BitTorrent to power ISP's video service

British broadband provider will test P2P technology for upcoming movie-download portal.

One of the largest Internet service providers in Britain is teaming with the company responsible for the BitTorrent software to test a new high-speed movie download service, the companies said Friday.

NTL, the largest broadband provider in the United Kingdom, will be testing the file-swapping service as a way to deliver video more cheaply than traditional downloads. Another company, called CacheLogic, will add its data-caching technology to improve the network's efficiency.

The deal is the first public step forward for BitTorrent's hope to turn its technology, widely used for swapping illegal copies of video, into a tool used by movie studios and ISPs for legal services.

"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."

The technical trial will begin in April and will go through the summer, the companies said. Navin declined to say what content will be used in the trial, but noted that NTL is a cable company, and thus has rights to video content.

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