Major UK consumer broadband providers NTL are teaming up with BitTorrent, the developers of the world’s most popular peer-to-peer (P2P) application.
The download service will offer a large variety of licensed video content for purchase in the UK, including popular films, music videos and TV programmes.
BitTorrent’s enormous bandwidth-hogging qualities has proved expensive for some Internet providers, but NTL are looking to speed delivery and reduce network costs by using CacheLogic’s caching technology which stores frequently downloaded files within the NTL network.
NTL believes that this combination will provide ultra-fast download speeds of broadcast quality content – or, as Kevin Baughan, their director of network strategy liked to call it, a “transformational video downloading experience.”
BitTorrent is already firmly established as the de facto tool of choice for connoisseurs of pirated TV and movie files, with BitTorrent traffic estimated to hog around a third of all internet bandwidth, and an even higher ratio on NTL’s network.
Naturally, rights holders and movie heavyweights weren’t too chuffed to see their content whizzing around the Internet for gratis, and quickly hired in squadrons of lawyers to apply pressure on BitTorrent.
Late last year, a deal was struck with the Motion Picture Association of America to remove copyrighted material from the BitTorrent.com search engine, and the company has since been in talks with movie moguls and Internet service providers to find ways to use the software for the distribution of legal, paid-for downloads.
“NTL has seen a huge percentage of their traffic in the BitTorrent protocol,” said BitTorrent President Ashwin Navin. “But in the past, neither rights holders, ISPs nor BitTorrent derived any economic benefit from it.”
NTL’s trial is expected to start next month and run through the summer, with a small initial sample group of around 100 homes.