Did Internet Founders Actually Anticipate Paid,

George Bonser gbonser at seven.com
Tue Sep 21 16:31:07 UTC 2010

> Yes they are -- content providers aren't getting their connections to
> the
> Internet for free (and if they are, how can I get me some of that?).

Maybe I wasn't clear.  Traffic is moving away from "transit" to direct
peering at private exchanges in many cases.  Since most exchanges are
"flat rate" and aren't all that expensive, it is "practically" free.
For example, if I have a 10G connection to an exchange (say Equinix IX,
or DEIX in Germany, or LINX in the UK, or PARIX in France, or INIX in
Ireland among other) it doesn't cost me any more to send 1G than it does
to send 5G of traffic. So if something happens that increases the
bandwidth utilization, my monthly cost does not change until I have to
change to higher capacity media and that is a step change.  

> > If the ISPs are directly peering with the content provider at
> > some IX, the content provider gets what amounts to a free ride to
> > end user.
> Say wha?  ISPs don't *have* to peer at an IX; if they think that it's
> cheaper to buy transit from someone than it is to peer, they're more
> than
> capable of doing so.

Transit would have to get extremely cheap to compete with exchange
peering.  I don't see it getting that low any time soon.

> The customer's requesting this traffic, therefore the customer needs a
> bigger pipe, therefore the customer pays more.

The problem is that maybe the customer is doing nothing different than
they have always done.  They didn't request more bandwidth.  The product
they have always used now consumes more bandwidth through no fault of
their own.   It would be as if you regularly ordered some product every
month and the product keeps getting heavier and heavier and the shipping
costs go up until the weight is higher than the carrier will ship.  You
are ordering the same thing you always did, you didn't ask for it to be
heavier, the producer decided to make it heavier.  But that is not a
perfect analogy because a consumer pays a flat monthly "shipping fee"
for Internet traffic.  The problem comes in when the content providers
make it "heavier" or higher bandwidth utilization beyond the control of
the customer.  Now the customer's pipe is saturated and they aren't
doing anything different than what they did before.  Or maybe some new
product is released that is an out and out bandwidth hog.  MOST people
using consumer Internet have no idea of things like that nor should they
need to.  All they know is that now their Internet performs like crap
and their ISP wants more money to make it work better.  They might feel
they have been ripped off.  As time goes by, their Internet performs
worse and worse, they begin to blame their network provider for that,
not the content provider who produces a product that consumes increasing
amounts of bandwidth as time goes by.  Consider, for example, the number
of sites that have streaming media of some sort that begins to play as
soon as you land on the page.  

> - Matt

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