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Google Fiber: No Charge For Peering, No Fast Lanes

Soulskill posted about 5 months ago | from the will-carry-more-weight-when-their-infrastructure-ages dept.

Google 238

An anonymous reader writes "Addressing the recent controversy over Netflix paying ISPs directly for better data transfer speeds, Google's Director of Network Engineering explains how their Fiber server handles peering. He says, 'Bringing fiber all the way to your home is only one piece of the puzzle. We also partner with content providers (like YouTube, Netflix, and Akamai) to make the rest of your video's journey shorter and faster. (This doesn't involve any deals to prioritize their video 'packets' over others or otherwise discriminate among Internet traffic — we don't do that.) Like other Internet providers, Google Fiber provides the 'last-mile' Internet connection to your home. ... So that your video doesn't get caught up in this possible congestion, we invite content providers to hook up their networks directly to ours. This is called 'peering,' and it gives you a more direct connection to the content that you want. ... We don't make money from peering or colocation; since people usually only stream one video at a time, video traffic doesn't bog down or change the way we manage our network in any meaningful way — so why not help enable it?'"

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terminology (2)

Eyezen (548114) | about 5 months ago | (#47067745)

Fiber server? huh?

I realize that it's all marketing hooey, but I wish that the director of network engineering for google wouldn't mish mash terminology like that. Keep that for the marketing droids.

Re: terminology (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47067867)

He didn't. Blame Soulskill for that one.

Re:terminology (-1, Flamebait)

marcello_dl (667940) | about 5 months ago | (#47067901)

marketspeak or nerdspeak? marketing or nerdspeak?
Wait! he used the word "enable" without referring to modules or compiler options, it's MARKETSPEAK, redirect to dev/null NAO!

Re:terminology (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47068007)

I think soulskill wanted the word "Service" not "Server"

Re:terminology (4, Informative)

geekoid (135745) | about 5 months ago | (#47068053)

The phrase 'Fiber Server' does not appear in the article.
Blame the submitter.

Re:terminology (4, Interesting)

borcharc (56372) | about 5 months ago | (#47068113)

They list their peering policy as Selective in their peeringdb entry https://www.peeringdb.com/priv... [peeringdb.com] . They should have an open peering policy. Or is only open if you are a interesting content provider?

Re:terminology (4, Insightful)

thule (9041) | about 5 months ago | (#47068277)

They list their peering policy as Selective in their peeringdb entry https://www.peeringdb.com/priv... [peeringdb.com] . They should have an open peering policy. Or is only open if you are a interesting content provider?

Probably. So what is wrong with that? "Interesting" to Google Fiber would be a content provider that is starting to use up enough transit bandwidth that it makes sense to move them to a peering port. That is always how things have worked on the Internet.

Re:terminology (1)

borcharc (56372) | about 5 months ago | (#47069247)

Plenty of large network operators have open peering policies, he.net for example. Charter will has what amounts to an open peering policy (if you use a public interconnect point). Only operators that wish to be a tier 1 monopoly of the past of a bad actor like comcast stand to gain from picky peering policies.

If you want real net neutrality then open peering is an important part of the future. Every piece of traffic that goes through a peer is saved from congesting a link elsewhere.

Re:terminology (4, Insightful)

Jawnn (445279) | about 5 months ago | (#47068743)

Fiber server? huh?

I realize that it's all marketing hooey, but I wish that the director of network engineering for google wouldn't mish mash terminology like that. Keep that for the marketing droids.

Well, we could get all wrapped up in semantics, but let's not, m'kay? The real message is that Google gets it when it comes to making networks run efficiently. They aren't deliberately introducing an artificial scarcity in order to squeeze more revenue out of their "investement". They're selling a service using a 21st century business model, unlike the LEC's who still long for the days when a T1 would fetch $1,200 per month.

Re:terminology (4, Informative)

BitZtream (692029) | about 5 months ago | (#47069181)

The price of a T1 hasn't really changed all that much. Due to LEGAL requirements for the SLA associated with a T1, its unlikely to change for the foreseeable future.

Now getting far more than a T1's worth of bandwidth for far less is easy, but thats not a T1 nor does it come with the SLA that will have the provider working at 3am on a Sunday morning to get it back on line as required BY LAW.

Just because you get 1.5mbit of data doesn't mean you're getting an actual T1.

LECs are still the only ones who can offer a T1 for the most part.

If you knew what the terminology you are using actually meant you wouldn't have made such statements.

Re:terminology (1)

RevSpaminator (1419557) | about 5 months ago | (#47069057)

I find it very reassuring to know that Eyezen is perfect and never makes mistakes or typos.

Re:terminology (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47069231)

I find it very reassuring to know that Eyezen is perfect and never makes mistakes or typos.

Oh shut up, you!

Why? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47067749)

Why is there not a slashvertisment tag on this story?

Re:Why? (2)

Nexus7 (2919) | about 5 months ago | (#47067963)

'Cos is about the "do no evil, baby" thingie, not about the service?

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47068305)

Because they're not selling anything unless you live in the 0.0031% of the united states where google fiber is available.

Re:Why? (2)

gameboyhippo (827141) | about 5 months ago | (#47069119)

I don't know what you're talking about regarding .0031% of the United States. Google Fiber is available in 100% of the places where I live (a house in KC).

