Richard Bennett, NANOG posting, and Integrity

Richard Bennett richard at
Mon Jul 28 18:35:39 UTC 2014

It's hard to see a revolution when you're in the middle of it. As 
consumers transition from watching multicast TV on the networks' 
schedule past time-shifting and on to VoD, the traffic demands on the 
infrastructure will grow by 25 - 40 times. Similarly, the Internet will 
shift from a tool for reading web sites and watching occasional cat 
videos to a system whose main job (from the perspective of traffic) is 
video streaming. The magnitude of the change will necessarily cause a 
re-evaluation of the norms for interconnection, aggregation, content 
placement, and protocol design.

I think it's a mistake to approach this transformation in a "nothing to 
see here, move along" manner. It's reality that packet networks are 
statistical, especially at the level of aggregation and middle-mile 
distribution. The Internet's traditional financial model is one in which 
infrastructure providers make the most serious investments and edge 
services extract the highest profits. This model may not be the most 
sustainable one, and it may not be consistent with supporting the 
upgrades the infrastructure needs for adaptation to this new 
application.  Alternative models - such as Europe's open access regime - 
fare even worse in this regard than the vertical integration model 
that's the norm in North America and East Asia.

I don't claim to have all the answers here, or even any of them, but I 
think it's important to keep an open mind and pay attention to what 
works. I'm also not enthusiastic about relying on government programs to 
upgrade infrastructure to fiber of some random spec, because the entry 
of government into this market suppresses investments by independent 
fiber contractors and doesn't necessarily lead to optimal placement of 
new fiber routes. The First Net experience is proving that to be the 
case, I believe.

In other words, the Internet that we have today isn't the best of all 
possible networks, it's just the devil we know.


On 7/28/14, 10:56 AM, William Herrin wrote:
> On Mon, Jul 28, 2014 at 1:53 AM, Richard Bennett <richard at> wrote:
>> "You've designed your network to handle the traffic demands of web browsing?
>> That's cute, now rebuild it to handle 40 times more traffic while I sit back
>> and call you a crook for not anticipating my innovation."
> Right, because how could anyone anticipate that more than a handful of
> folks might want to use 5 or 6 mbps of traffic on a 25mbps flat-rate
> product for hours at a time. How rude to suggest that an allegedly
> high speed network designed only to handle the traffic demands of web
> browsing is little different than that age old confidence scheme, the
> pig in a poke.
> Regards,
> Bill Herrin

Richard Bennett
Visiting Fellow, American Enterprise Institute
Center for Internet, Communications, and Technology Policy
Editor, High Tech Forum

More information about the NANOG mailing list