Observations of an Internet Middleman (Level3)

Joe Greco jgreco at ns.sol.net
Thu May 15 18:25:14 UTC 2014

> On Thu, May 15, 2014 at 1:06 PM, Ryan Brooks <ryan at hack.net> wrote:
> > On 5/15/14, 11:58 AM, Joe Greco wrote:
> >> 2) Netflix purchases 5Mbps "fast lane"
> >
> > I appreciate Joe's use of quotation marks here.    A lot of the dialog has
> > included this 'fast lane' terminology, yet all of us know there's no 'fast
> > lane' being constructed, rather just varying degrees of _slow_ applied to
> > existing traffic.
> please correct me if I'm wrong, but 'fast lane' really is (in this example):
>   'cableco' port from 'moviecompany' has 'qos' marking configuration
> to set all 'moviecompany' traffic (from this port!) to some priority
> level.

I think that's a possibility, but that we're actually talking at a
less-technical level.


> 3 x 5 == 15 ... not 10. How will 'cableco' manage this when their
> 100gbps inter-metro links are seeing +100gbps if 'fastlane' traffic
> and 'fastlane' traffic can't make it to the local metro from the
> remote one?


You've made a technical implementation issue out of a mostly non-tech

> This all seems much, much more complicated and expensive than just
> building out networking, which they will have to do in the end anyway,
> right? Only with 'fastlanes' there's extra capacity management and
> configuration and testing and ... all on top of: "Gosh, does the new
> umnptyfart card from routerco actually work in old routerco routers?"

I certainly agree.  This isn't a technical issue though.  A majority
of the people on this list should appreciate the costs associated with
building and maintaining networks, and there are lots of them to be
sure.  This is about other aspects of the business.

> This looks, to me, like nuttiness... like mutually assured destruction
> that the cableco folk are driving both parties into intentionally.

No.  I don't actually believe that.

Businesses are in the habit of making money.  There's a reasonably 
strong desire to remain in business and hopefully make a profit.  To
that end, in the capitalist model, competition serves to lower prices
and increase quality to levels that the average consumer finds

A monopoly or duopoly environment distorts that; in a market with a
constrained number of providers, the conventional capitalistic model
can perform poorly or even fail entirely - as an example, consider
the LCD price fixing scandal last decade, where prices ended up
artificially high.

The current situation is worse; the telcos and cablecos have a bunch
of incentives to prevent cannibalizing their existing profitable 
pay TV product lines... which are seeing competition from the likes 
of Netflix.  And there's even some legitimacy there:  if all of those 
customers suddenly dropped their pay TV service and went to Netflix,
the whole economic underpinnings of a cable TV company could be
thrown into disarray.  Because those pay TV subscribers are in some 
way contributing to covering the opex and capex of the cable TV 
distribution network.  That'd also be damaging to the last mile IP
connectivity, heh.

But it's hard to have an honest discussion about all of this when those
involved are so busy trying to spin things in their favor, and to keep
the status quo, etc.

... JG
Joe Greco - sol.net Network Services - Milwaukee, WI - http://www.sol.net
"We call it the 'one bite at the apple' rule. Give me one chance [and] then I
won't contact you again." - Direct Marketing Ass'n position on e-mail spam(CNN)
With 24 million small businesses in the US alone, that's way too many apples.

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