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Verizon makes nice with P2P

We can help ISPs turn internet into big TV set

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Now that all sounds fine and dandy, except that much of this traffic is encrypted, and one P2P client can be made to emulate any other, and can re-establish itself in different ports once it is identified and slowed, so there would be technical hurdles, but we believe that there would remain a class of P2P players that are working with the ISPs, and class that is not. What that creates politically is an accelerate acceptance of P2P activity for the average ISP customer.

Regardless, it is encouraging to know that Verizon at least is looking to a future when the FCC might make it illegal to indiscriminately block or slow P2P traffic, and instead is thinking about how to make the internet turn into one huge TV set, sending Gigabyte class video files to every home.

While so little of Verizon’s revenues currently rely on video delivery compared to say Comcast, its sworn enemies the major cable operators perhaps may not feel able to embrace this approach, and this will accelerate a drift towards using the RBOCs as ISPs rather than the more expensive and more restrictive cable cos.

In the end we would expect that protocols and APIs that comes out of this work will have to be a standard, and one that EVERY ISP, regardless of what their main business is (cable or telco) will be forced to offer it.

Either customers will begin to leave in droves as word gets out that P2P goes faster on other networks or the simple fact that those networks that don’t wish to co-operate will still be faced with a day by day war trying to keep P2P at bay, and will be still suffering the traffic consequences of badly saturated networks. Comcast is supposedly supporting this new P4P activity, despite the accusations about its “traffic shaping” activities.

There is the feeling that the ISPs are the companies that need the technical help to make this happen, not that they are being begged by P2P software suppliers, because the P2P players seem to be winning the technology war here. Perhaps it is the ISPs that need the P2P players’ help, not the other way around.

Copyright © 2008, Faultline

Faultline is published by Rethink Research, a London-based publishing and consulting firm. This weekly newsletter is an assessment of the impact of the week's events in the world of digital media. Faultline is where media meets technology. Subscription details here.

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