Comcast Declares Truce with P2P

Dennis Faas's picture

Comcast recently ended hostilities with users of peer-to-peer networks (P2P) last week by agreeing to work with BitTorrent. The agreement, launched hand-in-hand with the one of the inventors of the BitTorrent protocol, is meant to find solutions to bandwidth management issues. Comcast and BitTorrent intend to publish their findings so that other P2P's and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) can adapt their solutions.

Previously, the cable company had restricted heavy usage of P2P networks using a practice known as 'torrent throttling.' Customers would find their file sharing slow or stop completely, especially during peak hours. (Source:

The practice first came to light last October after the Associated Press investigated the company's approach to bandwidth management. In February, Washington took an interest in Comcast's practices and the Federal Communications Commission began hearings on the matter.

Consumer advocacy groups are asking the Commission to declare Comcast in breech of the FCC's network management principles which are meant to keep the Internet a "vibrant and competitive free market" as mandated by Congress. (Source:

Before last week's announcement, Comcast had been quick to defend its throttling practices. In a report by The New York Times, Tony G. Werner, Chief Technology Officer for Comcast, fended off suggestions that the company could solve the problem by adding more bandwidth, "Internet service providers in Japan, with the fastest network speeds on the planet, [have] to manage their traffic."

P2P has come into its own recently by stepping out of the shadowy world of illegal file sharing and finding legitimate uses such as commercial video delivery and telephony services like Skype.

Efforts to improve services are ongoing, and customers should not expect changes to their service in the near future. Werner said that Comcast hopes to have its new system ready by the end of this year.

| Tags:
Rate this article: 
No votes yet