Net Neutrality...

Miles Fidelman mfidelman at
Mon Jul 14 23:15:29 UTC 2014

Steve, the key piece you're missing here is that the major broadband 
providers are both
- near-monopolies in their access areas
- content providers

Not a situation where market forces can work all that well.

Miles Fidelman

Naslund, Steve wrote:
> Net Neutrality is really something that has me worried.  I know there have to be some ground rules, but I believe that government regulation of internet interconnection and peering is a sure way to stagnate things.  I have been in the business a long time and remember how peering kind of evolved based on mutual benefit or some concept of "doing the right thing".  For example, at InterAccess Chicago, our peer policy in the late 90s was pretty much the following.
> 1.  Non-profits or educational institutions could private peer with us as long as they bore the cost of the circuit.  (this kind of connection was more beneficial to them than us).
> 2.  Comparable sized carriers got to peer with us, with each of us picking up our portions of equipment and circuit cost since it was mutually beneficial.
> 3.  We would peer with anyone at any NAP we had a mutual appearance in.
> 4.  Larger network usual would not peer with smaller networks without some sort of compensation.
> Seemed to work pretty fair at the time and we managed the backbone by watching customer traffic.  If things got congested, you paid for or peered with whoever you needed to in order to get acceptable performance for our customers.  The big guys did get to call the shots and made you pay but then again they provided the largest fastest connections so I guess it was fair enough.  It may have been the wild west in some ways but at that time everyone needed to get along because if your peering policies were unfair you would get universally shunned and then you would have real problems.  I hate that the network operators now feel the need to ask the government to step in.  When you ask for that don't be surprised that the government creates a cumbersome mess and disadvantages you in another way.  The problem is that the gov does not react at internet speed.
> I remember the first unbundling agreements and trust me when I say that ourselves and the ILEC both found the gov't rules to be nearly unworkable.  We eventually started with the telecom act framework that forced them to the table where they finally sat down with us and said "Ok, Ok, what do you really need here" and we banged out a pretty good interconnection agreement that was workable for both of us.  Well, about as workable as it gets with an ILEC.
> I think what will really drive everything is the market forces.  You either provide what your end user wants or you go out of business.  The customer could care less who pays for what pieces or what is fair because in the end, their service provider is the only one they will punish.  If Netflix becomes universally hard to connect to, then they will lose the customers.  The customer does not really care why your connectivity sucks, they just know that it does and that if someone better comes along, they are gone.
> Maybe something better would be some sort of industry group that you could become a member of and that group could resolve peering disputes through some kind of arbitration process.   The benefit of being a member could be something like the opportunity to peer with any other member on demand with some sort of cost splitting arrangement.  They would need something like a group wide interconnection agreement.  The responsibility would then be the industry and not some appointed FCC working group that spends all of their time writing convoluted gibberish.  If the group was big enough and powerful enough, the incentive to get on board would be huge.
> Steven Naslund
> Chicago IL

In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice.
In practice, there is.   .... Yogi Berra

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