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UK internet service providers (ISPs) are struggling to meet the demands of users streaming online video content over broadband connections.

According to a report by the Times, the dramatic rise in the number of people using services such as BBC's iPlayer is causing ISPs to rethink their usage allowances as the high-bandwidth content puts a strain on network infrastructure.

It claims that some ISPs are planning to restrict download allowances to alleviate the problem, which amounts to a 66 per cent increase in internet traffic due to the iPlayer service alone.

The publication reports that a growing number of users are choosing to pay additional data charges to cover the cost of video downloads.

"The problem is set to get worse as broadband providers unbundle the old BT exchanges by placing their own equipment in them, which will allow them to offer faster speeds and more downloads," states Ali Hussein in the publication.

Many UK ISPs provide such services, with the Office of the Telecoms Adjudicator reporting that the number of unbundled lines in the UK has now exceeded four million for the first time.

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