BitTorrent Inc. has launched its paid content network based upon the peer-to-peer distribution software developed by its founders. We’ve previously noted BitTorrent’s infrastructure improvements at 365 Main’s San Francisco data center in anticipation of this network. The service functions much like pay-per-view offerings from Comcast and other cable networks, only delivered over the Internet via BitTorrent. Now that it’s here, the service is drawing skeptical reviews from the blogosphere. Among them is Om Malik from GigaOm, who notes BitTorrent’s history with network operators:
Internet Service Providers dislike BitTorrent. ISPs can limit download speeds, and can block default BitTorrent ports, and force an inferior experience. There are other ways ISPs can mess with the Torrent traffic. Expect broadband providers to ask for their pound of flesh, I mean dollars from BitTorrent and their content partners.
Rafat Ali at PaidContent says the BitTorrent Network is somewhat hamstrung by the conditions placed on the service by its content partners: “Because of studios’ own reluctance to completely let go on DRM and piracy fears, it will be just another video download service, only running on the efficiencies of BitTorrent system,” Rafat writes. Those efficiencies have made BT popular enough that it accounts for a substantial percentage of total Internet traffic, so this service remains one to watch.