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P2P Bandwidth Battle

torrent-freak-logo.jpgNew reports on the Torrent Freak site suggest that Comcast is inhibiting certain P2P activities with traffic-shaping technology. I don’t find this terribly surprising, but it does make me wonder when we’ll hit the tipping point where access to P2P applications becomes a large enough consumer issue that ISPs have to address the issue publicly. (More publicly than they have to date.)

Interestingly, I can compare some quotes from ISPs from the Torrent Freak article with quotes I ferreted out a while ago from one analyst and one P2P vendor. (Read quotes after the jump) From the ISP side, it sounds like an outright war is going on. From the P2P side, it sounds like everyone’s at the negotiating table.

Once again, the whole dilemma centers on bandwidth. Given that bandwidth is limited, operators have three options: find ways to expand it (ex. lay fiber), make it work harder (ex. channel bonding) or control it (ex. traffic shaping). The cost/benefit analysis goes on daily behind closed operator doors, and the factors that go into that analysis – like the popularity of P2P applications – are continually shifting.

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