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Evening Legal Briefs

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5. Re: Evening Legal Briefs Dec 2, 2010, 14:03 Verno
 
This guy on SA had a great take on it:

I'm surprised there's even a debate over this. Peering/transit doesn't factor in to this at all.

It's really very simple. Level 3 did not go to Comcast and say, hey, we have all this Netflix traffic now, and we want to use your network to deliver it to, say, Verizon, please give it a bunch of free bandwidth because we allow traffic from you to use our network to reach, say, AT&T, even though it will now be much less than we send to you.

That is where peering/transit agreements come in to place. "Hey, we're all one big internet, lemme use your network to reach other networks (because it's faster, or I don't have a connection to the other network) and I'll do the same for you, lets just keep it more or less even or work out a price for the difference". It's really not that difficult a concept. I was actually working at UUNET in 1995 when then CEO John Sidgemore took the first steps towards charging for peering/transit and vividly remember the shitstorm that occurred then. It's all old hat now.

This dispute has nothing to do with this. The Netflix traffic that Level 3 are trying to send is requested by and for Comcast's own paid subscribers. It terminates with them. The demand only exists because their subscribers are driving it. This has nothing to do with Level 3 trying to unfairly "cram" more traffic down Comcast's throat without paying for it - Comcast is behind the demand in the first place! They are it's Raison d'ętre!

Forget about the fact that previously they were able to get Akamai to pay them extra so they could get special access. They got away with that because Akamai didn't really have a choice in the matter (and clearly, from Netflix's point of view, it didn't help much anyway). Level 3, right or wrong, is saying, "hey, assholes, your subscribers are requesting this bandwidth, we're not paying you extra for it, if anything you clowns should be paying us more for it, by the way we're one of the largest backbones in the world so go fuck yourself if you don't like it". Then things looked to get really nasty, so Level 3 paid anyway, then promptly went all out to fuck them in the court of public opinion (and real court, for that matter). Comcast is already on thin ice with their whole proposed NBC merger and they know it. This is not a precedent a provider like Level 3 wants to see set, and neither should it be one any of us do, because in the end I guarantee we're all going to be the ones paying for it.
 
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4. Re: Understanding the Level 3/Comcast spat (FAQ). Dec 2, 2010, 08:53 Verno
 
Sepharo wrote on Dec 1, 2010, 22:57:
Second, Comcast has said that it doesn't care if Level 3 is delivering video from Netflix or high-capacity files from NASA, the fact that Level 3 will be more than doubling the amount of traffic it dumps onto Comcast's network is the problem.

Bingo. I'm not concerned with what carriers, backbones, ISPs, CDNs, or intertrons charge each other. I'm concerned with what the content of the packet is. Transportation should be an equal fee. You want more money? Upgrade your line so we can dump more on it and faster.

The world would be a better place if people treated everything as data and just valued data at X figure, that's for sure.

This is what a lot of corporate entities envision for the internet and it scares the hell out of me:

http://i52.tinypic.com/ih5oc2.png
 
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3. Re: Understanding the Level 3/Comcast spat (FAQ). Dec 1, 2010, 22:57 LittleMe
 
Reading some of the well written comments in the thread below the FAQ, I can see how it can be considered a NN issue. I see both sides of the argument. L3 is certainly playing a game that Akamai could not.

Do I think NN will solve the issue? No. It could make it even worse. For example, if L3 is allowed to dump a 5:1 ratio of traffic onto Comcast's network what are the consequences? Maybe metered bandwidth usage for their customers. That might not be a bad thing, or maybe it would be.

The issue is very difficult to resolve. I can think of many different ways it could play out. But that's what markets are supposed to do, not the government. Sure, Comcast is in a position to exploit the consumer AND the content providers. That's the real problem here. The duopoly is the problem, not the semantics of how they peer with Internet backbone providers and content providers. That's why I've said all along that NN won't work and the only real solution is to open up the market and allow competition and consumer choice.

 
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2. Re: Understanding the Level 3/Comcast spat (FAQ). Dec 1, 2010, 22:57 Sepharo
 
Second, Comcast has said that it doesn't care if Level 3 is delivering video from Netflix or high-capacity files from NASA, the fact that Level 3 will be more than doubling the amount of traffic it dumps onto Comcast's network is the problem.

Bingo. I'm not concerned with what carriers, backbones, ISPs, CDNs, or intertrons charge each other. I'm concerned with what the content of the packet is. Transportation should be an equal fee. You want more money? Upgrade your line so we can dump more on it and faster.
 
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1. Understanding the Level 3/Comcast spat (FAQ). Dec 1, 2010, 22:05 LittleMe
 
And there it is. It's a peering dispute. It's not even related to Net Neutrality. L3 is just crying to the government mommy so it can suck the government tit (by getting peering deals that favor their bottom line).

Learn the difference between a corporate dispute and a genuine concern! Well, there is no real genuine concern and this is one of the better examples that can be cited? The sky is falling! The sky is falling!! Net Neutrality is going to save us all (and Level3's expenses)!! PANIC IN THE STREETS! ZOMG!

Thanks Blue/Flying Penguin.

This comment was edited on Dec 1, 2010, 22:11.
 
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