We don't make money from peering or colocation (4, Insightful)

c0d3g33k (102699) | about 5 months ago | (#47067811)

So what do you make money from if I become a Google Fiber customer? That's what I'm concerned about. If it's just the fair-market cost of the service I'm paying for, then that's fine. If your noble stance hides the fact that you attach yourself to the fiber like a tick to suck value by monitoring my use of the service and selling that information to the highest bidder, then we have a problem.

Who is "we"? (5, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 5 months ago | (#47067859)

If your noble stance hides the fact that you attach yourself to the fiber like a tick to suck value by monitoring my use of the service and selling that information to the highest bidder, then we have a problem.

Why do "we" have a problem?

There are plenty of people (including myself) that would happily trade the devil we know (Comcast/Quest/etc) for the unknown of reasonably priced much faster connection speed, which just happens to also give Google some aggregate data.

I'm not really a fan of Google collections - I use their services sparingly for just that reason. But I think the value tradeoff in that case is pretty decent and only Google really has the power to break through local connection monopolies.

Re:Who is "we"? (5, Insightful)

MightyYar (622222) | about 5 months ago | (#47067889)

Plus it is beyond naive to assume that Comcast/Verizon/etc are not "attaching themselves to the fiber like a tick" to sell your usage stats.

Re:Who is "we"? (1)

hubie (108345) | about 5 months ago | (#47067957)

That's pretty much the whole reason for their set top boxes.

Re:Who is "we"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47068043)

My ray of optimism is that AT&T, who have their thumbs up their butt too much to enforce their caps on DSL products, aren't going to be terribly competent at monitoring me either. It's not that Google can and that AT&T can't, it's that Google might actually be good at it.

Re:Who is "we"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47069303)

It's just an expression. "We" means "Google and I". The very sentence you quoted contains the hint that the phrase was directed at Google in the context of an imaginary conversation, not SuperKendall of the future.

Re:We don't make money from peering or colocation (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47067967)

Google makes its money by surfing the wave of new technology with advertisements on its wetsuit. If they roll out better internet access they can roll out better services which they can then stick ads on. You don't think they directly make any real amount of money from maintaining Chrome, do you? But they certainly have pushed what they can do through web technologies which in turn allows them to offer more or better services, and that ends up affecting their bottom line.

Re:We don't make money from peering or colocation (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47067973)

Google fiber charges a bit more than my previous fiber ISP, so I'd wager they are making money from their subscriptions.

Oh, and they absolutely do monitor your usage, and keep a 72 hour history of all your connections--it's on your profile page and you can view it and add in ip addresses into your firewall rules with a single click. I'd wager google is using that data internally to generate usage reports, which is probably what led them to provide co-location services free of charge to their highest-use entities. They mentioned in the email/blog post that this comes from that doing so saves them money.

Re:We don't make money from peering or colocation (2)

dagamer34 (1012833) | about 5 months ago | (#47068111)

It's pretty simple. Since this is Google, the less time waiting for webpages or video to load, the more pages you visit and the more ads you see/watch.

Re:We don't make money from peering or colocation (5, Interesting)

guruevi (827432) | about 5 months ago | (#47068333)

They make money from your monthly subscription fees etc.

The other companies do the same things, TWC, AT&T, Comcast all make money through your monthly internet bill and have been VERY profitable in doing so. The problem is that they want to keep their customers and make MORE money without spending any of their profits on upgrades or peering/colocation.

It's not like TWC/Comcast has to rip out and replace any cabling, the existing infrastructure (yes, copper) works well for speeds up to what Google Fiber is offering and more (100Mbps - 1Gbps). Even at current speeds (1-10Mbps), there is PLENTY of headroom for most people, Netflix doesn't take more than a few hundred kbps per stream. They just don't want to invest in a bigger link to Netflix/YouTube or letting them colocate in their spaces, they think that they can switch their customers who are paying for Internet into connecting to their private network (MSN/AOL style) and if anyone wants to go outside their private network, they should pay extra. And they can do this because they have been granted a monopoly by the government (by splitting up Ma Bell, they no longer needed to be regulated, the FCC has been paid for to not interfere and they have no-compete clauses with each other).

Thankfully there are plenty of startups starting to eat their market share (be it Google, Greenlight, ...) because they are offering better service than the incumbents for a heck of a lot cheaper. Now (at least in those areas) they have to start being competitive and suddenly, speeds CAN go up and prices CAN drop; the prices are not tied to actual value, they are tied to what the market will bear and since Internet has become a necessary utility for most people, the market has to bear a lot.

gigabit over cat3. Profit! (1)

raymorris (2726007) | about 5 months ago | (#47068695)

> the existing infrastructure (yes, copper) works well for speeds up to what Google Fiber is offering and more (100Mbps - 1Gbps).

Explain how you can do that and we can both become billionaires.

local cableco offers 250Mbps over copper (1)

Chirs (87576) | about 5 months ago | (#47069023)

It's not 1Gbps, but around here I can sign up for 250Mbps over copper. The local telco only goes up to 260Mbps on their fiber offering.

Re:gigabit over cat3. Profit! (1)

thule (9041) | about 5 months ago | (#47069169)

> the existing infrastructure (yes, copper) works well for speeds up to what Google Fiber is offering and more (100Mbps - 1Gbps).

Explain how you can do that and we can both become billionaires.

