The companies are in talks to collaborate on ways to run BitTorrent’s technology more smoothly on Comcast’s broadband network, and allow Comcast to transport video files more effectively over its own network in the future, said Tony Warner, Comcast’s chief technology officer.
In a nice piece of timing, NCTA pretty much argued for exactly this approach on Thursday of last week, during a media briefing to address the topic of broadband network management. CNET’s Anne Broache provided coverage:
Kyle McSlarrow, president of the National Cable and Telecommunications Association, said he’s “amused” that in all the coverage of the Comcast-BitTorrent spat, no one’s talking about the cable industry’s role in getting high-speed Internet service to millions of American households and, by extension, enabling online applications and services to take off.
“One of the ironies is that most of these applications depended on cable’s rollout of residential broadband and our ongoing efforts to optimize the network to deliver the experience our customers expect,” McSlarrow said…
Kyle argued we should encourage experimentation in the issue of network management and then the marketplace and the Internet community can judge which solutions work best. You can hear the whole briefing by downloading this MP3.
…Mr. McSlarrow added color and line to a vision of the future that is hazy shades of gray for most of us. As he pointed out, the broadband market is yet in its infancy. It is the offspring of diverse experimentation, and it shall grow only through more, and varied, experimentation. Like Walt Whitman putting the chuff of one hand on our hip and gesturing with the other to the vast unknown landscapes before us, Mr. McSlarrow rightly cautioned against taking our ease with what we know today – today’s technologies, today’s protocols, today’s data sharing applications, today’s networks or services.
For tomorrow will turn upon technologies, networks, applications, and protocols that, in 2008, are nothing more than mysterious phantoms of ideas. And the speed of innovation is, if anything, increasing. We may well, in very short order, and assuming the government doesn’t freeze technology into place with misguided regulations or unnecessary limits on innovative new business models, all interact with technologies in ways that would seem completely foreign now.
And therein lives the magic of ingenious engineering, creative marketing, and courageous entrepreneurship. The vast, unknowable landscape of tomorrow can only be discovered by leaving the market free to explore where it will. “Here are bisquits to eat and here is milk to drink, but as soon as you sleep and renew yourself in sweet clothes, I kiss you with a good-by kiss and open the gate for your egress hence.”
For more information, you can read Declan McCullagh’s Q&A with Comcast’s Joe Waz about the BitTorrent deal.