quality. But I do find myself using a tablet device for consuming media, and it’s almost exclusively within the home environment. I haven’t gotten into Ewan’s pattern of watching it on the move.

Ewan: I actually got to the point where… We were watching Britain’s Got Talent, so I can chat to people in the office about what’s going on.

Ben: You disappoint me, you really do.

Ewan: Why? We fast-forward through it. But actually I force my wife… I’m not sure if I should be telling you this. I force my wife to stop fast-forwarding through a bit of it so we can see the adverts. Because actually when people say, “Have you seen that advert?” I say, “No.” I haven’t seen anything because I haven’t watched it. Even if I saw an advert, I’m fast-forwarding through it. So because Britain’s Got Talent is the Saturday night big extravaganza, it’s quite useful to watch the adverts just to see what the zeitgeist is.

So that is the only value that I’m getting from my Sky subscription, that we can pause the skipping so I can watch the ads. Actually what we’ve started doing is fast-forwarding through the ads and I’ll say, “Stop! I want to watch that one.” I want to see how the operators present themselves or how some technology companies present themselves to the consumers who are still watching it live. But there’s limited value there.

Rafe: I’ve just been prompted by an audience member who we’ve got in the recording studio to mention Chromecast. Actually it’s really important. It’s low cost, it plugs into your HDMI port, and that’s for all the Android devices. It makes this shifting onto the screen very seamless. It’s set up very cleverly as well in that it actually takes over and does the streaming so that it doesn’t put resource constraints on the device. That kind of experience of making a dumb screen smart is also all part of this core-cutting behavior.

Ewan: What about music? We should talk about music. Spotify, anybody?

Ben: I used to use Spotify when it was free. I think it is subscription only now. I used it with ads occasionally. I don’t listen to tons of it; normally I listen to streaming radio. When I listen to music I’ll just find a traditional broadcaster and then listen to their streaming.

Ewan: An their rubbish adverts?

Ben: Sometimes, but obviously the BBC and broadcasters like that don’t have adverts.

Rafe: I think the profile that Ben is looking for is the PBS…

Ewan: Or NPR.

Rafe: Radio 4 or Radio 6.

Ben: There’s a French radio station available and we stream it through our Sonos system. And it’s got all the ‘80s and pop hits and things that Mrs. Smith likes on there, but occasionally with French announcements. The nice thing about cord-cutting and bundling is that you’re no longer restricted to buying in your home market.

I think the thing that struck me about these numbers is the extent to which mobile usage is driving this stuff. And there will come a point where surely broadcast is redundant. People will do the sort of thing I did the other night, which is I realized the thing I wanted to watch wasn’t on catch-up TV yet because it was being broadcast, and I just watched it live stream.

Ewan: If I know something is live, I will do the iPlayer or watch it live stream, but often I’ll just wait because I don’t want to watch it live. I want the facility to watch it on the train or elsewhere.

Ben: The thing that worries me, Rafe, is last week we talked about networks. Do I want to trust my entertainment experience to the same network that can’t seem to get me a data connection fast enough to do email between that station where I live and the one down the road?

Rafe: It’s a good point because there is a quality of service element here that you actually do need a certain amount of bandwidth for this to work properly. Actually, there’s a limitation on how much can go over a wireless network and some cells in urban areas are already at saturation point.

This is why we have seen, in the U.K. and elsewhere, some of these networks dial down their quotas and be more aggressive about the pricing of data.

I think we have to be somewhat cautious here. The three of us are all edge-cases and we are kind of on the edge of what is normal behavior.

Ewan: Super uber-geeks.

Rafe: I don’t think broadcast will ever go away simply because it’s a very efficient way of putting out mass content. I’d be one to wonder whether the boxes will get smarter about recording stuff automatically and certainly the Tivo approach that does that kind of thing is quite interesting.

You can’t help but feel that the on-demand stuff is more efficient and fits better. We’ve seen it with music. People don’t buy CDs in the same way they did anymore. That’s the way the market is going, with Spotify getting to 10 million subscribers.

Ewan: How do you react to Vodafone here in the U.K. when they introduced their very stupid expensive 4G tariffs that I am a very disappointed subscriber to, since I realized how stupidly expensive it is.

Ben: Ewan MacLeod, the man who will sign up and will complain about it.

Ewan: As long as you’re paying, you can complain, right?

Ben: Insert complaint here.