Easy! Just bring fiber to the neighborhood. Then install a box next to the PSTN punch down box for the neighborhood. Then run power to the box. Then install a VDSL+ DSLAM. Profit! This is how AT&T u-verse works. Problem is even AT&T has trouble getting permits for their boxes. Not to mention getting fiber to the box requires permits. I wonder why so few companies try this? Maybe this is easier said than done. Oh well.

If people want better Internet in their area, complain to the city. Try to make it easier for companies like Google Fiber to provides last mile. Complaining to the FCC will just make things worse. Can you imagine if the peering review process went smoother depending on political connections?

Uverse is 45 Mbps over new(ish) wire (3, Informative)

raymorris (2726007) | about 5 months ago | (#47069235)

Uverse maxes as 45 Mbps and requires a minimum of UTP drop. It does not work over "the existing infrastructure" (untwisted pair) unless that infrastructure has recently been upgraded.

Re:We don't make money from peering or colocation (3, Informative)

Areyoukiddingme (1289470) | about 5 months ago | (#47068715)

...and they have no-compete clauses with each other

No they don't. That would be an illegal cartel, and they know it. No, they have "gentleman's agreements" with each other not to compete. Which amounts to the same thing, but the only proof is the indirect evidence that they never actually compete, and so it's not particularly actionable in court.

And don't look now, but Ma Bell is very nearly completely reconstituted. The only piece missing is Pac Bell. Of course the FCC and FTC will remain determinedly oblivious to that fact.

Re:We don't make money from peering or colocation (1)

LordThyGod (1465887) | about 5 months ago | (#47068399)

So what do you make money from if I become a Google Fiber customer? That's what I'm concerned about. If it's just the fair-market cost of the service I'm paying for, then that's fine. If your noble stance hides the fact that you attach yourself to the fiber like a tick to suck value by monitoring my use of the service and selling that information to the highest bidder, then we have a problem.

Presumably you are in the US, and most service providers do some level of monitoring of individual connections. Nothing new. ANd then there's the NSA. Your life and all those little secrets is "That" close to being an open book.

"We don't do that" == "Don't be evil" (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47068431)

It's worth remembering that Google also used to have a "Don't be evil" tag phrase or policy, but that changed rather quickly when they discovered that being evil was very profitable.

It's a safe bet that "We don't do that" will meet the same fate, and I doubt that we'll have long to wait.

Re:We don't make money from peering or colocation (2)

melchoir55 (218842) | about 5 months ago | (#47068755)

If you use gmail and google search then you are splitting some pretty fine hairs. Ya they would have a more complete picture if they were your isp but... they know a whole hell of a lot without that (which you are willingly providing). I'd argue they already know the most sensitive information.

Re:We don't make money from peering or colocation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47068989)

Kind of naive.

Re:We don't make money from peering or colocation (1)

RevSpaminator (1419557) | about 5 months ago | (#47069131)

I'm sure Google is monitoring everything subscribers do on their network but it would be naive to think other providers don't. You just pay less for the privilege. As far as I'm concerned, if Google wants to come to my town I'd gladly volunteer to dig ditches on weekends to help run the cabling. :)

"we don't do that." (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 5 months ago | (#47067853)

Uuuh huh...

This too will change (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47067925)

as Google continues its transformation to an ISP. It is just still in the honeymoon phase.

Google wants access to all bits[it is their mission statement]. You should fully expect it act to keep others away from them as soon as it has monopoly over those bits....just like the ISPs it is advocating against right now.

This is just another instance of the enemy of my enemy is my friend.

Hedge (3, Interesting)

ADRA (37398) | about 5 months ago | (#47067929)

This is Google's hedge against increasingly higher costs for peering and neutrality breaking ISP's, so why would they then turn around and be hypocrites by ruining the very reason they're moving intro infrastucture to begin with?

That said, an affirmation that they're peering neutral just seems like a puff piece for what anyone should already assume.

Does anyone have thoughts on Google spinning this out as a not for profit and make public backbones that are truly ubiquitous and marginalized?

Re:Hedge (1)

timeOday (582209) | about 5 months ago | (#47068055)

Does anyone have thoughts on Google spinning this out as a not for profit and make public backbones that are truly ubiquitous and marginalized?

My thoughts are (A) why would they do that instead of turning a buck on it and (B) would I want them to; ultimately some company WILL be doing the day-to-day work of operating the network and arguing for rates, and they might be more like AT&T than google. Granted, I am happy with my municipal water, electricity, gas, and sewers - they just work, don't cost too much, and aren't weasels always nickle-and-diming and raising prices like Comcast. But I am skeptical about fiber reaching that point in the next 20 years.

Re:Hedge (2)

davecb (6526) | about 5 months ago | (#47068223)

Someone had to bootstrap it, and Google stepped up, for their own normal benefit. In other locations, and after some years in the current ones, Google can offer to hand the physical fibre and the things it hooks to, to the local utility company. That moves the fibre itself into a being a common carrier, and probably a regulated monopoly if the local laws require.

or nine years sooner (1)

raymorris (2726007) | about 5 months ago | (#47068727)

> probably a regulated monopoly if the local laws require.

Which means it would take, on average, nine years to approve a service improvement. That's exactly what Google does not want.

why does that necessarily follow? (1)

Chirs (87576) | about 5 months ago | (#47069077)

Write the laws such that the municipal utility must meet standards on congestion, speed, packet loss, etc. Set the fee levels high enough to allow for continual infrastructure improvement.

