Observations of an Internet Middleman (Level3) (was: RIP

Scott Helms khelms at zcorum.com
Fri May 16 18:57:39 UTC 2014


I'm not sure what the relationship between what an access network sells has
to do with how their peering is done.  I realize that everyone's favorite
target is Comcast right now, but would anyone bat an eye over AT&T making
the same requirement since they have much more in the way of transit
traffic?  I don't think anyone forced Level 3 into their peering agreement
with Comcast and it was (roughly) symmetrical for years before Level 3 was
contracted by Netflix.  Shouldn't Level 3 gone to Comcast and told them
they needed to change their peering or get a different contract?  Why was
Cogent able to maintain (roughly) symmetrical traffic with Comcast when
they were the primary path for Netflix to Comcast users?

Scott Helms
Vice President of Technology
(678) 507-5000

On Fri, May 16, 2014 at 2:47 PM, Blake Hudson <blake at ispn.net> wrote:

> Oh, I'm not proposing symmetrical connectivity at all. I'm just supporting
> the argument that in the context of this discussion I think it's silly for
> a residential ISP to purport themselves to be a neutral carrier of traffic
> and expect peering ratios to be symmetric when the overwhelming majority of
> what they're selling (and have been selling for over a decade) is
> asymmetric connectivity. Their traffic imbalance is, arguably, their own
> doing.
> How residential ISPs recoup costs (or simply increase revenue/profit) is
> another question entirely. I think the most insightful comment in this
> discussion was made by Mr. Rick Astley (I assume a pseudonym), when he
> states that ISPs have several options to increase revenue A) Increase price
> of their product, B) Implement usage restrictions, or C) Charge someone
> else/Make someone else your customer. I think he successfully argues that
> option C may be the best. As we've seen, the wireless market in the US went
> for option B. We've yet to see where the wireline market will go.
> Of course, the market would ideally keep ISPs' demands for revenue/profit
> in check and we'd all reach a satisfactory solution. One of the arguments,
> one I happen to support, in this thread is that there is not a free market
> for internet connectivity in many parts of the US. If there was, I believe
> Comcast would be focusing on how to provide a balance between the best
> product at the lowest cost and not on how they can monetize their paying
> customers in order to increase profits. I appreciate honesty; When a
> service provider advertises X Mbps Internet speeds, I expect they can
> deliver on their claims (to the whole Internet, and not just the portions
> of it they've decided). I understand congestion, overselling, etc. But
> choosing which portions of the internet work well and which don't is a lot
> more like censorship than service.
> --Blake

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