BitTorrent CEO Says Comcast’s Throttling is ‘Symptom of a Larger Problem’

Ashwin Navin says that the ISP’s networks weren’t implemented to take into account their users becoming media distributors.

There’s an interesting new interview on The Post with BitTorrent Inc.’s President and CEO Ashwin Navin in which he gives his take on the whole Comcast BitTorrent throttling affair and the future of traffic using the BitTorrent protocol.

When it comes to the allegations that Comcast is throttling BitTorrent traffic, or “traffic shaping,” he says that he’s been able to verify that they’re true. “We have verified that in certain geographies that Comcast will send what’s called a connection reset packet to BitTorrent users if they’re uploading and sharing for long periods of time,” he said.”So that’s what we’ve been able to verify. And in fact, it’s if they’re uploading for a significant period of time longer than they’re downloading.”

It’s already been an established fact thanks to the efforts of the Associated Press and elsewhere that Comcast has been effectively discriminating against BitTorrent users in order to squeeze the most money from their network, but it’s always nice to hear it coming from the guy with “BitTorrent” actually written on his ID badge. It’s makes it pretty hard to say that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

So what are Navin’s thoughts on Comcast’s interference with BitTorrent traffic? He argues that it’s merely symptomatic of a much larger problem in which the networks have been implemented in way that doesn’t ‘t taken into account the emergence of users as media distributors.

Its’ clearly evident to all with the huge discrepancy between upload and download speeds. Mine, for example, is a oftentimes frustrating 70kB/s(upload) vs 1MB/s(download). I long ago gave up on trying to upload any content over 100MB. It just takes too darn long.

He continues:

There’s an interesting situation that ISPs face — a lot of their consumers who have a broadband want to use their broadband connections in a variety of ways. People are also participating in media distribution in ways that they haven’t in the past … and most importantly they’re also sharing content — they’re acting as distributors. The way the networks have been implemented are in direct conflict with all of those trends and ISPs are going to face some scaling problems as applications evolve that tax those connections. So what you see between BitTorrent and Comcast is actually a symptom of a larger problem.

Maybe Navin is right. Certainly it’s wrong for Comcast to pick and choose what traffic it wishes to favor over others, especially if you’re paying for an advertised amount of bandwidth you may actively be prevented from using. But, maybe it’s time consumers also demanded a larger discussion take place in which we address the changing landscape of media distribution as a whole. Maybe we can also finally have that talk about net neutrality and get a firm commitment from lawmakers to support and enact legislation regarding it once and for all.