For once, we should applaud Verizon

Don Reisinger is happy with Verizon for once because of its stance on P2P file sharing services. Will it last?

Don Reisinger
Don Reisinger
Former CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
2 min read

In the long and arduous battle between P2P file sharing services and ISPs, the former have done all they can to stay on top, while the latter have done all they can to eliminate them as quickly as possible. And just when I started losing hope, Verizon, for once, made me feel just a little bit better about ISPs. Will it last? I doubt it.

According to Verizon, it will do everything in its power to ensure that P2P downloading is brought into the new century and given the kind of treatment it has deserved for years. The company researched P2P file sharing and found that when an ISP cooperates with an P2P file sharer, they can speed downloads by a whopping 60 percent.

"This test signifies a turning point in the history of peer-to-peer technology and ISPs," said Robert Levitan, chief executive of file-sharing company Pando Networks Inc. "It will definitely show ISPs that the problem is not peer-to-peer technology, the problem is how you deploy it. It is possible to deploy P2P to their advantage."

But perhaps what's most important to this test is that Verizon is pledging availability of some of its infrastructure information to P2P file sharing services to increase the efficiency of both services.

So why should Verizon be commended for its actions even though it should have happened years ago? Because for the first time, an ISP has finally realized that it's doing the right thing for its business and its customers and wants to take a step in the right direction.

That said, will all P2P file sharing sites be given the same opportunities afforded to some? Of course not. But sometimes it's better to give credit where it's due and hope for more in the future. Especially considering the fact that Verizon's competitors aren't nearly as willing to concede any information to P2P services.

AT&T has already come out saying that it wants to do everything it can to block users from downloading content from P2P sites and Comcast, the nation's largest ISP, said it doesn't even want to consider playing nice with P2P services. Knowing that, how can we blame Verizon for, well, being the good guy?

And as the company said in a recent statement, "Verizon does not accept the role of network police agency."

For the first time, there is some hope in the fight between ISPs and P2P services, but there's still a long road ahead of us. But if Verizon's stance is any indication of the future, I'm looking forward to it.

Until then, Verizon is fine in my book -- for once.