Did Internet Founders Actually Anticipate Paid, Prioritized Traffic?

JC Dill jcdill.lists at gmail.com
Tue Sep 14 19:27:21 UTC 2010

Dave Sparro wrote:
> I just don't see a way to get passed the current impasse.
> The consumers are saying "I want faster, as long as I don't have to 
> pay more."
> Content providers are saying, "If consumers had faster, I'd be able to 
> invent 'Killer App'.  I sure wish the ISPs would upgrade their networks."
> ISPs are saying, "Why should we upgrade our networks, nobody is 
> willing to pay us to do so."
I predict a future where major content providers (MCPs) (such as Google, 
or Yahoo or MSN) offer customers access for free[1].  When you enroll in 
free MCP internet access, MCP content and apps will stream to you as 
fast as their network can possibly get them to you.  What MCPs will do 
with content that comes from other networks is another question.

One reason traffic shaping hasn't caught on yet is that it hasn't been 
beneficial to the people selling access to slow down traffic (which is 
the only way to shape traffic).  Their bean counters keep thinking 
there's a market behind this service, but each time they try to create a 
market, someone else simply says "here, I'll get *everything* to you as 
fast as possible[2], why get your access from that other guy?".  This 
was the Above.net model.  So, when one of the MCPs (e.g. Google) comes 
out with their own access product (which will happen sooner or later), 
will they find that there's a market to give consumers faster access to 
Google's content?  Or, will Yahoo or MSN or Facebook decide to give 
customers a product where they get everyone's content as fast as 
possible, thus negating the value of the free service from Google (or 
whoever) that is only as fast as possible for that company's content?

My bet is on the above.net model - as soon as someone puts up a service 
with different speeds depending on where the content comes from, someone 
else will come out with a service that is everything, as fast as 
possible, and that second offering will win.  The technology to stream 
everything as fast as possible will not be that much more expensive than 
the technology to provide different speeds for different sources, and 
the customer will flock to the "everything as fast as possible" offerings.


[1]  And then once everyone is getting their consumer access for free, 
will they start paying consumers to sign up with their service?  We are 
getting quite close to this in other areas, such as "fill out this form 
get a free coupon"....

[2]  Sonic.net is offering "as fast as we can get it to you" now (for 
one price, no more tiered service for tiered pricing) to home customers 
in the SF Bay Area.

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