Convergence (Saving the Net)

Saving the Net and network neutrality in general have become big topics lately. I have made several posts on the topic over the last few months (1, 2, 3). See Michael Geist‘s The Search for Neutrality for a bit of Canadian perspective.

With the above in mind, it was with great interest that I read this month’s installment of Geoff Huston‘s The ISP Column. The article is entitled Convergence?. I have copied a couple of choice quotes below. There is lots more good information in the article. Last month’s column, IPv6 – Extinction, Evolution or Revolution?, also offers some interesting perspectives on the future of IP service providers.

One emerging body of opinion is that the issue here is not finding the right layer for virtualization of the network, nor is it an exercise in finding just the right form of value to add to these networks, but in recognising the futility in such exercises in the first place.

By any accounts peer-to-peer file sharing has taken over the Internet, with estimates of between 45% to 70% of total internet traffic volumes being attributable to music and video sharing. This has turned the Internet into one of the more prodigious music and video distribution systems ever conceived. This shift in user behaviour has significant implications for the entertainment industry’s chosen distribution methods, and it is likely that the industry will ultimately come to terms with peer sharing technologies such as BitTorrent. The loser in all this is likely to be real time video delivery systems, so one reasonable conclusion is that real time content delivery, or Triple Play time, is over, BitTorrent has won over the user!

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