Around here the phone, electricity, gas, sewer, and water are all municipal or provincially-owned utilities. They seem to do just fine.

Re:Hedge (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 5 months ago | (#47068071)

".. just seems like a puff piece for what anyone should already assume."
yes, but large companies Comcast, AT&T are actively trying to take it away. So, lets not assume, shall we?

Re:Hedge (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47068077)

>Does anyone have thoughts on Google spinning this out as a not for profit and make public backbones that are truly ubiquitous and marginalized?

I think that would be their initial goal. Expensive internet is to Google's detriment. Once they've established that dominant position, I believe they will attempt to pull profit from it.

Re:Hedge (1)

jez9999 (618189) | about 5 months ago | (#47068243)

Does anyone have thoughts on Google spinning this out as a not for profit and make public backbones that are truly ubiquitous and marginalized?

A government that wasn't corrupt and swimming in fatcat money would have done this already for the public good.

Re:Hedge (1)

suutar (1860506) | about 5 months ago | (#47068841)

A number have tried, generally at the city level. The usual response is to have the state level forbid it.

Re:Hedge (5, Interesting)

MtHuurne (602934) | about 5 months ago | (#47068521)

This is Google's hedge against increasingly higher costs for peering and neutrality breaking ISP's, so why would they then turn around and be hypocrites by ruining the very reason they're moving intro infrastucture to begin with?

Android started in much the same way, to avoid telcos getting control over the content people access on their phones. While the base OS of Android is still free, a lot of the standard applications are now licensed from Google and the terms for licensing them are becoming more strict. Google's fiber is neutral today, but that doesn't mean it will stay neutral forever.

Re:Hedge (2)

Zelig (73519) | about 5 months ago | (#47069133)

why would they then turn around and be hypocrites by ruining the very reason they're moving intro infrastucture to begin with?

Run like a reformer. Rule like an incumbent.

Not saying that's what they've got in mind, but that's why you'd betray the principles you espoused while trying to gain power.

Missed opportunity to remind that this was NORMAL (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47067945)

As in traditional Slashdot Fashion, I didn't dig through The Fine Article directly, but the summary makes it sounds like Google is claiming to be doing something "extra" by peering, instead of noting this is more-or-less the way it had always been until Comcast and the like decided to start abusing their status to squeeze other companies.

Something along the lines of "Google fiber will continue to observe true Net Neutrality by refusing to discriminate the various forms of Internet Traffic, and will continue to share access to our network without preference or special prioritization; this reflects our belief that recent changes implemented by other Internet Service Providers to ignore these long-standard practices results in a weaker Internet, potentially denying individuals and small businesses the freedom and potential equal representation which has been the Internet's greatest strength."

Except, you know, decently explained. They have the opportunity to not just emphasise that (for now) they're still doing the Right Thing (Or at least close to it), but that Comcast and their ilk are lying like dogs about their intentions and desired outcomes.

This is part of their job (1)

Yew2 (1560829) | about 5 months ago | (#47068015)

Hats off to google - but not really. This is what they do. This is what I have come to expect from every other ISP until this nonsense with Netflix paying that ridiculous ransom. These big old companies have been laughing all the way to the bank having sold all these speed tiers and now that we are more fully utilizing the service - and at the expense of their other business divisions - its become a tool of extortion. Instead of optimizing their traffic flows (for the benefit of all) they are holding this simple engineering work as a hostage. Regional interconnects used to just do this with a service request.

Re:This is part of their job (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 5 months ago | (#47068105)

"Hats off to google - but not really. "
the google hate it strong with this one.

Google could easily jump on the AT&T/comcast band wagon, and made more money, instead they do the right thing.

Re:This is part of their job (2)

thule (9041) | about 5 months ago | (#47068383)

Netflix paying for peering is not ransom. Paying for peering is what happens all the time. Even if you have a "settlement-free" peering link, you will still have to pay if traffic going one direction goes outside what is considered acceptable in the contract. Netflix would rather pay for peering than increase their transit costs. Simple as that. It is a business decision. It would have been interesting if Netflix decided to cut all peering so that Netflix traffic would have flooded ISP's transit links. *Everyone* would have started to complain. What would the cable companies do in that situation? If they started to shape the traffic from Netflix, then things would get interesting. This "fast lane" talk is stupid.

Re:This is part of their job (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47068925)

Ever here of "public peering"? Just announce your BGP and automatically get peering. You don't even need to contact anyone about it. This is standard practice in many parts of the world.

traffic direction argument makes no sense (1)

Chirs (87576) | about 5 months ago | (#47069111)

If it was only about equal traffic in both directions netflix could just have all their clients send random data back to their servers and then just drop all the data. That would increase the overall network load, but it would be "balanced".

Seriously, it makes no sense that increasing the overall network load would reduce the fees being paid. That's ridiculous.

One person a bottleneck doesn't create... (2)

Obfuscant (592200) | about 5 months ago | (#47068025)

We don't make money from peering or colocation; since people usually only stream one video at a time, video traffic doesn't bog down or change the way we manage our network in any meaningful way

"One person" may only stream one video at a time, but "people" as a whole may stream thousands or tens of thousands of videos all at the same time, and that's what creates the bottleneck in the peering connection. These same "people" are the "people" who currently stream videos over Comcast et.al. and create the peering bottleneck between Comcast and Level 3.

