We're guessing we're not the only one to have never heard of P4P before now, but there's probably a good reason for that: it doesn't exist yet. See, P4P is designed to speed up peer-to-peer
file transfers and alleviate network strain by using information about network conditions and network topology in order to increase routing efficiency -- more bits, less work. The problem is that you're going to need service provider cooperation to pull that off (P4P stands for Proactive network Provider Participation for P2P) and now Verizon has signed on to take the concept to the next level. What's not clear yet is whether only specific, commercial P2P apps will be able to benefit from this tech, so that carriers can make sure everything is on the up and up, but with tested performance improvements as high as 600 percent, we sure hope this is coming soon to a torrent client near you.
*Verizon is currently in the process of acquiring AOL, Engadget's parent company. However, Engadget maintains full editorial control, and Verizon will have to pry it from our cold, dead hands.