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Comcast invests in P2P streaming startup

Written by Rich Fiscus (Google+) @ 20 May 2008 13:12 User comments (11)

Comcast invests in P2P streaming startup Comcast is investing in a company developing a streaming video service that uses P2P technology. GridNetworks, based out of Seattle, is receiving an unspecified investment from Comcast and will be collaborating with the cable provider to make the service "friendly" to internet service providers.
In the wake of the recent controversy over their "network management," which effectively blocks a significant amount of P2P traffic, Comcast has apparently had a change of heart about how to handle subscribers who transfer a lot of data. No doubt the threat of FCC action and Net Neutrality legislation from Congress has played a part in their decision to support the creation of a so-called P2P "Bill Of Rights" and consider a new billing model with explicit monthly download limits.

With the availability of online video growing steadily there's a clear oppurtunity for cable providers who also provide broadband internet service to branch out into the online market. You could argue that competition from services like Verizon's FiOS and AT&T's U-verse, combined with services like Netflix and iTunes, would make such a move a high priority simply to stay competitive.

At the same time, ISPs have to be careful about how they implement services that might compete with other activity on their network. Comcast executives have suggested in the past that P2P traffic is already significant enough to clog their network. In order for streaming video to be successful it would presumably need to be guaranteed a certain amount of that bandwidth during the same peak hours it's currently in short supply.

The FCC has sent a clear signal that they don't consider filtering specific applications to be a legitimate network management technique. On the other side of the equation giving preferential treatment to an application in which the ISP has a financial interest would almost certainly lead to not just FCC action, but also Net Neutrality legislation from Congress.

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11 user comments

120.5.2008 13:57

Too bad they choke out the P2P lol this could have been a decent idea, I can see 2 or 3 FPS movies riddled with viruses...

220.5.2008 14:48

I wonder if Comcast will throttle their own service?

320.5.2008 14:48

Is comcast going to throttle the user subscribers ?

"The flimsier the product,the higher the price"
Ferengi 82nd rule of aqusition

420.5.2008 16:11

Keep this in mind Comcast:

The FCC has sent a clear signal that they don't consider filtering specific applications to be a legitimate network management technique

520.5.2008 16:45

Originally posted by ivymike:
I wonder if Comcast will throttle their own service?
Yes, it's called double dipping. Invest in the services that require the most bandwidth usage, and then charge the customers an incremental fee for the usage. They're hoping to drive people to buy larger bandwidth packages.

They should take the money and invest in their infrastructure. In fact, the FCC should make them invest in it to keep up with user demand, and give them a time period to complete it. If they are going to make claims to justify throtteling/capping/selective filtering or whatever people want to call it these days, then they need to put their money where their mouth is.
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 20 May 2008 @ 16:46

621.5.2008 14:57

shorehorning in the tiered net eh?

727.5.2008 8:55

This move has left me speechless!

827.5.2008 13:40

It should be unethical for an ISP to block P2P sites, while investing in and unblocking access to their own P2P site.
What is the name of the lawyer/corporate board chair, who thought we wouldn't notice?
What are the names of the lawyer/politicians who will turn a blind eye to this kind of tactic?
I'm sick of all this ComCast and Cox crap I now see spreading to other countries. Maybe it's time for a P2P site to buy an ISP network?


927.5.2008 19:58

First off Video Streaming is a joke at best the quality is like watching a VHS movie and until the proprietary player gets the caching correct you are always pausing and waiting for the cache to catch up and adjusted for you type of connection / PC speed. The only time I have used VS is when Ive been out of town on my Notebook and to preview a movie before renting it through Netflix. I certainly would not pay for such poor quality and only have used it because with Netflix it is free.

It is just like Comcast to double dip they are a very greedy company always raising their rates and changing their packages in order to force you to pay more for less. I had digital phone with them as well as Hi-Speed and now they have dropped the digital phone which was great and cheap and are forcing people to go with their VoIP which is expensive, limited, and poor quality comparatively. I have gone to BBTelSys and got 2 VoIP lines with free long distance through the full US and Canada plus I have all the features that a business VoIP would provide much better then Vonage or any of the other providers and its $30/mo approximately.

How is it that Comcast gets away with the lie about their Hi-Speed Im sick of hearing that they provide 8MB download speeds when that is totally a lie, you are lucky if you get 768K let alone 1M and the burst thing is a marketing joke too.

Communication type companies are the biggest in the US and obviously have big brother in their pocket, for the most part, so they can do whatever they want it seems. I was surprised to see them get on Comcast about there limiting P2P access via filtering, they must have ticked off one of the Senators kids. Pretty soon we will all be working for a communications company in some way or another.

1027.5.2008 20:24

We're all being lied to by our ISPs, and especially those who pay more for faster speeds.
When will the lawyer/politicians demand their friends, the lawyer/corporate board chairs, be honest about the speeds? And when will they demand their pals give us the speeds they claim?
I've got Shaw and my speed is typically 10-20% of the advertised claim.

Maybe we should start electing "computer savvy" candidates instead of lawyers.

111.6.2008 5:01

It would be great to have computer savvy candidates for president, senate, ect, ect problem is that most citizens don't do their homework and read the tech sites to see what is going on in the world of telecommunications. Take the new transition to DTV. Many think their going to buy a cheap converter for $40 and connect it to rabbit ears and get TV as they've always had. Nope for Digital is more pickey about how strong a signal needs to be in order to maintain a picture. Oh how many people will be surprised as their picture pops from a picture to nothing and the sound as well pops off and on making it unwatchable at best. Many people who receive their TV through an antenna will be forced to buy an outside antenna at about $100-150 in order to maintain a picture. Yet most satellite and TV stations are keeping that one under their hats. HDTV is great for the upper class American citizen, but may push people on Welfare out of being able to watch TV in rural areas for with HDTV or DTV signals you need to be about 10-20 miles away from the tower if you think your gonna receive the channel with rabbit ears.

As far as streaming movies over the net I use Graboid and at times I don't Download the movie especially when I'm on my Laptop and just want to watch a movie. Or better yet when I was at my Mom and Dad's to visit and I was working on their computer. I fired up Graboid and streamed Iron Man and it came in nice and clear through Cox Cable. Time Warner will also work with Graboid. Graboid costs $25/mo for the unlimited Platinum package which I subscribe to. Again most citizens don't know about this for the media giants don't want you to know about it. Motto of the story do the research and experiment. Don't believe what your spoon fed. As far as Bittorrent I use that as well and I've been on sites like The Pirate Bay and ISOhunt without a hitch. Yes Comcast and some smaller cable companies do throttle p2p at a lower speed. Its nothing new. You have to experiment to know and make sure there is a clause that if you don't like the service within 15 days you get your money back. Especially if your going to sigh a DSL contract. Talk to friends and try and see if you can bring your computer over their house and try and Download a 700MB or 4.3 GB file while at their house and see what the speeds are. If you don't do the research then your only screwing yourself.

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