What keeps the same thing from happening to your gateways? And what keeps the price for your service from going up as you have to add more bandwidth to your peering arrangement to deal with ever-increased levels of streaming? Or will you try charging the data source for the extra bandwidth so you don't have to charge your customers directly?

You say you don't want to make money from the peering, but you also don't want to lose money. The costs have to go somewhere, and the customer is the most likely recipient.

Re:One person a bottleneck doesn't create... (1)

thaylin (555395) | about 5 months ago | (#47068143)

What costs? You have not made a case that there is extra costs. If the users request it and are within their bandwidth then there is no extra cost then what is expected.

Re:One person a bottleneck doesn't create... (1)

Obfuscant (592200) | about 5 months ago | (#47068481)

What costs? You have not made a case that there is extra costs.

If you set up a peering connection for a certain amount of bandwidth, and then have to install new hardware to increase the bandwidth because more people are trying to use high-bandwidth low-latency services through that gateway, there is a cost. I shouldn't have to "make a case" for something so obvious.

If the users request it and are within their bandwidth then there is no extra cost then what is expected.

The user does not get a guaranteed bandwidth through the peering connection. That's absurd. And it's not a single user we're talking about, it is the aggregate of all the users who may be streaming one video each, but all together managing to overload the peering connection.

Re:One person a bottleneck doesn't create... (2, Interesting)

thaylin (555395) | about 5 months ago | (#47068857)

So you are saying you did not setup your network to handle the capacity you promised your users? The case you have to make is *why* it is the companies fault, and not yours as an extension of your users.

Notice I used users, not user, as in the plural, not singular

Re:One person a bottleneck doesn't create... (4, Interesting)

ArhcAngel (247594) | about 5 months ago | (#47068271)

"One person" may only stream one video at a time, but "people" as a whole may stream thousands or tens of thousands of videos all at the same time, and that's what creates the bottleneck in the peering connection. These same "people" are the "people" who currently stream videos over Comcast et.al. and create the peering bottleneck between Comcast and Level 3.

It is Comcast [level3.com] creating the bottleneck and it is done deliberately. They want you to believe it is Netflix that has the problem but they could have solved it for their entire customer base for ~$30K according to Level 3. And Netflix offered to host their own servers inside of Comcast's network which would eliminate the bottleneck altogether but Comcast refused instead demanding tribute before allowing more Netflix traffic.

Re:One person a bottleneck doesn't create... (1)

Obfuscant (592200) | about 5 months ago | (#47068517)

It is Comcast creating the bottleneck and it is done deliberately

That's what Level 3 says. Level 3 has a dog in the fight, so I'd not accept what they say at face value just as one should not accept what Comcast says at face value.

"Deliberately", in this case, means "Comcast isn't paying for more bandwidth", which applies to all traffic through that gateway, not just Netflix.

Re:One person a bottleneck doesn't create... (1)

sabri (584428) | about 5 months ago | (#47068645)

It is Comcast creating the bottleneck and it is done deliberately.

Deep inside that article, hidden in the flood of useless words, is the real complaint:

These ISPs break the Internet by refusing to increase the size of their networks unless their tolls are paid

Ah, so that is the true complaint. Michael Mooney is not complaining about their bandwidth being throttled, or about Comcast not willing to peer with them. Michael Mooney is complaining that a business is not willing, or unable, to increase the size of their infrastructure, at a significant cost, to accommodate for OTT (over the top) providers such as Netflix and Youtube.

While it is most certainly valid for Comcast users to expect reasonable upgrades, it is most definitely not up to Level 3, Netflix or anyone else to dictate to Comcast whether or not to invest in a particular area.

Re:One person a bottleneck doesn't create... (3, Informative)

ArhcAngel (247594) | about 5 months ago | (#47069005)

But Comcast has oversold its actual capacity creating the disparity and thus responsible for its occurrence. Then going to its customer's other vendors and insisting they pay extra to provide the bandwidth their customers have already paid for.

Re:One person a bottleneck doesn't create... (1)

suutar (1860506) | about 5 months ago | (#47069021)

Michael Mooney is complaining that a business is not willing, or unable, to increase the size of their infrastructure, at a significant cost, to accommodate for OTT (over the top) providers such as Netflix and Youtube.

For providers and data demanded by Comcast customers. I also complain about that, but I'm not in a position to get quoted for it. Does that make it less valid a complaint?
Keep in mind, every bit Netflix ever sent me was at my request. I am responsible for that traffic. Why is Comcast trying to charge someone else for my choice?

Re:One person a bottleneck doesn't create... (1)

Ichijo (607641) | about 5 months ago | (#47068771)

It is Comcast [level3.com] creating the bottleneck and it is done deliberately.

Not exactly. They aren't really creating the bottleneck (that's being done by their customers), they're just being negligent in expanding their peering capacity to alleviate it.

Or you could make the case that they are attacking the bottleneck from both the supply and demand sides instead of just the supply side. By charging Netflix a peering fee, they are increasing the price of Netflix which reduces demand for data from Netflix, partially eliminating the bottleneck. Then they use the revenue to increase their bandwidth to Netflix, further eliminating the bottleneck. The demand curve [wikipedia.org] illustrates how this all works.

