A few weeks after Comcast’s (NSDQ: CMCSA) non-deal deal with BitTorrent on making the latter’s P2P apps run more smoothly for the cable operator’s broadband subs, the largest U.S. cable operator said it will begin testing Pando Networks‘ file-sharing technology. On top of that, the two have issued a call for a “P2P bill of rights and responsibilities.”
Comcast and Pando plan to convene a group of “industry experts” to discern what options and controls consumers should have when using P2P apps. Secondly, the two want to address what processes and practices ISPs should use to manage file-sharing running on their networks. One particularly knotty issue the pair hopes to solve is whether “P2P users should have the right to control their computers’ resources when using P2P applications.”
As for the tests, Comcast and Pando will examine how file-sharing programs run on other ISP networks, including cable, DSL, fiber and wireless and measure things like performance, speed, distance and geography and bandwidth consumption. Comcast’s recent interest in working with P2P companies comes after the cable company experienced a good deal of regulatory and public criticism for its attempts to slow down file-sharing activity. Feeling somewhat chastened by the backlash, Comcast said it was trying to reduce stress on its bandwidth. Release
Staci adds As Robb notes below, this announcement comes a couple of days before the FCC’s Kevin Martin chairs an April 17 hearing at Stanford on “broadband network management practices.” It’s the second open meeting on the subject this year. Comcast got short shrift at the Harvard meeting in February — but also made a major mistake by paying people to hold seats in the small venue.