North American Network Operators Group|
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RE: connectivity outside the US
Barry has an excellent point, and I'm glad that someone with his, um, background is helping undersea cable operators and Internet operators understand each other better. The not very extensive history of private undersea ventures has revolved around "cream-skimming" -- taking high-revenue high-capacity traffic from consortium-built cables -- and bandwidth appreciation. Essentially the private cable operators want to walk a line between having to depreciate their assets due to lack of revenue and having enough spare capacity for those times when consortium partners run short. That is, if you have a private cable, you don't want to sell all your capacity to end users because you are hoping that your competitors will run short on bandwidth, allowing you to jack up your prices. If and when you sell capacity you want it in long-term contracts, preferably for restoration of other paths so that if someone builds a competing cable or the accountants start demanding some return on investment you can do short-term "as-available" deals with government-funded research networks. Unfortunately this model does not tend to drive down prices substantially for most users, and particularly not for most users looking for an easy growth path (any kind of easily-tuned end-to-end TDM in theory should change this). Even turning unused capacity over for internal commercial purposes (and it is unclear whether UUNET would be an "internal purpose" given the joint ownership of the Gemini company) would be a huge risk as it involves tying capacity to a revenue stream, which means making hard decisions when someone wants to pay real money for that capacity when they run into a crunch. Terrestrial capacity politics have some similarities, btw, however the acquisition of rights-of-way in some places is so difficult that alot of the cross-leasing games revolve around trading capacity along various paths as much as playing the you're out of bandwidth pay us lots of money games (which AT&T does remarkably well, btw, in the U.S.). What becomes interesting is alot of new rights-of-way opening up and making it possible to offer dark fibre along them. This directly threatens the price escalation model as well as the managed-services pricing schemes bell-heads like. This is good for people building parts of the Internet. Sean.