Re:One person a bottleneck doesn't create... (1)

ZombieBraintrust (1685608) | about 5 months ago | (#47068809)

No from what I read. They had the infrastructure. They were just not willing to turn it on. After they got a check. They turned it on and overnight the problem went away.

Re:One person a bottleneck doesn't create... (1)

ArhcAngel (247594) | about 5 months ago | (#47069065)

If I am an ISP and I can handle 10 TB of data to the backbone and I have 100 customers all with 1 TB connections it is my fault the 10 TB peer gets hosed 99% of the time because I have sold more capacity than I have available and it is my responsibility to correct the problem. This is what Comcast and other US ISP's have done.

Re:One person a bottleneck doesn't create... (1)

halltk1983 (855209) | about 5 months ago | (#47068479)

It appears that you may not have read the article. They let the providers put servers in their racks at the datacenters, and give them free power and connection to their networks, and if there end up being a bottleneck, it'll be the connections from the servers to the switches, in which case they'll simply allow the provider to put in more servers. It's like the old cache servers that companies would run to make their T1 seem snappier, or the old NNTP servers that they hosted in the past to lower their outside connectivity load.

Re:One person a bottleneck doesn't create... (1)

Obfuscant (592200) | about 5 months ago | (#47068573)

It appears that you may not have read the article. They let the providers put servers in their racks at the datacenters,

That's not peering, that is co-location. I was responding to the claim that they don't make money from peering.

Adding servers for colo means Netflix is paying more for better service to their customers and not expecting their ISP to pass the costs on, or for their customer's ISP to pay the extra cost. That is the correct way to allocate the costs, but peering doesn't do it that way.

Re:One person a bottleneck doesn't create... (1)

halltk1983 (855209) | about 5 months ago | (#47069255)

You peer with other carriers, not content providers, typically. Exceptions are if the content provider happens to also be in the same data center, or if they are also a carrier, ala Redbox / Verizon, Comcast / NBC, Time Warner, Google / Youtube... So they allow for no-cost peering agreements with the carrier / content provider, and also appear to allow for no-cost co-location. They probably used the word "peering" because it happens to be a hot topic in the news, and they are providing contrast to all the other content provider / carrier combos in that they are working with other people to keep costs down.

Re:One person a bottleneck doesn't create... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47069039)

Or will you try charging the data source for the extra bandwidth so you don't have to charge your customers directly?

Why do you consider that the data source is the one that's costing you more money? It's your damned customers requesting data that gets the ball rolling - that data isn't being pushed onto your network unsolicited, therefore your customers need to suck it up and pay for the data they're requesting.

Make no mistake - Comcast's customers *are* paying Comcast more money as a result of this paid peering nonsense. It's just that the payment is being collected by Netflix, who also gets saddled with the bad PR for it.

Re:One person a bottleneck doesn't create... (2)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about 5 months ago | (#47069193)

Theoretically, you are correct.

In practice, "people" as a whole are mostly streaming the same videos -- it's the herd mentality. So if Google peers directly to the data provider, the data crosses the switch once, and then gan be cached locally to serve the streamers.

When done correctly, streaming raraely causes a bottleneck. The problem between Comcast and L3 is that Comcast's peering switches haven't been upgraded in a decade or so, so ANY meaningful amount of traffic traversing these switches will cause a bottleneck. Streaming, torrenting, playing online games, downloading every linux distro known to man, etc. How Comcast gets around this is that they have other "special" peering agreements with the most common providers of high bandwidth material. So SOME streaming movies, games, etc. will now be zippy on their network, but the stuff going through L3 will still be bottlenecked.

And yes, they have to do continual upgrades to the peering equipment and not just to the last mile -- but this is what the customer subscription increases are already going towards, isn't it? The peering switches just need ONE upgrade for all the subscribers in the area; the costs to keeping these pipes as current as their other "special" ones are pretty minimal, and are part of the costs of doing business. But Comcast has decided they can charge their peers, their peers' customers, AND their customers for the same thing. Makes me wonder where the money is actually going, as it doesn't appear to be going into infrastructure.

Conversely, Google is writing down the infrastructure costs as basic costs to absorb in order to grow their market -- advertising and data metrics. They see that every time they invest in improving the infrastructure, they end up taking in more money.

So maybe the problem is with Comcast's business model? They have the money coming in based on the size of their target market; maybe they're trying to get around the saturated market segment they're stuck with by marketing their customers as a service.... Wal Mart style.

Misdirection (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47068057)

As I understand it, peering is the problem that Netflix is having with the ISPs. The problem is that the ISPs refuse to upgrade their equipment to allow the peering to run at fast enough speeds - basically the peering connection is too slow at the ISP end, and that's where the bottleneck is, not the "last mile". Simply saying that Google allows peering doesn't address the issue at all.

Re:Misdirection (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47069123)

Really? If the problem is old equipment, why did it suddenly get really fast when Netflix paid their extortion?

Google (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47068061)

So.....it has come to this....

Re:Google (1)

ArhcAngel (247594) | about 5 months ago | (#47068181)

You forgot the link [xkcd.com]

Is it sad that-- (5, Insightful)

satsuke (263225) | about 5 months ago | (#47068101)

Is it sad that we've come so far as to have a company make a press release assuring customers and peering partners, that they will continue to abide by industry practices that have existed for decades?

