If you thought the flashpoint at the intersection of netflix, net neutrality, and peering had gone away, think again. This time it’s Verizon and Cogent mixing it up. Apparently, Verizon has been neglecting to upgrade its peering connection with its smaller rival, and it is now overflowing.
As Netflix has rolled out its own CDN infrastructure, Cogent has been picking up some of the traffic load. When pressed, Verizon yesterday fell back on the balanced traffic ratio argument, saying that Cogent is simply violating the terms of their peering agreement and therefore it’s their own fault.
This isn’t a story about Netflix, or about Verizon “letting” anybody’s traffic deteriorate. This is a fairly boring story about a bandwidth provider that is unhappy that they are out of balance and will have to make alternative arrangements for capacity enhancements, just like any other interconnecting ISP.
That last bit sounded quite reasonable, but essentially says Cogent can buy transit to fix the problem or they can go home and cry to Mommy — them’s fighting words.
When faced with this a few years ago, Level 3 chose to pay under protest to keep the bits flowing. As far as I know that dispute is still simmering in one form or another, with Level 3 looking for allies in establishing bit-mile peering as the new standard. But Cogent does not operate a CDN and the traffic growth has been more gradual, so their situation is somewhat different.
Yet I have warned that if last mile providers choose to make this stand, it doesn’t necessarily matter if it’s against a CDN/transit provider or a transit provider with big content customers. Logic is not a big piece of the puzzle. With video taking over the internet, traffic ratios will NEVER be balanced between the last mile and the internet. It’s a fig leaf for a toll booth that tries to bypass net neutrality by moving upstream. But I’ve been saying that for years. Four years, actually.
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