The European Union has provided a grant of 14 million euros to identify the potential uses of peer-to-peer technology for internet television. A pan-European partnership of 21 groups, including the BBC and the European Broadcasting Unition, intends to develop a Europe-wide next-generation internet television distribution system, based on peer-to-peer networks and social interaction.

Partners include the BBC, the VTT technical research centre in Finland, Delft University of Technology, the Institut für Rundfunktechnik in Munich, STMicroelectronics in Geneva and the European Broadcasting Union.

It is understood that the system will be based on Tribler, a technology developed by Delft University of Technology.

“We are building a new, cross-platform, free and open source software-based, legal, peer-to-peer system,” said George Wright, executive producer of the Rapid Development Unit at the BBC.

The P2P-Next project will run over four years. It plans to conduct a large-scale technical trial of new media applications running on a wide range of consumer devices. If successful, the project could create a platform that would enable audiences to stream and interact with live programming using a personal computer or set top box.