Despite some nice linguistic rhyming P2P and the ISP tend not to be good mixes, but could a solution be in sight?
According to DCIA's Inaugural Market Conference this week the intriguingly named 'P4P' may well be it. Created by the 'P4P Working Group' - a collaboration amongst ISPs, P2P software distributors and technology researchers - P4P is essentially a more efficient evolution of P2P which the collective believes can not only vastly increase the performance of P2P, but also reduce its footprint making it less objectionable for ISPs.
Sadly few specifics beyond this have been made available but - perhaps most importantly - the group has published initial field trial results which it carried out in conjunction with Verizon:
*P4P enhanced download rates for fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) averaged 205% the speed of unmanaged P2P downloads
*ISP internal data delivery (hop count) fell from an average of 5.5 hops to 0.89 hops
*Traffic localization within metro locations increased from 6.27% for P2P to 57.98% for P4P enhanced delivery
*Some FTTH users saw as much as 665% the download speed of unmanaged P2P
"People think the bandwidth is free," said Eliot Listman of P4P Working Group member PeerApp. "A service provider is providing the bandwidth. Content owners are starting to deploy P2P; however, those content owners are concerned that the service providers could block P2P distribution. All the politics and talk of regulation bring to the front that business relationships have to grow." Of course exactly what content is being distributed is another can of worms entirely.
We'll need to know a lot more about P4P before getting too excited, but this is one heck of a promising start...