Ewan: Wait, I want to ask your opinion on Vodafone data. Vodafone has said if you are a 4G subscriber, you can have Spotify or someone else, I can’t remember what the other thing is…

Ben: Netflix.

Ewan: No, no.

Rafe: Sky Sports Gold?

Ewan: That’s right, Sky Sports something or other, yeah. Or you can have Spotify, for the year, for as long as your contract. I already have a Spotify account, so I keep getting a text from Vodafone saying you haven’t taken out your Spotify thing. They’ve just launched Netflix.

Ben: I think it’s smart because now you bring your media with you. First of all, you used to watch broadcast telly and you could only watch broadcast when you had signed up for a subscription, and you’d been held to ransom by the rights holder. For example, in the U.K. you had paid Sky for all of their premium TV packages so that you could get the shows that you wanted, because they had the rights to them. You could only view at the times they were broadcast, or you could pay extra for their DVR service. It was extra, extra, extra, extra.

But now I can sign up to all of these different streaming services. The prices are such that they’re quite small.

Ewan: They’re quite accessible.

Ben: They’re quite accessible, they’re quite small. This was probably pioneered by people who were downloading stuff over UseNet before. It was people pirating content, but what they were showing was that you can find a way around this distribution path.

Ewan: There’s a demand for it.

Ben: So now you’ve got Netflix on your phone, you bring it with you wherever you go. You can watch it anytime you like on your device. You might use a Chromecast or an Apple TV or a smart TV…

Ewan: To access it.

Ben: To beam it to one screen or another. Or you might sit on the bus and watch it. But now all of a sudden you don’t go to the place where the media is. For example, if I stay at a hotel, I now don’t bother to check if they’ve got any decent telly channels or anything like that.

Ewan: It doesn’t matter.

Ben: It doesn’t matter. I actually have a Chromecast that I haven’t used. I could in theory go and play it in Chromecast. Or I’ve stayed in some really smart hotels that have connections underneath the telly. You plug in.

Rafe: I’m interested in this from a behavior point of view. By unbundling this content you do actually change the way that people watch it. There’s the obvious stuff about people not looking at ads, but there’s also the binge consumption that you get, where people will watch an entire season of TV in a week because they’ve been recommended it by a friend.

I think that’s quite interesting as well because it moves away from content being event-based. You still see that used as a marketing tool by a lot of the broadcasters who say “This week Game of Thrones starts” or “Monday night is Game of Thrones night.” But we’re seeing some of these players who have been disrupted are producing their own content.

The best example of this is House of Cards on Netflix. The event became a single day at which an entire season became available. There were stories, probably quite accurate, of people waiting for it to appear and then watching the entire season in one go.

Ewan: You may think that, but I couldn’t possible comment.

Rafe: You couldn’t have put it better, Ewan.

Ben: I want to move the conversation on. From a consumer’s point of view it feels great. There’s more choice, I have the ability to sign up to the various services I want, and because some of these services are challengers, like the Netflix and things like that, you could have three or four of those for the cost of a single satellite or cable subscription, particularly in the U.K.

Ewan: Or a DVD series.

Ben: Or a DVD series. That’s all great that we now have this great choice, but you, Mr. MacLeod, watching your Game of Thrones on the number 43 bus or whatever it is, you are the reason that I can’t get my email outside of Waterloo station. Or more importantly, when I’m going to a meeting and I’m trying to use Google maps to find the customer’s office, it’s dog-dog slow. And it’s your fault because your video has…

Ewan: I have screamed about this in the past. I’m sure there is a podcast where I was being very annoyed walking… I actually sat on a bus and the teenagers in front of me were streaming YouTube. And I was really annoyed by that. I was offended by that because they’d obviously gotten the network connection ahead of me, and my connection was rubbish.

But isn’t it interesting that Vodafone are now… it’s not just that they’re saying you can’t use your 4G connection for whatever you want, they’re saying, “Here, have Spotify” or “Here, have Netflix.” Obviously you can use your Netflix subscription at home and I’m sure they’re hoping, given the fact that the default subscription… They have this 8Gig data but you can’t do much with your Netflix subscription with 8 gigabytes. So I think they’re assuming most people will be using their Netflix subscription via wired connection. But it is interesting that Vodafone are actually giving that a seal of approval.

