Level 3 Communications Issues Statement ConcerningComcast'sActions

George Bonser gbonser at seven.com
Mon Nov 29 21:17:57 CST 2010

> I know the content providers hate this, I know the consumers will not
> pay more for their access

Yes they will.  They are going to have to.  To expect end user traffic to increase by an order of magnitude without any corresponding upgrade of the infrastructure to support that is living in a fantasy world.  Comcast believes they are big enough to force the content providers to pay.  If the content providers say "no", then Comcast will be forced to increase subscription fees in order to finance that upgrade.  That will, in turn, allow their competitors to also increase subscription rates and upgrade their infrastructures to support today's traffic demands.

If Comcast can force the providers to pay, they are betting that their competitors won't and Comcast will be able to undercut the subscription rates of their competition or force them into sub-standard service from the traffic loads.  It is basically an economic game of "chicken".  If the providers simply say "no" and disconnect, Comcast loses.  

There is a compromise solution but the politicians have neutered that idea.  The idea would be to simply continue to carry the traffic but prioritize it down if you don't pay.  Basically two levels of service ... standard and sub-standard (no "premium").  If a content provider pays, their traffic stays as it is.  If a content provider doesn't pay, their stuff gets QoS second tier.  This is a little different than the model of selling "premium" level access to a network.

Heck, if I were Level3, I might even drop the level of traffic in my own network bound for Comcast and have a note on the site that Comcast users can expect poor performance.  Something like "Comcast is too poor to upgrade their network and has attempted to extort payment from us under threat of disconnection from their internet users.  Though we have refused to pay the "eyeball ransom", we have decided to help Comcast out anyway by bandwidth limiting traffic to their poor wittle network.  As a result, Comcast users might experience reduced performance."

More information about the NANOG mailing list