Earlier this week, a report in the Register predicted an “Internet meltdown” would occur because P2P company BitTorrent was implementing a technical change — one that put file sharing on an Internet channel normally reserved for time-sensitive traffic. The apps worst affected by the change, the prophets of doom told us, were online games and Internet phone programs.
So we asked eBay’s Skype, the Internet phone giant: Any truth to the report? Will file-sharing traffic mess up our Skype calls?
Turns out, they’re not sure. “We really don’t know at this point,” a Skype rep told us. “We’re taking a wait and see approach.”
But Skype insisted the BitTorrent change wasn’t really a problem, because it’s technically easy to distinguish VoiP traffic from P2P filesharing, even though it’s all on the same channel.
But didn’t the FCC recently rule ISPs weren’t allowed to make distinctions between types of Internet traffic? Nope, Skype says. “If you look at what the FCC said, they said you couldn’t disrupt P2P traffic, not that you couldn’t selectively identify it.”
Not that ISPs have any reason to offer goodwill to Internet phone companies: The biggest ISPs are all cable and telephone companies that sell their own phone service — and have little interest in Skype’s success.