Rafe: The way this gets interesting is that some of these services providers are actually having the data bundled in. The operator actually owns the service. There’s a couple of examples in France where you get inclusive data. That, of course, encourages more usage. I think that’s a pattern that we can potentially see.

This is a very hot topic. We step into the mine field as we mention the net neutrality word. It’s actually almost more relevant on mobile where there is this feeling of real constriction. People tend to think about data as something that just appears magically and it’s annoying because it’s slow. But actually with mobile it is quite a finite resource.

On a wired, fixed line there is an awful lot of capacity there. You can upgrade to fiber and that helps a lot, but on mobile you’re talking about spectrum, the amount of frequency space you have. Even if you come up with new compression technologies and do clever things with the network, you can only fit so much in. I think that will become the new story and the new pain point, as this kind of behavior of high bandwidth consumption activities, of which video is the most obvious example, really start to degrade the performance of the network.

The switchover to 3G will look pleasant by comparison. There’s a real problem here and it’s partly to do with the way the regulatory systems have worked in various countries as to how much frequency has been specified. And it’s why people, in the industry at least, have started to talk about 5G. That’s the only kind of solution, to move on to the next thing.

Ewan: So right now I’m on the bus and the Netflix…

Ben: You are not; you’re in the studio next to me.

Ewan: Okay, in a theoretical example I’m on the bus and I am having a great experience with Netflix at the moment. In fact the only time I’ve had a rubbish experience with Netflix on the bus is when I mistakenly left my Wi-Fi on. The idiot phone and the operating system and the operator were connecting me to the cloud, the BT Wi-Fi, off and on, off and on. What rubbish! I actually physically switched the Wi-Fi off and said I’ll look at this off your bandwidth, please. I was talking to an operator. In two years’ time do you think we’ll be saying, “Remember when you could actually stream Netflix on the bus?”

Ben: This is what worries me.

Ewan: Because Vodafone are about to go wide, and everybody in the country is going “Yeah! You can get Netflix now!”

Ben: This is the madness. This is unlimited data all over again. Do you remember when I got sort of animated about unlimited data?

Rafe: (Laughs) That’s a polite way to put it.

Ben: This is the marketing guys thinking this thing will be cool. Undeniably, watching Netflix premium telly on my iPad on the train is cool. That is taking…

Ewan: And that’s what 4G is for.

Ben: Right. It’s taking away all the pain points; I can have whatever I want wherever I want. It’s quite a good price and it’s included in my subscription. Brilliant!

            But the problem is they’re running towards a wall. So it’s like unlimited data. You can say Ha! Have this thing! But at some point you sell it to enough people and it becomes popular enough and works well enough, it becomes cheap enough, that everybody has got it. And now no one can have it.

Ewan: The mess is going to be you could just go home and do it.

Ben: All those constraints that Rafe talked about are still there, and yet we’re at the point now where the majority use of these networks is video. I was amazed by that, 219 gigabytes of data!

Ewan: That sounds about right to me.

Ben: That is a fixed line environment, but if you were watching this stuff on the go as well, it’s tens and probably into the low hundreds of gigabytes in a month for video, easily if you’re watching itover 4G.

Rafe: Part of me wants to say that everybody in the rural area will be laughing because they’ve been crying that they haven’t got a fast wireless data connection. They’re still in 2G. Even in the U.K. there’s plenty of places where you get no or very poor phone signal.

I think it will be controlled with pricing. Ewan has talked about not worrying about the data allowance, but we’ve seen 3G come with strict tethering of data. I’m sure other operators will start to do the same thing.

Actually, I was looking at switching out an O2 account I have over to 4G. They said, “Oh, that’s fine. You can do that, Mr. Blandford, but you won’t have your grandfathered unlimited data on it. You’ll have to switch to having a limit of 1, 3, or 5 gigabytes. In the end I said, no, I don’t want to do that because the 3G which is operating on… it’s actually 3.5G and is plenty fast enough for what I want to do. It’s certainly fast enough for doing streaming of video. I don’t need 4G for it.

Ben: I think this issue…

Rafe: Consumers aren’t necessarily going to be that smart. The whole bill shock thing will happen again.

Ewan: No, it won’t happen. You could get annoyed that you’ve been cut off. Because I think the operators learned that you’re not going to get bill shock but you get annoyed that you’ve used it up so quickly.

