Jackson West at NewTeeVee comes close to nailing the infrastructure problem that could plague Joost, which is supposed to stream broadcast-quality on peer-to-peer networks: American ‘broadband’ isn’t very fast, especially for uploading data, and won’t be able to keep up with Joost’s bandwidth demands. Joost is well aware of this problem and is searching for a commercial content delivery network (CDN) to fill in the P2P gaps, a source familiar with the situation tells us.
Part of Joost’s appeal is supposed to be free P2P distribution — ideally, consumers are footing the bill for Joost’s bandwith. But P2P in the U.S. can’t actually handle the amount of data that Joost wants to move.
One problem is that the networks are better at pushing data down to homes than back up the network: They were designed that way on the assumption that residential subscribers will be consuming a lot more content than they’ll be creating and distributing. Broadband providers also cap maximum throughput speeds, both to discourage people from running servers on their computers and to offer higher service tiers at a premium price. And lately they have been shutting subscribers down who use “too much” of their “unlimited” broadband accounts: see this Boston Globe story where a Comcast subscriber got the boot.
All of this spells bad news for Joost, whose peer-to-peer video data rides mostly over the pipes owned by the TV service providers it’s looking to supplant: America’s cable and broadband giants. But a CDN, which can sell guaranteed bandwidth at nose-diving prices, may help things out.
Disclosure: SAI Chairman Kevin Ryan is CEO and an investor in Panther Express, a NY-based CDN.