Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Comcast Teams BitTorrent, Dropping Previous Traffic Management Policy

In a policy turnaround, Comcast announced a partnership with BitTorrent and with the broader Internet and ISP community to more effectively address issues associated with rich media content and network capacity management. Some key points:

  • By year-end 2008, Comcast will migrate to a capacity management technique that is protocol agnostic. Comcast said the result will be "a traffic management technique that is more appropriate for today's emerging Internet trends."

  • BitTorrent acknowledged the need of ISPs to manage their networks, especially during times of peak congestion.

  • Both companies have agreed that these technical issues can be worked out through private business discussions without the need for government intervention.

  • BitTorrent and Comcast have also agreed to work with other ISPs, other technology companies, and the Internet Engineering Task Force, to explore and develop a new distribution architecture for the efficient delivery of rich media content.

"This new architecture would enable many new and emerging applications and will be based upon an open, non-discriminatory framework that could interface with or support multiple technologies. We believe that P2P technology has matured as an enabler for legal content distribution, so we need to have an architecture that can support it with techniques that work over all networks," said Tony Werner, Comcast Cable's Chief Technology Officer.
  • Earlier this month, Verizon said it no longer regarded P2P as a "dark-alley distribution system for unauthorized file sharing." Specifically,
    Verizon announced plans to begin using a peer-to-peer (P2P) file transfer system from Pando Networks to aid with the distribution of large media files to its broadband users. When deployed, the new system will move material authorized by the content owners -- such as movies, TV programs, software or large data bases -- faster for consumers and more efficiently for network operators, including Verizon.

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