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Comcast-Pando Networks' "P2P Bill of Rights and Responsibilities" solves multiple problems

In a breakthrough agreement and announcement (see copy below), Comcast and Pando Networks, (the leading managed p-2-p content delivery service) agreed to:

  • Lead creation of a "P2P Bill of Rights and Responsibilities" for P2p users and ISPs; and
  • Create a process to better "share test methodologies and results" among all P2P providers and ISPs so everyone can:
    • Learn how P2P providers can optimize their applications for all types of networks; and
    • "More efficiently deliver legal content."

This is a profoundly significant development because it solves multiple thorny problems:

First, it breaks through and resolves the polarized net neutrality discussion where proponents only talk about ones own Internet "rights" but don't acknowledge the "responsibilities" that accompany any "rights" or acknowledge the effect those "rights" can have on the "rights" of others.

  • A "Bill of P2P Rights and Responsiblities" gets ISPs in a practical mode of addressing users expected freedom to access any legal application/content of their choice over the Internet, while also getting P2P users in a practical mode that their usage cannot detrimentally affect the rights of non-P2P users expectations of quality of service.
  • The brilliance of this announcement is that it embeds the truism that "with freedom comes responsibility" in a civil society.
  • Until each side recognizes and focuses on addressing the legitimate needs of the other side, there can be little practical progress.
    • This breakthrough is encouraging and provides a framework for quickly and effectively resolving this heretofore thorny industry impasse.

Second, it provides the groundwork for an user/industry-driven process and mechanism to balance the heretofore competing goals for optimizing efficiency.

  • By not fully appreciating the legitimate needs of reasonable network management, P2P networks have in effect been optimizing the efficiency of P2P users at the expense of non-P2P users.
  • By not full appreciating the legitimate needs of P2P networks to optimize their delivery to different networks, ISPs have managed their networks to optimize the efficiency of their networks at the expense of P2P applications.
  • By creating a framework that by design is focused on optimizing the overall efficiency of all Internet users, needs and applications, industry players can get out of non-productive polarized political positions and get down to the necessary technological and innovation collaboration that is essential for making the Internet function at its best.
    • In that sense, this breakthrough agreement gets everyone back on the proven and well-worn path of resolving Internet issues and problems in a voluntary, negotiated, collaborative market-driven process.

Third, by getting the industry back on the voluntary, negotiated, collaborative process that has enabled the Internet to succeed phenomenally to date, this agreement helps avoid government intervention that in the end serves no ones interests.

  • United States policy is: "to preserve the vibrant competitive free market that presently exists for the Internet ... unfettered by Federal or State regulation" -- and that bi-partisan policy works!
  • Market forces are solving this latest Internet problem just like market forces have successfully fixed all previous problems facing the Internet.
    • The FCC has to be careful here to avoid that "no good deed goes unpunished."
    • Any FCC enforcement action against Comcast's network management, after Comcast has established the most open consumer disclosure in the ISP industry, and after Comcast has made exceptional progress in industry-leading agreements with both Bittorrent and Pando Networks, could be highly counter-productive.
      • The FCC now has to worry that FCC enforcement action could unravel the extraordinary market progress that has occurred to date and could remove existing market incentives to reach market-based accommodations absent government intervention.
      • In a word, hopefully the FCC won't mess with success.


For Immediate Release

Comcast and Pando Networks To Lead Creation of “P2P Bill of Rights and Responsibilities” for Peer-to-Peer Users and Internet Service Providers

Companies also announce plans to test Pando Network Aware™ P2P technology on Comcast’s network to identify faster and more efficient ways to deliver legal P2P content

Philadelphia, PA and New York, NY – April 15, 2008 – Comcast Corporation and Pando Networks, Inc. announced today they will lead an industry-wide effort to create a “P2P Bill of Rights and Responsibilities” (BRR) for peer-to-peer (P2P) users and Internet Service Providers
(ISPs). The two companies plan to collaborate and engage with industry experts, other ISPs and
P2P companies, content providers and others to set a framework for the BRR that can serve as a best practice. The purpose would be to clarify what choices and controls consumers should have when using P2P applications as well as what processes and practices ISPs should use to manage P2P applications running on their networks. For example, P2P users should have the right to control their computers’ resources when using P2P applications.

Read the full text of the release here.