Some truth about Comcast - WikiLeaks style

Richard A Steenbergen ras at
Tue Dec 14 16:38:27 CST 2010

On Tue, Dec 14, 2010 at 03:39:07PM -0600, Aaron Wendel wrote:
> To what end?  And who's calling the shots there these days?  Comcast 
> has been nothing but shady for the last couple years.  Spoofing 
> resets, The L3 issue, etc.  What's the speculation on the end game?

I believe Comcast has made clear their position that they feel content 
providers should be paying them for access to their customers. I've seen 
them repeatedly state that they feel networks who send them too much 
traffic are "abusing their network". It isn't a ratios argument in the 
classic sense, between two peers trying to maintain a fair balance of 
costs and benefits, it's that they object to ANY content provider being 
able to deliver to their customers without paying them for access. They 
do this by trying to enforce ratios which are well beyond what their 
actual end users are routing, and as in the case of Level 3, they 
leverage that position to claim that other networks should be paying 
them under threat of blocking uncongested access to their customers.

I would say their short term goal is to make people who currently won't 
peer with them do so, so they can become transit free. This has been 
seen time and time again, as they move networks who they want to peer 
with but who will not peer with them into "congested transit" bucket. A 
while back it was SAVVIS, now it is Tata, but the pattern is clear and 
repetitive. Note that this only extends to a certain point though, as in 
the case of Global Crossing, who they claim is a settlement free peer, 
but who they have recently started pressuring and intentionally 
congesting because of ratio imbalances.

Their long term goal seems to be to force content networks to pay them 
for direct transit or on-net connectivity, by removing the available 
capacity from other paths. If you are a content network, and you can't 
reach them in a reliable fashion via "The Internet", your only choice 
may be to buy from Comcast directly.

This is obviously not the first time that networks have used this 
strategy, there are several prominent examples in recent history of 
others using this exact same technique. But this is definitely one of 
the worst examples in the US of a major eyeball network using access to 
their customers (who may have little or no choice in their broadband 
access) to force other networks to pay them, and IMHO it needs to be 
called out publicly whenever possible.

Richard A Steenbergen <ras at>
GPG Key ID: 0xF8B12CBC (7535 7F59 8204 ED1F CC1C 53AF 4C41 5ECA F8B1 2CBC)

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