West Midlands internet service provider (ISP) Entanet has called on the industry to present a united front and pressurise BT into reducing its pricing model for central pipes - the main arteries of broadband connectivity which ISPs rely on to deliver sufficient bandwidth to their customers.
In April, the Telford-based company wrote to BT Wholesale, clearly setting out its case and formally asking the company to reduce the rental cost of IPStream Centrals or introduce a multicast option that would enable ISPs to improve the services at little or no extra cost to customers.
Entanet claimed that should no action be taken, customers would potentially suffer a serious degradation in broadband performance when attempting to use new digital video and audio services now being made widely available in the UK.
However, the company's request has been refused by BT Wholesale and Entanet is now calling on its fellow ISPs to put further pressure on the telecoms giant before customers start to feel a major impact.
In an open appeal, published on the ISP Review website www.ispreview.co.uk James Blessing, the chief operating officer of Entanet, called on BT and Ofcom to review the pricing model with a view to making a significant reduction in the price of central pipes.
Without the reduction, Entanet predicted there will be a significant and negative impact on broadband performance and users who want to use services such as the BBC's Watch Again peer-topeer feeds will encounter difficulties unless they upgrade to a connection that delivers more guaranteed bandwidth.
The Telford firm says that when such services become more widely used, networks may become overloaded as this is likely to increase the average bandwidth consumption per end user by 40 per cent.
Entanet says ISPs have already noticed a significant increase in bandwidth demand over recent weeks, which it can only attribute to increased use of this type of service.
Unless there is a change in BT's pricing policy, Entanet believes it and other ISPs will be forced to increase prices for internet users who want to access these services - perhaps by as much as 50 per cent.
Mr Blessing said: "We have made it very clear to BT that all we want is a service that will work and which will enable us to meet the customer expectations that have already been set in the market.
"We do not believe that businesses or consumers will accept the 50 per cent or so uplift in charges that might be necessary if they want to make frequent use of streaming connections.
"We believe that BT has enough flexibility to deliver and also, that if it does not, a lot of broadband users could become very disappointed or disillusioned."
To rally support for its campaign, Entanet has set up a new website at www.serviceprovider.org.uk.
The firm says that any organisation which wants to support the campaign should visit the site or contact James Blessing at Entanet International on 0870 777 4224 or by e-mailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org.