back to article Unmasked: Euro ISPs raided in downloads strangle probe

Three internet providers raided by European g-men probing allegations of throttled download speeds have been named. The officials burst uninvited into the head offices of Deutsche Telekom, Orange and Telefonica, which operates O2 in the UK, as part of an investigation into alleged anticompetitive behaviour. The trio are accused …

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Tiered internet?

Can't help but think this is the beginning of tiered internet?

The US was busy trying to make it legal some time ago, i don't recall how (if) that ended, while over here it's illegal and they managed to catch some ISPs doing it anyways.

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Re: Tiered internet?

Can't exactly see that the Internet isn't tiered, given the fact that backbone providers e.g. Level 3 charge differently from peering points e.g. Linx who charge for bandwidth differently from the way a datacentre charges server operators , who charge for bandwidth differently from the way a retail ISP charges retail customers for connections to premises.

What this seems to be about is not all peering arrangements being equal.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Tiered internet?

"while over here it's illegal and they managed to catch some ISPs doing it anyways."

In what way is it illegal? Care to point at the legislation that prohibits it?

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WTF?

If I'm reading this correctly.....

The various ISPs refused to upgrade their cogent links?

Given that cogent would probably have charged them for it isn't that fair enough?

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Re: If I'm reading this correctly.....

Your not.

Verizon has lots of eyeballs, the eyeballs _pay_ Verizon to see things on the Internet.

Verizon has two choices, peer with the content so their eyeballs can see it cheaply, pay a higher rate for transit or transit themselves.

Peers usually want a reciprocal agreement, the same amount of traffic both ways or sometimes cheaper than normal asymmetrical connections because it can make good business sense on a case by case basis.

However in this case Verizon has another desire to sell they're own content to their captive eyeballs and make more cash, so if Netflix service is poor, it means more churn and more eyeballs will go with their offering making them more money.

This is classic net neutrality. ISPs are becoming content providers and they want to sell you their content as it is cheap to provide, therefore, making competitors offering look bad with latency or bursty traffic, means they sell more of their own.

Cogent has always been content heavy, selling cheaper connections to web hosting companies for instance, where as the networks providing the transit to ISPs, such as L3 have balanced traffic which has resulted in peering "issues" between Cogent and big transit providers. This means Cogent will most likely have free or low rates for peers with lots of eyeballs as; it makes it easy for them; they won't have to negotiate with transit providers; it saves the other party money too.

Verizon seems to be forgetting that this is not a normal settlement free peering issue as they're not transiting the traffic, the eyeballs are their customers.

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ISPs are becoming content providers

More like ISPs and Content companies are buying each other / merging into giant conglomerates.

You think the cable TV company want you to watch netflix?

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Anonymous Coward

They are saying two things.

1 - Lots of providers probably have over-capacity networks

2 - A few chose to deal with this by managing traffic, on any parts of any network owned/operated by them, from certain competitors giving it a lower priority on those areas of the network thus making competitors x,y and z look shoddy.

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WTF?

1 - Lots of providers probably have over-capacity networks

WTF?

2 - A few chose to deal with this by managing traffic, on any parts of any network owned/operated by them, from certain competitors giving it a lower priority on those areas of the network thus making competitors x,y and z look shoddy.

How is Cogent a competitor? How big are these companies US operations?

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So basically Cogent's 'throttling' accusation boils down to 'they aren't running their business the way I think they should *whine whine*'. Those networks might be slow but it's not due to throttling, it's due to poor infrastructure. Cogent should end up fine for being an ass.

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Facepalm

Evidence

The raids are to gather evidence that the Cogent-to-enduser streams are being throttled, while the ISP-to-enduser streams aren't. If there's a significant difference, Cogent has a case.

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all about Congent charging

So Congent makes money by charging the ISP to deliver data. The more data they deliver the more $ they make. At the moment Congent seem to have signed up a bunch of services in to their CDN and are busily trying to sue all the ISP's in to allowing them to charge the hell out of them.

http://www.multichannel.com/distribution/verizon-cogent-engage-peering-spat/144025

This has nothing to do with net neutrality (as all traffic regardless of application type is subject to link congestion) and much more to do with Congent trying to turn a quick buck and they are relying on consumer ignorance (and outcry to the ISP) in order to force the position.

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all about Netflix, methinks

I suspect what's happening here is the same as the bunfight in the U.S. between Cogent and Comcast+Verizon.

It's not that Cogent wants to charge - quite the opposite. It's Comcast/Verizon/etc wanting to charge Cogent more, and not adding more capacity until it pays up. Cogent's point is that it's just trying to deliver data (Netflix movies) to Comcast/Verizon/etc subscribers, that Verizon/Comcast/etc have already been paid by their customers for delivery of said data, and that Verizon/Comcast/etc are wanting to be paid twice.

I think Cogent has a valid point. Its revenue comes from Netflix, not the ISPs. The ISPs (Verizon/Comcast/etc) have indeed charged their customers for data delivery - quite handsomely.

And it's noteworthy that both Verizon and Comcast are in the business of selling movies to their customers. I wonder if the same is true for the European ISPs mentioned (DT etc).

