The FCC is planning new net neutrality rules. And they could enshrine pay-for-play. - The Washington Post

Hugo Slabbert hslabbert at
Sun Apr 27 05:56:11 UTC 2014

Okay, I'm not as seasoned as a big chunk of this list, but please correct me if I'm wrong in finding this article a crock of crap.  With Comcast/Netflix being in the mix and by association Cogent in the background of that there's obviously room for some heated opinions, but here goes anyway...

>A long, long time ago when the Internet was young and few, if any had thought
>to make a profit off it, an unofficial system developed among the network
>providers who carried the traffic: You carry my traffic and I'll carry yours
>and we don't need money to change hands. This system has collapsed under
>modern realities.

I wasn't aware that settlement-free peering had "collapsed".  Not saying it's the "only way", but "she ain't dead yet".

Seltzer uses that to set up balanced ratios as the secret sauce that makes settlement-free peering viable:
"The old system made sense when the amount of traffic each network was sending to the other was roughly equivalent."

...and since Netflix sends Comcast more than it gets, therefor Netflix needs to buck up:
"Of course Netflix should pay network providers in order to get the huge amounts of bandwidth they require in order to reach their customers with sufficient quality."

But this isn't talking about transit; this is about Comcast as an edge network in this context and Netflix as a content provider sending to Comcast users the traffic that they requested.  Is there really anything more nuanced here than:

1.  Comcast sells connectivity to their end users and sizes their network according to an oversubscription ratio they're happy with.  (Nothing wrong here; oversubscription is a fact of life).
2.  Bandwidth-heavy applications like Netflix enter the market.
3.  Comcast's customers start using these bandwidth-heavy applications and suck in more data than Comcast was betting on.
4.  Comcast has to upgrade connectivity, e.g. at peering points with the heavy inbound traffic sources, accordingly in order to satisfy their customers' usage.

How is this *not* Comcast's problem?  If my users are requesting more traffic than I banked on, how is it not my responsibility to ensure I have capacity to handle that?  I have gear; you have gear.  I upgrade or add ports on my side; you upgrade or add ports on your side.  Am I missing something?

Overall it seems like a bad (and very public) precedent & shift towards double dipping, and the pay-for-play bits in the bastardized "Open Internet" rules don't help on that front.  Now, Comcast is free to leverage their customers as bargaining chips to try to extract payments, and Randy's line of encouraging his competitors to do this sort thing seems fitting here.  Basically this doesn't harm me directly at this point.  Considering the lack of broadband options for large parts of the US, though, it seems that end users are getting the short end of the stick without any real recourse while that plays out.


From: NANOG <nanog-bounces at> on behalf of Larry Sheldon <LarrySheldon at>
Sent: Saturday, April 26, 2014 4:58 PM
To: nanog at
Subject: Re: The FCC is planning new net neutrality rules. And they could enshrine pay-for-play. - The Washington Post

h/t Suresh Ramasubramanian

FCC throws in the towel on net neutrality

Forward!  On to the next windmill, Sancho!
Requiescas in pace o email           Two identifying characteristics
                                         of System Administrators:
Ex turpi causa non oritur actio      Infallibility, and the ability to
                                         learn from their mistakes.
                                           (Adapted from Stephen Pinker)

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