Re:Is it sad that-- (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47068373)

>implying there are any industry standards left in the US that are in favor of the customer

Re:Is it sad that-- (2)

thule (9041) | about 5 months ago | (#47068401)

Paying for peering *never* ever happened before Netflix? Really?

Re:Is it sad that-- (2)

T.E.D. (34228) | about 5 months ago | (#47068737)

Is it sad that we've come so far as to have a company make a press release assuring customers and peering partners, that they will continue to abide by industry practices

Not assuring so much as adversiting. Like our old industry practices are now a great new differentiator between Google and their competitors.

This is precisely how Google kicked their search engine competitors to the curb 15 years ago; by treating their users as their customers who have choice, rather than as sheep to be sheared. The sad thing is that this is apparently some amazingly complex business concept that is far too exotic for typical companies to wrap their greedy little minds around.

Peering is good... (3, Interesting)

thule (9041) | about 5 months ago | (#47068217)

...even if some party has to pay for it. Google is an ISP so their peering traffic is not equal. It is good for them and their customers to peer with as many popular content providers as possible. Connect eyeballs to content. I keep pointing out that Yahoo! did this years ago with huge success. It was reported that Yahoo! only payed for half of their total bandwidth requirements. That is, only half of their total bandwidth requirements were going over transit. This was years ago. "Fast lanes" are not new.

The difference with Netflix is that they had to pay the ISP for their peering. This is new. Even so, it still may work out for them. The the peering costs may still be cheaper than their transit or using a third party CDN. Like Google Fiber pointed out, peering does not prioritize traffic, it just makes links to networks. If peering is an unfair fastlane, then the Internet has always been "unfair" since peering is an integral part of the Internet.

So why does Netflix have to pay? It is called supply and demand. The market pressures are such that Netflix *wants* to pay to get their data delivered directly. I suppose they could have backed off and stopped using any sort of CDN with peering to ISPs. But then their transit costs would have gone up. I suppose Netflix could have done this and really slammed the ISP's transit connections until *every* customer was complaining about terrible performance. Netflix decided it was less expensive and better for their customers to pay ISP's for peering. Is this fair? As the saying goes, "Life is not fair." Deal with it.

The best way to deal with the situation is for cities to encourage new ISP's to build out last mile connections. Make it easy without a lot of red tape. Phone companies and cable companies will yell and scream, but there is nothing they can do legally. It is up to the city to manage right-of-way so that things don't get messy. So instead of complaining to the FCC, go to your city council and see what can be done to encourage Google Fiber to come to your city.

Because they compete (5, Insightful)

Average (648) | about 5 months ago | (#47068541)

"So why does Netflix have to pay?"

Because Netflix competes with Comcast/TWC/AT&T's ka-ching buckets-of-money-spinning video distribution platforms. If Netflix gets popular enough, Comcast is reduced to a dumb internet pipe for $50 a month (profit of $5), not a primarily a video provider ($100+ bills, profits of $20+).

Which is the problem. If Comcast *were* an internet-tube provider (only), they'd generally be pro-peering. They might try to charge Netflix some (they like money), if the market would bear it, but mostly it's to their advantage to peer. However, most of the ISPs in the US are not pure-internet providers, so if Comcast video can use Comcast internet to hamstring Netflix, that's a natural reaction.

Re:Because they compete (1)

Ravaldy (2621787) | about 5 months ago | (#47068821)

I would mod this up if I had points.

Understandably the big providers are trying to protect their large revenue numbers and charge for the fairly expensive infrastructure they have put in place. I don't believe providers should be allowed to ask the content providers to pay for their infrastructure. Instead I believe usage of the infrastructure by users should pay for the ongoing requirement to upgrade and innovate. This would also provide incentives for ISPs to better their infrastructures by implementing peering as it would be money in the bank. Currently the ISPs are acting like a government and just taxing everybody which doesn't promote advances in the infrastructure.

Obviously everybody on /. is against bandwidth metering with BS arguments such as bandwidth abuse and lost of incentive to grow the systems in place. At the end of the day the users will end up paying for the extra cost whether it's through bandwidth metering or fix cost you can't understand. At least with metering you can control the cost just like you do with water and electricity.

I support metering, with caveats (2)

Chirs (87576) | about 5 months ago | (#47069197)

I would support a model that actually reflects the real costs involved...that is a fixed monthly cost for the physical connection, and a variable per-GB charge.

The reason why most people don't like bandwidth metering is that the ISPs charge way too much per GB at the retail level. And if you lump the connection costs in with the bandwidth costs then the high-usage people end up subsidizing the low-usage people. It's much more fair to break out the fees separately (the way my gas/electrical/etc bills do it).

I think if end-users were charged a per-GB rate that was more in line with the wholesale rate plus a reasonable amount of profit then there would be minimal complaints.

Re:Because they compete (1)

thule (9041) | about 5 months ago | (#47069007)

Based on what is happening with video these days, I don't know that video is all that profitable. People are not subscribing to video anymore and the content providers are raising their rates, which causes higher sub costs, which causes more people to stop subscribing. On the other hand, everyone wants Internet for their iTunes video. The only real money in video is live sports.

The main point of your response is that it isn't fair. So what? Netflix is willing to pay for now. If you want real movement on this issue doesn't wine to the FCC, get involved with your local government to encourage more last mile providers. Heck, why don't *you* buy some fiber and setup your own ISP. Setup some high speed wireless links. Join a mesh meetup or create one. Beam to a block and run fiber down the boarder of the properties. That is what we did with some high rise MDU's.

