Comcast, which is under federal investigation for blocking some file-sharing traffic, is investing in a startup that delivers high-definition
video using file-sharing techniques.
Seattle-based GridNetworks on Monday said that Comcast
would make an unspecified investment in the company and
collaborate on developing so-called peer-to-peer
file-sharing techniques that are "friendly" to Internet
Comcast hampers some file-sharing traffic by its
subscribers in an attempt to keep the traffic from
slowing down Web surfing by other subscribers. Complaints
by consumer groups and legal scholars that the company is
discriminating against particular software have led to an
investigation by the Federal Communications Commission.
Comcast has said that it will stop targeting specific
types of traffic by the end of the year. It has also
reached out to file-sharing companies to try to develop
mutually acceptable techniques.
File-sharing applications like BitTorrent are frequently
used to spread pirated movies and music. But GridNetworks
and a dozen other startups are instead developing the
technology as a way to deliver legal files, like rented
high-definition movies, cheaply over the Internet.
The Comcast deal was announced at the Cable Show in New
Orleans, hosted by the National Cable and