Posted by: Tom Nolle
Cabling, IP services, Peer2Peer
Comcast has finally admitted to taking steps under its usage agreement to block or interfere with P2P traffic, at least that of BitTorrent. This is perhaps the first instance of a large access provider using their UA this way, but as we have noted before, it is inevitable that access carriers take steps to manage the use of their network, particularly where that use might interfere with other customers in the short term (by congesting the shared cable uplink bandwidth in this case) or in the long term (by forcing upgrades to capacity that cannot provide the operator with suitable ROI to justify the investment). We believe this process will be widespread by next year, and it is very unlikely that the courts would find it an abuse. In 2008 we would expect to see the first examples of operators providing premium handling as an extra-cost option, and this is likely a step in that direction. We also believe that premium for-charge service options are a good thing, since they link increased performance to increased carrier revenue and thus justify the buildout at the business level.