CDNs should pay eyeball networks, too.

Patrick W. Gilmore patrick at
Wed May 2 11:09:36 UTC 2012

On May 2, 2012, at 1:06, Aleksi Suhonen <nanog-poster at> wrote:

> I have no idea what's really going on at LLNW, but I thought I'd still share an alternative view on this matter:
> My understanding is that LLNW is spending tons of money to upgrade some of their IXP connections to 100GbE in Europe. With that in mind, I'm not that surprised if they wish to get some new income to cover those costs. While content is king, eye balls are kings too. Go figure.

Lots of networks upgrade their infrastructure.  It means they are doing more traffic, which hopefully means their business is doing well.  Very few - in fact, I can't think of a single network - start asking for paid peering just because they are upgrading their ports.  Networks either ask for paid peering, or don't, irrespective of their IX upgrade schedule.  It is based on whether they think they have power over their peers.  I guess we know how LLNW feels now.

The interesting thing to me is the reversal from previous years.  Most content providers have issues with eyeball networks saying "pay me for bits".  Content networks have historically claimed this is silly of the eyeball networks - including LLNW.  Eyeballs get paid by their customers (DSL, cable, whatever) to "reach the Internet".  Content networks pay to bring the content right to the eyeball's door.  Or so the theory goes.

This move belies that argument LLNW has made themselves in the past.   It is not about "your customer pays you, my customer pays me."  It is about who can force whom to pay (or not, as most people who have spoken up said they would not pay).

End of day, this doesn't change the way of the world.  LLNW is a big network, but compared to the whole Internet, they are relatively small.  There will be corner cases like this, and the market will decide who wins & who loses.  <insert comment about "except those with monopoly power" or some such>


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