Did Internet Founders Actually Anticipate Paid, Prioritized Traffic?

Steven Bellovin smb at cs.columbia.edu
Wed Sep 15 01:51:45 UTC 2010

On Sep 14, 2010, at 9:30 32PM, Barry Shein wrote:

> On September 14, 2010 at 00:49 williams.bruce at gmail.com (Bruce Williams) wrote:
>> And what does this "appeal to the ancient wisdom" have to do with
>> technology and business today anyway?
> The article claimed that AT&T is claiming (to the FCC I think it was)
> that net non-neutrality was an early design goal of the internet, so
> they should be allowed to do whatever it is they want to do.
> Well, of course it was, only big research sites got IMPs with real 56k
> connections. Little guys like Apple, e.g., had to live on X.25 links
> from CSNET. BU was hooked up for a while via a 9600bps "cypress" link
> (a Vax 11/725* later Sun3/50 imp-a-like, via a serial port.)
> And we won't even talk about who got /8s. AT&T got 2 if I remember
> right though that company had no relationship to this AT&T which is
> just a rename of SBC after they bought some AT&T assets which owned
> the original trademark which is kind of like the old "if my
> grandmother had wheels they'd call her a trolley car" but I digress.

No, they bought AT&T, which had an ISP business, a long distance business, a private line business, and AT&T Labs, as well as other miscellaneous pieces like the brand name.  We can wonder if AT&T would have survived as an independent company, but it was a going concern and not in bankruptcy at the time of the transaction.  But yes, SBC is the controlling piece of the new AT&T.

As for the two /8s -- not quite.  Back in the 1980s, AT&T got 12/8.  We soon learned that we couldn't make good use of it, since multiple levels of subnetting didn't exist.  We offered it back to Postel in exchange for 135/8 -- i.e., the equivalent in class B space -- but Postel said to keep 12/8 since no one else could use it, either.  This was all long before addresses were tight.  When AT&T decided to go into the ISP business, circa 1995, 12/8 was still lying around, unused except for a security experiment I was running.*    However, a good chunk of 135/8 went to Lucent (now Alcatel-Lucent) in 1996, though I don't know how much.

		--Steve Bellovin, http://www.cs.columbia.edu/~smb

*The early sequence number guessing attack tools required a dead host that would be impersonated by the attacker.  By chance, one of the early tools used something in 12/8.  I started announcing it from Murray Hill, to catch the back-scatter from the victims.  We found some of that; we also found lots of folks who were using 12/8 themselves, probably internally.

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