The P2P Broadband Symbiosis

By Jon Newton 8/31/05

“P2P has become the driver of broadband, and for now there is nothing which can even come close.”

That’s the bottom line, quite literally, from a post on Om Malik’s Broadband Blog in which he says he was able to connect with Andrew Parker, cto of British ISP network service CacheLogic

CacheLogic is getting tremendous mileage out of its statements that Lo! File swapping remains a powerful force; and, that eDonkey appears to be overtaking BitTorrent as THE p2p app.

Jon Newton

Parker, says Malik, was in the US promoting his report on the state of P2P nation, and a new service and apparently, the two ended with the “not-so-pleasant conclusion: that "P2P is driving consumer broadband demand….. and broadband is driving P2P uptake” and, “The symbiotic relationship between the two is reflected in this accompanying network traffic pattern graphic,” says Malik.

Cachelogic chart from Malik's page

Malik goes on that he's arrived at a few conclusions:

  • The service providers have a little or no reason to block P2P traffic in the near terms, because it drives growth. And since most service providers are in growth mode, well, you know…. ehm!
  • In the long term, however P2P traffic if not managed properly is going to become a big problem.
  • The explosion in P2P traffic is going to have an impact on the people who don’t use the P2P services as well.
  • Due to P2P’s symmetrical nature on average 80% of upstream capacity is consumed by P2P

Malik says Parker states many TV firms are looking at p2p for video distribution, with the BBC and Sky to the fore, but others are wondering if p2p might not attract more viewers. “I think on a more longer term, this is an interesting situation and brings up some niggling questions about Silicon Valley’s concept of the moment:." he says. "The Long Tail. I guess, as niche content finds it footing, one has to wonder who is really footing the bill for the distribution.

“I mean be it P2P or iTunes or Rhapsody, we are simply shifting to cost of distribution over to the ‘pipe owners’ who are (whether they like it or not,) being reduced to ‘mere conduits,’ or utilities. For instance the distribution costs of a record used to be printing the CDs, and getting them into the stores, which the record label paid for. Now, if you take a song, put it on a server, and start selling it, the distribution cost is really the ‘IP transit,’ which someone has to pay for.

“And as the debate continues, one thing which is becoming increasingly certain: P2P has become the driver of broadband, and for now there is nothing which can even come close.”


Jon Newton is the editor of and is a regular contributer to MP3 Newswire. Jon's site is devoted to the politics of digital music and his insights as well as those of his co-writers can be read there. We urge you to explore it.


The Archos AV 400 Video/MP3 player is available on Amazon

Other MP3 stories:
SwiMP3 Review
The Net is the Independent Artist's Radio


Back to