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Re: all about Netflix, methinks

"It's not that Cogent wants to charge - quite the opposite"

They charge based on disproportionate traffic. CDN'ing a video service (like netflix) actually causes the receiver to pay more.

http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/level-3-issues-statement-concerning-internet-peering-and-cogent-communications-55014572.html

There has been a move to outflank the telcos by shifting the charging model from the Application provider to the network provider. A similar situation occurred in the UK when the BBC switched all its hosting to L3. There was a mass consolidation in the ISP world, killing many boutique ISPs leaving the major 5 that we have today = less customer choice.

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If the claims are true...

...then I hope they pay a high price for throttling traffic.

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Anonymous Coward

wtf

"These telcos have refused to upgrade the capacity of the interconnections, resulting in poor quality of service to our customers and theirs," he said.

not being funny here but they are the isp's own networks and right or wrong they can do what the fuck they like with them. Am I the only one that understands capitalism, go tell your milkman who he needs to delivery the milk to you first, then tell him he is being unfair, maybe also ask why your children have an uncanny resemblance

Not sure what kind of tree hugging liberal world you think we all live in, it's all about money.

the internet used to be a funky butterfly (bbs, dial-up modems), now it is a dirty stinking moth used to make money out of the retarded masses who love a bargain and will swallow any shit the media wants them to.

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Headmaster

Re: wtf

Now take a deep breath, put down Ayn Rand for a second and think about what is happening here.

A) Something happens, there is a backdrop, which El Reg does not explain.

B) Cogent: Upgrade your interconnects! (This presumably means more money to Cogent)

C) ISP: No, we won't (They leave their customers with sucky service but need to pay less to Cogent)

D) Cogent: Then we will have to drop traffic, idiots!!

E) I don't know what...

F) ATLAS SHRUGS!!!111!!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: wtf

never heard of Ayn Rand, will be reading soon though as her interest in philosophy is curious to me.

Ta

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FAIL

Re: wtf

not being funny here but they are the isp's own networks and right or wrong they can do what the fuck they like with them. Am I the only one that understands capitalism

But you don't understand peering agreements, it seems. Once you enter one, you're legally obligated by contract to honor whatever you agreed to. In peering agreements, it is to free-flow the packet deliveries.

Not sure what kind of tree hugging liberal world you think we all live in, it's all about money.

I smell a conservatard.

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Re: wtf

Most righties love Ayn Rand until they learn she was an atheist. Pick and choose the bits of ideology you prefer I suppose to keep up that narrative that God wants me to be rich.

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Presumably independent action would be legal...

but if the accused companies agreed or in any way worked collectively to set terms they could be in big trouble.

I should remind everyone that breach of competition law in Europe can lead to fines of upto 10% of global annual revenue.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Presumably independent action would be legal...

true, but lets be honest 10% is less than the tax the pay

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Re: Presumably independent action would be legal...

Revenue not profit, and it is global group revenue too. For major international companies it can easily be billions or even tens of billions although I'm not there have yet been Multi-billion Euro fines yet but MS's fine was over a billion.

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Re: Presumably independent action would be legal...

You only pay tax on profit usually. The 10% fine is on global turnover. Given the size of the margins in the telecoms world a fine of that size would turn a healthy profit into a stinking loss and probably result in thousands of job losses.

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Summary

Long story:

Cogent have tried to alter the Internet bandwidth market by offering very cheap bandwidth to content providers and attempting to make up the difference on peering arrangements. Cogent NEED other ISP's to upgrade the links for their business model to work - if they don't, they end up with unhappy customers and a loss making business. Cogent don't have the backbone to route around problems or contractual issues, so every dispute is customer affecting and usually at the most inconvenient moment.

Short story:

Cogent are at the bottom of the ISP heap - they behave like a tier-1 ISP without the tier-1 infrastructure and all the bad things you may heard about them are true. They offer cheap bandwidth but remember to keep your lucky coin handy to toss to see if you will be able to access the next link you click on.... Hopefully you're not depending on that click to make money.

Disclaimer: I don't work for an ISP/telco - I work for a company that has about a dozen Cogent circuits in North America and has spent a lot of time troubleshooting niggly issues that you don't see with more reliable ISP's and all come down to over-subscription at peering points..

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predictable

Oh look another chance for Brits and Euros to take the piss out of Yanks. Personally I could give a flying f__k about Cogent and just consider this another pissing contest between a bunch of corporate %1ers that could care less about nationalism.

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Peering spat

This really is a classic peering spat -- at least the one with Verizon is. There is no throttling involved. Verizon and Cogent currently have a no-cost peering agreement; traditionally, for this type of agreement, the traffic going in both directions is roughly similar. If it becomes very assymetrical, the peer sending more traffic pays transit fees. Cogent has not done so, so Verizon declined to add more (I assume gigabit or 10 gigabit ethernet) ports at the Verizon/Cogent peering points. The ports they do have now hit 100% utilization. Cogent then began falsely characterizing this overutilization as throttling, but luckily this falsehood did not gain traction here in the US at least.

Cogent can either pay Verizon, figure out some way to even the traffic out, or go pay for plenty of bandwidth at open internet exchange points. It sounds like Cogent now wants to do neither one.

I'm GUESSING it's the same situation with these european ISPs, so hopefully these complaints go nowhere, ISPs should not do discrimnatory throttling, but they also should be free to obtain an internet connection however they'd like, not be forced into maintaining free peering if they don't wish to.

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