Comcast, Pando join on P2P 'Bill of Rights'

Wed, 04/16/2008 - 8:43am
Brian Santo

Still snarled in network neutrality controversy, Comcast is going on the offensive, hooking up with Pando Networks and offering to lead an industry effort to draft a "Bill of Rights and Responsibilities" (BRR) covering peer-to-peer (P2P) traffic.

At the same time, Comcast said it will test Pando's P2P technology, which allows service providers to manage the delivery of content using P2P techniques.

The proposed BRR would cover rights and protections for both P2P users and Internet Service Providers (ISPs).

Comcast and Pando plan to work with others in the industry to determine a set of best practices for companies that enable and carry P2P traffic. Comcast said the aim would be to "clarify what choices and controls consumers should have when using P2P applications, as well as what processes and practices ISPs should use to manage P2P applications running on their networks."

For example, Comcast said, P2P users should have the right to control their computers' resources when using P2P applications.

Comcast CTO Tony Werner said: "We hope to get other industry experts, ISPs and P2P companies together this spring and publish the 'P2P Bill of Rights and Responsibilities' later this year. By having this framework in place, we will help P2P companies, ISPs and content owners find common ground to support consumers who want to use P2P applications to deliver legal content."

No consumer groups were among the organizations that Comcast and Pando said would be consulted.

At the same time, Comcast and Pando plan to conduct a test of Pando Networks Aware P2P technology on Comcast's fiber optic network. Comcast said the purpose of the test will be to capture and analyze the data flow associated with downloading a file using Pando's P2P application.

Comcast said it will use the data to help guide its migration to a protocol-agnostic network management technique by the end of the year, as it recently promised in a joint announcement with BitTorrent (story here).

The testing will be part of an incipient program to establish Proactive network Provider Participation for P2P (P4P) protocols. The P4P Working Group (P4PWG) is led by Pando and Verizon. Pando recently released statistics showing how these new P2P techniques can vastly improve network efficiency (story here).

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