Telenor Flips on Network Neutrality

January 31st, 2011 by · 6 Comments

The tide has been turning lately against network neutrality, following the FCC's action.  Over in Europe, the Norwegian incumbent once fully embraced the concept, even voluntarily signing a NN code of conduct back in 2009.  But apparently they've changed their mind according to this ArsTechnica article, and want to charge extra for YouTube and other traffic.  Their argument, however gives me pause.  Not because it's new or anything, but because it's so obviously wrong at a factual level:

"The regime for distribution of data content is free for the sender, and this must be changed," said Telenor's CTO. "For the content providers it means that they will have to pay to make content available online, regardless of how much they send."

Free for the sender?  That's just silly.  There may be an imbalance - depends on one's point of view.  But free?  Do they honestly think Akamai doesn't charge for its services?  It's called IP transit or CDN, and it costs money.  Even Google pays, though they do much of it by building rather than buying.

Why is it that the argument over network neutrality always seems to devolve into this level of disrespect?  Why not just be honest and say that the last mile is a bottleneck because it's hard, and that those who build it deserve to make more money off of it else they won't keep building it.  That's the real argument, and it is much harder to refute than this 'free' hyperbole crap.

Or they can just take a page from Comcast's playbook, and stop peering with those networks sending them asymmetric traffic.  At least that argument manages to confuse the issue.

Categories: Government Regulations · ILECs, PTTs · Internet Traffic

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6 Comments So Far


  • carlk says:

    Since you dispute the concept of “free” even while I agree with you when pointing to content owners/producers as opposed to network infrastructure and service providers, would you disagree that certain CDN’s like Akamai, when their equipment is domiciled inside regional last miles with cables or telephones, are given a “free ride” in exchange for something else not to exclude ad revenues?

    If so, doesn’t this continue to marginalize and put greater downward pressure on IP transit costs for carrying traffic at far greater distances to end users around the globe?

    And, in doing that, doesn’t this put the internet’s promise along with its ability to sustain itself-cost wise- at greater risk?

    Hopefully, this Comcast/Netflix dispute will unveil more stealth economics which need to be addressed when looking to identify costs to produce and benefits to be realized.

    • Rob Powell says:

      Those Akamai last mile things cabinets are voluntary, they traditionally did that to cut IP transit costs. But functionally, they’re at the same spot in the process as the Level3/Comcast dispute.

  • carlk says:

    I understand what you mean by “functionally,” i.e., the position they find themselves in excluding the voluntary situations you point to, but let’s not forget that when they must purchase IP transit, they do so from a network owner like (3), in addition to “leasing” data center space from third parties as well, on top of the fact that, technically speaking from all that continues to be gleaned in the marketplace, their ability to manage large files, in the form of video is less efficient with more latency than network owners centrally caching like (3). Certainly, that has been the party line by hard core (3) owners, but their belief systems-nearly five years still counting post investments-are finally coming home to roost.

    Let’s see if that Rooster can do a little cock a doodle do on Wednesday, in order to further illustrate this point! 🙂

  • Wizard says:

    Why is it constantly overlooked that the end user is the one who is paying for the last mile in this case? The ISP is double dipping. If the bandwidth increase is costly, then they have the option of charging by the Meg or increasing the price to the user. No wonder all of the ISP are so profitable.

    • Rob Powell says:

      Because lawyers write these things, and they are trained to overlook what doesn’t support the case they are paid to make.

      Everyone wants to double dip. The problem comes when there is no market-based pathway to challenge their attempt to do so.

      • Clevus says:

        “The problem comes when there is no market-based pathway to challenge their attempt to do so.”
        There are market based pathways, we just don’t use them all that well. Don’t forget that while Comcast and others are on the supply side of the equation, we are on the demand side. We need to demand a fairer pricing and either back it up by not using the product or by demanding our government to step up and enforce “fair ” rules. Of the two, I wold prefer the former, but in actuality if the public demands the government to act it is effectively the same thing.

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