@ Pro net neutrality people. We have to deal with legitimacy of paid peering.

So over the past few days I've been checking through the comments section on one of Dan Rayburn's posts about the recent netflix/verizon spat:


Dan is FIRMLY in the camp that sees paid peering as both legitimate and positive. He think's it's perfectly fine for netflix to pay comcast or verizon directly to send traffic to their network, because that is how content distribution networks have been operating for awhile now. And as far as the status quo goes, he seems to be right. Here is a video giving a broad overview of the issues that occurred with the level 3/comcast dispute from a few years ago.

level 3 has a cdn that can deliver content to comcast customers, akamai has a cdn that can deliver content to comcast. The connections from the cdn to the ISP are either paid connections (paid peering), or settlement free peering where a tier 1 provider like level 3 likely gives comcast a break on the transit costs for not having to pay comcast directly for their direct connection to comcast from their CDN service.

Before, netflix would just pay akamai or level 3, and those companies would in turn send traffic to comcast or verizon or whoever (when connecting to comcast, they paid a fee). Now netflix has their own cdn, and wants to expand its reach. That makes sense, why pay akamai or level 3 to deliver content to an ISP when you can deliver it yourself, presumably at lower cost. But netflix also wants settlement free peering. Some ISPs like cablevision and google fiber have engaged in settlement free peering with netflix CDN which I approve of and think is a fantastic thing, but when they tried to get the same deal with comcast and verizon, they were told to take a hike.

Most of us here think that's unreasonable, we think that upgrading interconnects and peering points should be something our ISP pays for with part of the money we pay them every month. But Verizon and comcast and at&t do not. And if we want to say that paid peering is a bad model, we need to come up with arguments about why not just netflix should be able to connect to verizon and comcast at no cost, but other cdn's like akamai and level 3 as well.

Dan's argument is that companies like comcast and netflix have been getting paid for other companies to have direct connections to their network for awhile now, so why should it change? Why should netflix get to connect to comcast and send a bunch of traffic for free, when akamai does not?

Is there something about the current state of the market that makes paid peering detrimental to the free functioning of content distribution costs? What are our reasons for being against paid peering on the ISP side? Potential abuses in charges down the line?

We need to come up with a coherent answer to these questions. Hopefully someone here who knows more has more insight. I'm just a lay person on these matters, and I am barely scratching around the edges of what is going on.