Symbiotic Not Parasitic

Om has a great post this morning on how p2p is driving broadband adoption and vice-versa. I am very excited about this post because it supports a premise that I have written about before and that is that VoIP is symbiotic and not parasitic.

Well VoIP is not necessarily p2p-based so perhaps my argument is a bit of a stretch but it certainly applies to Skype. Skype can be considered a killer application for broadband (to borrow from Om’s headline which I wholeheartedly agree with). Blocking Skype would logically lead to decreased levels of broadband adoption.

Here are some salient concepts from the article:

  • The service providers have a little or no reason to block P2P traffic in the near term, because it drives growth. And since most service providers are in growth mode, well, you know…. ehm!
  • In the long term, however P2P traffic if not managed properly is going to become a big problem.
  • The explosion in P2P traffic is going to have an impact on the people who don’t use the P2P services as well.
  • Due to P2P’s symmetrical nature on average 80% of upstream capacity is consumed by P2P

So p2p applications in general are good for broadband service providers (for now anyway). If broadband service providers want to make more money they should consider giving us faster pipes and charging us for them. At least the one certainty going forward is that there will be a greater need for bandwidth and people will pay for faster connections.

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