Ben: In terms of rural areas, it will be the wireless networks, the mobile networks, that will get there first. Because replacing all the copper in the ground to some rural village, the Blandford Estate, is expensive and hard. It’s a pain that it’s not done and we all hmmpf and complain that it is tough that it’s not done, but you’ve got to dig up the road.

Putting up a cell tower and giving that village reasonable 3.5G, all of a sudden all of those people could access their Netflix on their iPads, on Chromecast into their TVs, and do that fairly quickly.

So I wonder if this issue isn’t going to become worse for the mobile operators because they are more present and able to offer those high enough speeds in more places.

Rafe: I think the 4G as a solution to the problem of the not-spots in the U.K. does make sense, because where that’s happening the networks don’t have to be very dense because they’re not sporting the same populations as they are in urban centers. I think this is going to be more of an urban problem rather than a rural problem.

But you can think of a lot of markets where wireless will become the default broadband provider. India is a good example. They’re just starting to roll out 4G networks there and this capacity crunch, it’s not an area particularly that I understand, but you have to imagine that its’ going to happen because there is a limit to the capacity and people are going to get annoyed when they have to start paying for it because they are used to effectively unlimited data. That’s the way they’ve been trained both by mobile operators to an extent, and particularly on the fixed line side as well.

Ewan: I was silent there because I was looking up the press release I got this morning from EE. I didn’t know about 3.6 million 4G subscribers. They’ve just completed the rollout of 4G to 2.5K villages and small towns across the U.K. I noticed that the other day because where I live in Hook, in Hampshire, all of a sudden I saw a 4G sign on my EE thing, that was 3G. That’s really good, that’s two and half thousand small towns and villages that now have 4G. Have you checked if you’ve got it?

Rafe: It’s still on 2G in East Sussex but I have spoken to a couple of networks who said we’re planning on rolling it out in 2015. The fiber has just arrived at my local exchange and it hasn’t quite been enabled yet.

It’s interesting, there is that dimension shift that will happen and I think it’s going to have a bigger impact in rural areas that aren’t used to having these fast connections. So it will bring up this unbundling of media to a wide audience.

Ben: Unbundling of media doesn’t really sound like an exciting topic and I wasn’t quite sure when we were talking about it. But this is going to be the thing that decides what our mobile and fixed line experience is going to be like over the next couple of years. This is going to shape the way the networks are built and their priorities. It’s such a huge amount of data that anybody who is planning a wireless network in particular has got to do something specific to address video, but also has got to cope with the facts that operators or players like Nefflix, or even YouTube…

Ewan: Yeah, YouTube used to be the problem. That was the one that operators always spoke about.

Ben: It doesn’t have to be licensed, what previously would have been broadcast telly. It can be casual social video or free video or music.

Rafe: It is where the net neutrality argument comes in and calls your service, because it’s obviously possible to prioritize some traffic over others. I think that’s probably what we’ll see and business or mission critical stuff, you might have to pay extra for it.

            It’s an interesting question about how data providers actually do that. Would you be willing to pay extra to get a guarantee that you got good email and web browser news so that the people who are trying to use Netflix get knocked down to a lower quality and maybe have to make do with just a streaming standard definition as opposed to high definition video?

It’s an area that I think will bring those kinds of quality of service topics to the fore. They have to. Up until now quality of service has been, eh, good enough for everybody.

Ben: I really would be interested to hear how listeners are reacting. What services should we have mentioned that we aren’t thinking about, which everyone is using? I’d be really interested to know how people are using the technology as well.

Rafe: I think we have concluded that the behavior is changing. It actually has an impact beyond just media consumption, so we’d actually love to hear from people about their own experiences with this, and whether they’re locked into something they… It does vary in different markets, so tell us what it’s like in your country. We’re quite lucky in the U.K. It’s relatively lightly regulated and you can do this when the pricing is competitive because you’ve got several players. I know in the U.S. you quite often have one choice.

We’ve tied it into mobile as well, but I think it’s part of the broader issue we’ve just talked about. We touched on music, but it’s also going to come into the other technologies, books and movies and all that as well. I think that is a good place to end this particular episode of 361podcast. Thank you to my co-hosts Ewan and Ben.

Ben: A pleasure, Rafe Blandford, as ever. If you’ve enjoyed this podcast then please go on to 361podcast.com. There’s a link there and you can rate it. As Rafe says, we value your feedback. We’ll be back next week with some more chat. We’ll see you then. Bye-bye.