2024-04-24 07:12:56
Comcast, Pando Partner for ‘P2P Bill of Rights’ isps/politics

PC Magazine

On the heels of its arrangement with BitTorrent , Comcast on Tuesday announced that it would partner with Pando Networks to create a P2P bill of rights for file-sharing networks and Internet service providers.

Comcast and Pando will meet with industry experts, other ISPs, and P2P companies in order to come up with a set of rules that would clarify how a user can use P2P applications and how an ISP can manage file-sharing programs running on their networks.

Last month, Comcast announced that it had reached an agreement with BitTorrent whereby Comcast agreed to alter its network management practices, and BitTorrent acknowledged that Comcast has the right to police its own network.

Comcast’s battle with P2P networks started last year after the Associated Press published an article that accused Comcast of blocking peer-to-peer services like BitTorrent. Comcast admitted to delaying P2P traffic during peak times, but denied that any file-sharing applications were being completely blocked.

Nonetheless, the FCC has opened an inquiry into the matter. The commission will sponsor a Net neutrality hearing that will address network management practices on Thursday at Stanford Law School, but has yet to take any definitive action.

The FCC has invited Tony Werner, Comcast chief technology officer, and Robert Levitan, CEO of Pando Networks, to participate in the Stanford hearing, an FCC spokesman said Tuesday night.

The Comcast-Pando deal is “an interesting idea with potentially important implications for all Internet users,” he said.

Under the Pando deal, Comcast will run a test of Pando’s Network Aware technology on its fiber-optic network in order to measure performance, speed, distance, and geography as well as the bandwidth consumption impact to the ISP, Comcast said. Pando will also conduct tests on other ISP networks, including cable, DSL, fiber, and wireless.

The results of these tests are intended to help Comcast move to a protocol-agnostic network management policy by year’s end – which was part of the deal with BitTorrent.

“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,” Comcast’s Werner said in a statement.

“By sharing the test methodology and results, all P2P companies and ISPs can learn how to more efficiently deliver legal content,” said Pando’s Levitan.

The National Cable and Telecommunications Association (NCTA) praised the annoucement as “further evidence that private sector collaboration, not government intervention, is the most appropriate way to address complicated technological issues,” NCTA president and CEO Kyle McSlarrow said in a statement.

The Distributed Computing Industry Association (DCIA), which represents P2P and social-networking providers, urged industry participation in the process.

“The DCIA and our member companies and participants in our working groups believe that private sector initiatives are generally preferable to regulatory measures in such areas,” DCIA CEO Marty Lafferty said in a statement.

Free Press, which filed the FCC network management petition, was skeptical that the Pando deal would protect consumers.

“Slick press releases by a dishonest would-be gatekeeper do nothing to protect consumers,” Marvin Ammori, general counsel of Free Press, said in a statement. “The need for Net neutrality remains urgent. The FCC should do its job to uphold the existing bill of rights for consumers and should do so quickly.”

The Comcast-Pando deal “is little more than the fox telling the farmer, ‘I’ll guard the henhouse, you can go home.’ And that’s all the attention it deserves,” Ammori concluded.

Gigi Sohn, president and co-founder of Public Knowledge, said the deal was “ludicrous.”

“Comcast should fix its internal problems with customers being kicked off the Internet service for no good reason, or are disappointed about having programming switched to expensive digital services before it starts pretending to solve the problems of the Internet that it helped to cause,” Sohn said in a statement.

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