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Re: Fw: Peering vs SFI (was Re: Cogent/Level 3 depeering)
P.S. would the Internet be worse off if all traffic exchange was paid for and there was no settlementThis assumes that one party wants to receive the bits more than the other party wants to send them, or visa versa. When users on network A request data stored on servers on network B, which network should bear the brunt of the cost of this transit? Why? Why shouldn't each network (no matter their size) *equally* bear the costs for transmitting the data between their respective customers that their customers both want transmitted?
Settlements are an artifact of long distance phone service where each call was metered and the bill was paid by just one party. In that environment it made sense for the network that was paid for the LD call to pay the other network a part of the fee collected for the call. But the internet traffic doesn't work that way. Users pay a fee for their unlimited connection to their ISP. Content providers pay for the bandwidth their servers require to send the content to users. Why not have each user's network bear their own costs of sending/receiving data between other networks. It's data their own customers are PAYING THEM TO TRANSMIT.
The problem is that they each want to push some of their own costs off on the other party whenever possible. Only when they are both roughly the same size can they not get away with bullying the other party into paying more than their fair share and thus we have settlement-free peering between the large "Tier 1" networks.
In every case I've seen when peering was cut off, it was always a case of a big bully trying to force a smaller party (smaller network) to pay more than their fair share of the costs of the total transmission. It doesn't matter if the smaller network is mostly content or mostly eyeballs or which direction most of the bits flow - all that really matters is that the bigger network is big enough to force the issue and make the smaller network pay for transit (if not paying them, paying *someone*) and ultimately bearing an unfair proportion of the total costs of transmitting the data between their two networks, between their two customers.
Note: I'm all for eyeball-providers to require network providers who are mostly content providers to cold-potato route their bandwidth consuming data to the eyeball-provider's connection point closest to the user requesting the data, rather than hot-potato handing it off at the connection point closest to the content provider and leaving the eyeball provider with the burden of backhauling the data to their user requesting the data. However, there's a HUGE difference between requiring cold-potato routing for content, and cutting off peering entirely and forcing the content provider to pay TRANSIT (to someone) to send the data to the eyeball provider as is apparently the current situation with L3 and Cogent.