Norway’s state broadcaster, NRK, has launched its own bittorrent tracker, following a number of successful tests in 2008. A tracker, if you’re unaware, is the ‘matchmaking’ part of the bittorrent protocol, acting as a signpost to help people who want content find people who’ve got that content.
The tracker, which will operate exactly like the Pirate Bay does, except with legitimate content. NRK is funded by a license fee, much like the BBC, and so they have a mandate to reach as wide an audience as possible with the best possible quality. The DRM-free downloads provided by this service will achieve that wonderfully.
Best of all, the bittorrent protocol gains strength as more people download something. The busier the service is, the faster it is for everyone. So when there’s a million people trying to download the latest episode of the Norwegian equivalent of Eastenders, everyone gets it fast. As long as the government themselves seeds at least one copy of every file on the network, then everyone will be able to get whatever they want.
A win for consumers, a win for the broadcaster, and a win for Norway. I hope you’re taking notice, BBC. The iPlayer is good and all, but a bittorrent tracker would be even better.