In a dramatic turn of events, two companies that seemed to be at each other’s throats just a few months back, Comcast and BitTorrent have decided to join forces and work together to advance ways in which rich media can be shared on the internet.
As you may recall there has been much attention paid to the fact that Comcast slowed BitTorrent packets on their network.
BitTorrent is a software program that allows users to download files of any size by using a peer to peer mechanism (p2p). The way the software works is to download a file in a non-sequential order meaning files cannot be used until they are downloaded in full.
Instead of thinking of BitTorrent as a file sharing solution, think of it as sharing chunks of files at a time.
Network operators have complained that BitTorrent is an extremely inefficient way to share data and this explains why some operators worldwide are either slowing this p2p traffic or halting it altogether.
For slowing these p2p packets, Comcast was recently vilified at an FCC conference and it seems as a result of all the negative publicity, the company decided to embrace the industry and perhaps even improve it.
In fact, Comcast will now work with BitTorrent on standards and protocols that allow more efficient p2p dissemination of content on networks.
For Comcast, this could be a great move as embracing p2p file sharing could actually allow the company to share files more efficiently in the future without relying as much on their own servers to push all the data to customers.
For BitTorrent, this move cements its position as king of file sharing software programs and moreover puts it at the center of the evolving industry.
A side benefit of this collaboration could potentially be that these companies will come together to ensure copyrighted content does not get transferred on p2p networks. You can be sure that record labels, software companies and other media companies are looking at this relationship very carefully and there will likely be a lawsuit or two as a result.