back to article Strike one – First net neutrality gripe against an ISP is nixed by FCC

What is believed to be the first complaint that a telco is breaking America's new net neutrality rules has been rejected. The CEO of Commercial Network Services, Barry Bahrami, tried to use the US Federal Communications Commission's "informal" complaints procedure to ask the regulator to look into Time Warner Cable's peering …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I grok this one

    Essentially all one-way traffic, which is not peering at all, and you can't cache the damn things, so a fee really appropriate if reasonable. That reasonable part will certainly be a sticking point but... the FCC said at the beginning that it wishes to avoid those contracts if possible.

  2. Big Ed

    As A Consumer, I Should Not Be Forced to Pay Twice

    I pay my ISP for download bandwidth.

    My content provider pays for their bandwidth connection to the Internet; which should theoretically be an aggregate factor of all of their customers.

    1-paid for bit down 1-paid for bit recieved - an equalibrium exists.

    And under true net neutrality, all traffic should be treated equally and routed over the best connections available at the time. There are plenty of well established protocol standards to do that.

    It seems all this complainant is saying is that it's Internet traffic should not be purposefully routed over slower connections. And it appears that TWC is purposefully putting CNS traffic on slower connections.

    And TWC is saying that even though you paid once for your bandwidth to the internet, CNS needs to pay a higher fee to get taken off the purposefully slower connections. That means that CNS has to pay more, and consequently charge me more; in essense, I now need to pay twice; once for my BW, and once again to CNS,so that they can pay the TWC tax to be taken off slow connections.

    Thanks FCC for the nice screwjob; too bad you, TWC, and payolla lobbyists are the only ones to enjoy it.

    1. Donn Bly

      Re: As A Consumer, I Should Not Be Forced to Pay Twice

      In this case, It wasn't that TWC was forcing CNS traffic onto slower connections, it was that CNS wanted a FREE connection directly to TWC which TWC declined to provide.

      Peering means a mutually beneficial, bi-directional passing of data. If CNS bought a few OC3's to multiple providers in multiple cities, and agreed to route TWC traffic across them, then they would probably qualify for the free peering.

    2. s2bu

      Re: As A Consumer, I Should Not Be Forced to Pay Twice

      That's not at all what's going on here. They wanted free peering, yet they're not a "peer", aka another network provider.

    3. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: As A Consumer, I Should Not Be Forced to Pay Twice

      @Big Ed

      "And under true net neutrality, all traffic should be treated equally and routed over the best connections available at the time."

      The problem (as we've explained many times for almost a decade), is that the public internet is hardly touched by most traffic these days - most traffic goes over private arrangements. Traditional peering depended on reasonably symmetric traffic flows. Video changed all that. So if you're delivering media into the network, and you want to keep your customers, you pay.

      What this means is that for you to enforce your preferred regime of traffic rules, by necessity you will be regulating private agreements. This requires clear definitions of harm, etc, that nobody has bothered to think up yet.

      I am not arguing that you shouldn't try - although personally I would think the disadvantages outweigh any benefits - but that you should know what you are doing before you start. Otherwise, you are making it up as you go along. If you want a lasting "net neutrality" regulatory regime, that is bulletproof and passes through Congress, you need to define this stuff clearly.

  3. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    What I'm seeing...

    What I've been seeing is this tendency for some ISPs to have dropped peering agreements in favor of a smaller number of higher bandwidth links. Some traceroutes between ISPs here in eastern Iowa that used to route locally (so 5 or 10 mile round trip) and more recently would route through Des Moines (~200 mile round trip) now route through Chicago (~440 mile round trip).

    I agree with Big Ed, in principal, the cable plans all have GB limits, and overage, the customer's paid for those GBs. and the ISP should deliver. The provider of whatever service buys enough bandwidth to provide their service.

    So, the squabble you have now is some of these providers (TWC in this case) failing to maintain adequate bandwidth to these exchange points that Level 3 and Cogent (to name two) use. In Verizon's case of slowness with Level 3 (and so Netflix) (even after Netflix paid some fee to Verizon), Verizon's own diagram showed they have plenty of backhaul (I assume fiber) running from the exchange point to their backbone network, and plenty of backbone capacity, but a link at the Los Angeles exchange that runs at 100% utilization. They have an 8-port 10gbps switch with only 4 ports hooked up, they could double their capacity at this exchange point for the cost of a few patch cables and solve the problem, they just won't.

    It's tricky, because TWC (and Verizon etc.) really aren't throttling anyone, so it's probably not subject to the open internet rules. But, I do think they are being a bad actor by collecting plenty of money from their paying customers to maintain adequate connectivity, then expecting others to pay for it. If the US internet market were in better shape, it wouldn't be a problem, if your ISP failed to maintain good enough connectivity you'd move to one that does, but there's many markets here with few choices.

  4. James 100

    Need for a neutral point

    This is where neutral peering points like LINX come in; if Comcast, TWC and co were connected to a peering point like that (which happens to have a rule against running ports at 100%: you're expected to provision extra ports to relieve congestion on that side) and required to accept settlement-free peering there, there wouldn't be a problem.

    Yes, the traffic's often asymmetric - that is, after all, exactly what Comcast's whole cable network is specifically designed to deliver: it's heavily optimised for download traffic at the expense of upstream. IMO, though, Comcast's customers are already paying them to transport data from those peering points to themselves: other networks shouldn't have to pay beyond the cost of reaching the peering point itself.

    I'm not a fan of overregulation in general, but defining Internet access as including the transportation of data traffic between the end user and one or more public peering points open to all comers seems reasonable to me; if you only provide connectivity to private peering links that's not "Internet", just a big walled garden.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Need for a neutral point

      Apart from LINX etc. don't require you to peer with anyone, you peer within your current peering policy. If that means you need a peer to stay within a ratio, or meeting X Gbit/s of traffic or peer in 67 locations then that still applies :)

  5. Rick Giles

    There is no such thing as Net Neutrality

    until every home has a Wi-Fi mesh node on top of it.

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