Did Internet Founders Actually Anticipate Paid,

George Bonser gbonser at seven.com
Tue Sep 21 04:01:58 UTC 2010

> Only if the QoS is tilted in favor of the popular stuff.  The concern
> here isn't QoS in favor of the popular stuff... The concern here
> is QoS in favor of one particular brand of service X vs another.
> (e.g. Netflix vs. Hulu).
> If QoS favors unpopular but more profitable services, it can make
> the user experience for those services significantly less crappy
> than the competing more popular services and actually drive
> shifts in consumer behavior towards the less popular services.
> Of course, as this succeeds, it becomes self-defeating over the
> long run, but, only if your goal is to provide good service to your
> customers.

Absolutely agree.  This goes back to my original comment on the thread
in that having a content provider pay for higher priority gives a
financial incentive to the network to create congestion (or allow such
congestion to occur during the course of normal bandwidth consumption
increases over time) in order to collect that revenue.

But there is a potential problem here in that content providers are
producing applications and content requiring increasing amounts of
bandwidth but are not bearing the cost of delivering that content to the
end user.  If the ISPs are directly peering with the content provider at
some IX, the content provider gets what amounts to a free ride to the
end user.  They then release a new version of something that uses more
bandwidth (say, going to HD video and then maybe 3D HD at some point)
which puts pressure on the ISPs network resources.  Do you then increase
prices to the consumer in a highly competitive market and run the risk
of driving your customers away, do you absorb the cost of required
upgrades and run at a loss for a while only to see the applications
increase in bandwidth requirements again?  Do you try to get the content
provider to pay for some of the "shipping" cost?  

In a pure transit model, the content provider's expenses would go up if
they increased their bandwidth utilization which gave them a financial
incentive to be innovative in ways of delivering higher quality with the
lowest possible bandwidth consumption. As more people move to peering
over public IX points, the burden falls on the ISPs internal network to
deliver the goods and they have no control at all over the applications
themselves.  So bandwidth is practically "free" for the content provider
and not so free for the eyeball provider. So where a content provider
might be forced to upgrade from GigE to 10GigE links at exchange points
(maybe adding a blade to a chassis), a service provider might be faced
with congestion on potentially thousands of end user links and the gear
that interconnect the PoPs.

In that light I can see where they might want a fee.  But a better way
of looking at it is not in prioritizing anyone up, look at it the other
way.  Imagine an ISP says "if you don't pay us, we are going to
prioritize your traffic down".  So anyone who pays gets their traffic at
the normal default priority, those who don't pay get in the "space
available" line.  Now a content provider who does not pay the toll sees
a drop in users which equates to a possible drop in ad revenue.


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