Reply to post: Meet me halfway

Indie ISP to Netflix: Give it a rest about 'net neutrality' – and get your checkbook out

James 100

Meet me halfway

The fair approach is some approximation to "meet me halfway" ... unfortunately, Brett's complaint is that halfway across the US is still a long way, so his ISP can't afford to pay its own half. (Netflix are already paying Level3 or Cogent to provide the link as far as each peering point, then expect the ISP to pay between the peering point and themselves - just like the BBC does in the UK, for that matter.)

With Comcast, the situation had been Netflix --- Level3 --- Comcast, with Netflix paying the first bit; because of the scale involved, it seems it ended up cheaper for Netflix to pay for a direct link cutting Level3 out of the picture. (A 10Gbit pipe from Netflix into Level3's backbone turns out to be quite similar to a 10Gbit pipe from Netflix into Comcast's backbone, after all.)

I don't have much sympathy for Brett's demands for Netflix to pay him. The job of an ISP is to transport traffic between its users and the appropriate peering point*s*; if you cheap out and use only a tiny local peering point, of course you will get lousy results. Peering versus transit is a tradeoff - arguably the core one to running an ISP: connect to a good major peering point like LINX, you can offload a lot of your traffic more cheaply than running it over your transit links. Or, at the two extremes, you can have no peering at all and use transit for everything (the micro-ISP approach, where you are really just reselling bandwidth from a bigger ISP) or you can peer everywhere with everyone and not pay transit fees to anyone (like Level3, Cogent and co do - the mega-ISP approach, where you are running your own vast global network).

Peer with them (yes, that costs *both* parties money: Netflix aren't getting their connection to that peering point for free any more than you are), pay a bigger ISP to do it for you (transit), or explain to your customers that you won't provide enough bandwidth. Just don't ask another ISP's customers to pay for the bandwidth you're selling to your own customers.

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