Re:Peering is good... (2)

Shatrat (855151) | about 5 months ago | (#47069121)

The the peering costs may still be cheaper than their transit

Comcast was also degrading Netflix's Transit providers, Cogent and L3.

So why does Netflix have to pay?

It is called extortion. Comcast was willing to impair their own customer service to make Netflix pay up.

ya (1)

beefoot (2250164) | about 5 months ago | (#47068293)

> since people usually only stream one video at a time, video traffic doesn't bog down or change the way we manage our network in any meaningful way
Ahem -- we had 7-8 people cramming into a 3 bedroom house during college time. Yes, we would have streamed only one video at a time per person.

Servers (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about 5 months ago | (#47068393)

So do they still ban residential users from running servers?

Servers (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47068425)

Nope. They explicitly permit non-commercial servers. From the Fiber use policy: https://support.google.com/fiber/answer/2659981?hl=en&topic=2440874&ctx=topic:
"However, personal, non-commercial use of servers that complies with this AUP is acceptable, including using virtual private networks (VPN) to access services in your home and using hardware or applications that include server capabilities for uses like multi-player gaming, video-conferencing, and home security."

Muni Fiber (5, Insightful)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 5 months ago | (#47068429)

Municipal fiber is the way to go. It would change the world and give the US economy a badly needed shot in the arm.

ISP costs have risen four times faster than inflation. We're on the road to having just two national providers. When that happens, costs will go up even faster.

1) Designate ISPs as common carriers.
2) Break up any ISP that provides content.
3) Take a bow for having brought about the digital revolution part 2.

Unfortunately, our elected jackoffs are too beholden to corporate money to do anything like this. Obama, who was supposed to be the first president who "got" the Internet, turned out to be the worst of the bunch, appointing telecom lobbyist Tom Wheeler has head of the FCC, and they're not poised to put the last nail in the Net Neutrality coffin. Obama is a failed president on that count alone.

Re:Muni Fiber (1)

Shatrat (855151) | about 5 months ago | (#47069209)

I think you're right about items 1 2 and 3, but not necessarily municipal fiber. There are some good examples out there, but only because the alternatives are so incompetent/complacent/debt-ridden. If we had a more healthy telecom environment in the USA, nobody would give a damn about Municipal fiber, or Google fiber for that matter. Including Google.

Google please have my babies! (-1, Offtopic)

nhat11 (1608159) | about 5 months ago | (#47068535)

If I was a girl lol

Free peering (1)

danbob999 (2490674) | about 5 months ago | (#47068579)

Peering/Transit is a complex economic topic but it is never free. You have to pay for the hardware. I can say that everyone is free to peer with me for free. They *only* have to bring a Gigabit Ethernet cable to my basement. By the way, I live on a tiny island away from the civilization. Also, if my 8 ports switch is full, they have to buy me another switch.

Re:Free peering (1)

Shatrat (855151) | about 5 months ago | (#47069251)

You're conflating Transport and Peering. Or possibly Remote Peering and Peering.
If your router is in your basement, that explains your grasp of the Internet.
If your router is in 1 Wilshire, 350 Cermak, or 111 8th, Peering is effectively free.

Ohhh, that's what it said. (1)

OhSoLaMeow (2536022) | about 5 months ago | (#47068757)

Silly me. I first glanced at the headline and read "No Charge For Peeing" and I thought, "Oh, good. They're doing away with pay toilets.

Not enough coffee. Yeah, that's the ticked.

Please Please Please google fiber come to my city (1)

The Cisco Kid (31490) | about 5 months ago | (#47068783)

Sigh.. its not even on their "considering" list.

Nor any other city in Michigan. BAH.

Obvious interests aside, he makes some good points (1)

Dega704 (1454673) | about 5 months ago | (#47068877)

Peering is a prime example of an argument that would not even be taking place if there were any real competition among ISPs. I know there are differing opinions about it even among net neutrality advocates; but the way I see it, if an ISP advertises a particular connection speed, it is their responsibility to ensure that users paying for it are getting that speed for any service or website they access; assuming that said service or website is providing sufficient capacity on their end, which Netflix is obviously doing. On top of that, Internet providers have no right to complain about bandwidth usage when content providers are creating a huge demand for the service that they are selling. It would be interesting to poll customers to see how many of them shelled out for faster connections purely because of streaming services such as Netflix.

Who needs peering when you host content servers? (1)

InvalidError (771317) | about 5 months ago | (#47068985)

Hosting servers on your own network instead of peering achieves roughly the same goal; all it changes is which network the server resides on but that server still needs to connect to the network and effectively acts as a substitute for extra direct-peering links to the content provider.

By skipping the common NNI between CDN/peers/content-provider, the on-net content servers/caches effectively bypass congestion at the NNI layer and act as a fast lane. Different spin, same net effect.

Google knows that song fairly well since they provide content cache appliances to ISPs for Youtube.

Just don't dare run a web server... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47069163)

Good to hear this kind of policy but they're still pretty draconian with their home-based server policy

Restoring Net Neutrality (1)

Billy the Mountain (225541) | about 5 months ago | (#47069237)

All it takes to restore net neutrality is enough people to boycott those businesses that seek to compromise it.
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