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Comcast, BitTorrent kiss, make up in attempt to keep regulators away

Comcast and BitTorrent said Thursday that they will collaborate and figure out the best way to manage peer-to-peer traffic on the cable giant's network. Regulators began holding hearings after Comcast had used network shaping techniques to manage P2P traffic much to the chagrin of BitTorrent.
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Written by Larry Dignan, Contributing Editor on

Comcast and BitTorrent said Thursday that they will collaborate and figure out the best way to manage peer-to-peer traffic on the cable giant's network. Regulators began holding hearings after Comcast had used network shaping techniques to manage P2P traffic much to the chagrin of BitTorrent.

But now the two parties are best buddies (Techmeme). In other words, the BitTorrent flap was becoming a PR and regulatory headache for Comcast--especially when the FCC was holding hearings on the matter. Comcast's network shaping techniques were beginning to look even worse considering Verizon was playing ball with legit P2P companies.

According to a statement Comcast and BitTorrent will "more effectively address issues associated with rich media content and network capacity management."

Meanwhile, Comcast is making a network neutrality pledge:

The Comcast and BitTorrent discussions have already produced meaningful results. On the one hand, Comcast announced that it will migrate by year-end 2008 to a capacity management technique that is protocol agnostic.

Comcast CTO Tony Werner said the company will reconfigure its network and manage traffic in a way that's "more appropriate for Internet trends." Comcast then plans to publish its techniques.

In exchange, BitTorrent acknowledges that ISPs have to manage networks during peak congestion periods. Given the number of lengthy canned quotes in Comcast's release it's clear that the two parties didn't want Congress making the rules. The money quote:

Both BitTorrent and Comcast expressed the view that these technical issues can be worked out through private business discussions without the need for government intervention.

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