Sprint v. Cogent, some clarity & facts

Leo Bicknell bicknell at ufp.org
Mon Nov 3 15:49:32 UTC 2008

In a message written on Mon, Nov 03, 2008 at 10:40:46AM -0500, Patrick W. Gilmore wrote:
> The FACT is that a point-source sending traffic to distributed  
> receivers combined with hot-potato routing puts more of the cost on  
> the receiver.  That fact is not in dispute, apparently even you agree.

s/more of the cost/more of the network transport cost/.

Having been at AboveNet when several providers tried to tell us it
was unfair that we had data centers near exchanges and it cost them
a lot of money to put in access to the end user I simply pointed
them to our stock reports where we were spending hundreds of millions
of dollars building data centers, and our customers were further
buying hundreds of millions of dollars of servers to serve up the

You are correct that hot potato routing makes more of the bits flow
on the "eyeball" network.  This of course can be mitigated by using
alternate routing strategies; for instance AboveNet actively
encouraged other providers to send us Meds and in some cases
deaggregate to us such that we could carry the bits on our network.
However I am skeptical when looking at the total system cost that
the costs are as disproportionate as you suggest.

It's great to build an eyeball network, but unless someone invests
in data centers and servers it's not going to get to any content.
The view that network transport cost is the only interesting figure
is a historical artifact of the days of $5000/megabit transit.
There was a time it was more expensive to carry bits across the
country than to build a data center; if anything I think it's now
the exact opposite.  The data center providers are actually taking
more of the costs than many end user ISP's are due to the falling
price of transport and the relatively static price of real estate,
generators, air conditioners, and the like.

       Leo Bicknell - bicknell at ufp.org - CCIE 3440
        PGP keys at http://www.ufp.org/~bicknell/
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