Human Sacrifice, Comcast and BitTorrent Working Together… Mass Hysteria! …
It’s a Comcastic day for BitTorrent. This morning the cable provider, under fire for degrading the performance of the peer-to-peer file-sharing service on its broadband network, announced plans to develop better ways to manage peer-to-peer traffic. To that end, Comcast (CMCSA) will work with BitTorrent to develop a network capacity-management technique that is protocol agnostic.
Said Tony Werner, Comcast’s chief technology officer, “This new architecture would enable many new and emerging applications and will be based upon an open, nondiscriminatory 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.”
Of course you do. You just didn’t realize it until FCC Chairman Kevin Martin pointed it out, right?
Anyway, like most such corporately altruistic pledges, this one has the potential to do more good than bad–or more bad than good. “… We must recognize that these are two commercial entities whose goals are, in the end, to make sure that their networks and technologies are as profitable as possible,” writes Public Knowledge’s Jef Pearlman. “One can conceive of a world where an ISP and an application developer band together to make a proprietary system in which sanctioned application data gets preferred treatment, the ISP gets greater control of the application running on your computer, and both companies are happy in the exact situation we want to prevent. Time will tell what this partnership actually means.”