Computerworld recently reported that P2P throttling and bandwidth management for ISPs was a hot topic at the NXTcomm conference in Las Vegas. The article mentions a lot of the usual suspects and talking points, with ISPs and network management vendors notably shying away from endorsing Comcast-style Bittorrent blocking. Instead, everyone now seems to be thinking about bandwidth caps and temporary slow-downs for the most active users.

One aspect that is interesting about the article is that it quotes Qwest CTO Pieter Poll saying that P2P users are not always the worst offenders and that ISPs need to target other heavy users as well. Qwest apparently regularly tells its most heavy users that they are in violation of the ISP's terms of service. The article quotes Poll with the following words:

"What we've found when we look at the highest-end users is that a significant percentage of what they use is certainly P2P traffic, but also that their high bandwidth consumption could be the result of malware infections or of Web cameras running 24 hours a day."

Mentioning webcams in this context is certainly interesting. Streaming low quality video didn't use to be a big issue for ISPs in the age of Jennycam & Co., at least in part because not many people did it. The boom of life streaming platforms like Ustream and Stickam has however led tens of thousands of users to broadcast video streams to the rest of the world.

A regular Ustream broadcast shouldn't eat up much more than 200kbps of your upstream bandwidth, but it looks like ISPs are starting to worry that thousands of Chris Pirillos could eat uo their resources. Notices like the ones sent out from Qwest used to be the first step in the ISPs' fight against P2P as well. Will we soon see life streaming being targeted with the same technicals means they use to slow down P2P?

(via gulli)

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