Light Reading

AT&T Applies Peering Pressure

Jeff Baumgartner
LR Cable News Analysis
Jeff Baumgartner
12/10/2010
50%
50%

Friends can sometimes be found in the most unexpected places.

AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) and Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) may be bitter rivals when it comes to serving residential subscribers and, increasingly, to business customers, but the telco is clearly (and, okay, not entirely unexpectedly) on Comcast's side in its ongoing dispute with Level 3 Communications Inc. (Nasdaq: LVLT). (See Level 3: This Is Not a Peering Dispute, Did Level 3 Know What It Was Getting Into?, and Level 3: Comcast Erected Web Video 'Toll Booth' .)

The debate "is just a peering dispute no matter how loudly Level 3 and Free Press shout 'net neutrality violation'," AT&T SVP-federal regulatory and chief privacy officer Bob Quinn proclaimed in a Nigel Tufnel-channeling blog post titled: "It's Not Really Louder Just Because it Goes to Eleven."

"Comcast simply wants to be compensated for the additional volume of traffic that Level 3 is delivering to Comcast, which Comcast has to deliver to its customers," Quinn noted, sounding a bit like a spokesman for the MSO. "Comcast doesn't care whether that traffic is video or music or email or web pages."

He then goes on to cite the Level 3-Cogent Communications peering battle of 2005, noting that Level 3's position then seemingly contradicts its position today as it looks to become a significant content delivery network (CDN) now that it has a deal with Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX) in tow. As a refresh, Level 3 claimed Cogent was violating a settlement-free peering deal because Cogent was starting to send more traffic to Level 3 than vice versa.

"Level 3 has apparently changed its tune on the importance of balance in exchanging traffic (as did Cogent in the other direction when it de-peered Limelight in 2007 -- are you keeping track of all this?)," Quinn wrote.

He also expressed confidence that the CDN providers Level 3 won its Netflix business from "had been paying Comcast to deliver this same content to Comcast's customers" -- something that multiple CDN industry sources have indeed told Light Reading Cable.

Quinn also acknowledges that AT&T currently has a "relatively small number of providers with whom we have settlement-free arrangements," with most involving some sort of paid peering/transiting deal.

And he thinks Level 3 should do its part in footing the bill for that tsunami of Netflix-born traffic. Quinn added that Comcast's broadband subs could help pay the freight in the form of higher access rates, but "that model is not necessarily consumer friendly," he said.

Quinn also suggests that a Comcast win in this imbroglio would certainly change things not just for Level 3, but also for Netflix and other over-the-top video service providers, since they'll presumably have to swallow more infrastructure costs and pass them on to their own customers.

Level 3: You're missing the point
Since every action in this debate has elicited a quick reaction, it should be no surprise that Level 3 did counter Quinn's assessment of the debate, claiming it "has missed the point completely."

More specifically, Level 3 again bristled at the suggestion that it did an about-face on the issue at hand, noting that its "current position on IP backbone interconnection is essentially the same as it was in 2005…"

And it reiterated its net neutrality and Web video "tollbooth" position, and its view on the traffic relationship it has with Comcast, claiming that if it refused the MSO's "take it or leave it" offer it could have impaired service for Level 3's content customers.

"In fact, Level 3 has and continues to offer to use its own IP backbone to carry content right to the edge of the Comcast local Internet access markets where the substantial majority of Comcast's customers reside," the company said. "This offer should end any debate about whether or not this is 'just an IP backbone peering' debate."

And Level 3 still insists that this particular debate should not be framed on backbone peering, but on interconnections to local access networks.

Level 3 president Jeff Storey, speaking at a UBS AG investor conference Wednesday, said his company would expect to pay if it was "handing off traffic to Comcast in New York and expecting them [Comcast] to deliver it to San Diego. But that's not what we're doing," he said, noting later that Level 3 has spent about US$14 million to add storage and capacity for the Netflix deal.

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable



(1)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Jeff Baumgartner
50%
50%
Jeff Baumgartner,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:16:08 PM
re: AT&T Applies Peering Pressure


Anyone wonder if Bob Quinn's going to be on Comcast's Xmas card list this year?


In the latest tit-for-tat on this whole thing, Quinn posted another blog today after Level 3 issued its own statement that Quinn's earlier blog missed the point.  Again, it's all about how each side is defining peering and how it should be applied to this debate  Here's Quinn's definition:


Peering works between networks that are of similar size and scope and have similar traffic characteristics.  Such networks are able to assess whether in exchanging traffic on behalf of their users, they obtain equivalent value to what they provide. Such a determination is much more difficult, if not impossible, for networks of different size and scope that have different traffic characteristics.


Traffic ratios are one indicator of whether two networks are sufficiently similar to peer equitably with each other.  A ratio that is significantly out of balance is an important signal that, in fact, the two networks are not sufficiently similar.  Said differently – they are not peers.


Sooo... we're guessing that Level 3's reaction  to this post should be arriving... Right. About. Now. JB

From The Founder
Against the odds, Huawei is growing its telecoms networking equipment business in the US -- that should be ringing some alarm bells for domestic vendors.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
CLOUD / MANAGED SERVICES: Prepping Ethernet for the Cloud
Moderator: Ray LeMaistre Panelists: Jeremy Bye, Leonard Sheahan
Between the CEOs
Metaswitch's New CEO Martin Lund Discusses His Role

9|2|15   |   11:27   |   (2) comments


Technology industry veteran Martin Lund joins Metaswitch Networks this week as the company's new CEO. In this interview, Lund discusses his new role and the industry's progress with Light Reading CEO Steve Saunders. Lund believes that the industry disruption caused by SDN and NFV is creating opportunities for companies like Metaswitch – network software providers ...
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Nominum on Leveraging the Power of DNS to Deliver Superior Subscriber Experiences

9|2|15   |   07:13   |   (0) comments


Nominum CEO Gary Messiana talks about the challenges service providers face in competing for a much more sophisticated customer, a customer that has heightened expectations for more personalized and compelling digital experiences. Providers are focusing their efforts on delivering higher value subscriber services, retaining their existing customers and increasing ...
Between the CEOs
CEO Chat With Jeff Miller, ActiveVideo

8|28|15   |   19:05   |   (0) comments


Jeff Miller, President and CEO of ActiveVideo, talks to Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the impact of virtualization on the TV and video distribution market.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Vodafone: Mobile Money Is About Customer Trust

8|27|15   |   06.36   |   (0) comments


Light Reading spoke with Vodafone's Ian Ravenscroft about the unique responsibilities and opportunities facing operators handling customers' financial transactions over the network.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Palo Alto Networks on Expanding in the Carrier/Service Provider Market

8|26|15   |   07:54   |   (0) comments


Alfred Lee from Palo Alto Networks tells Steve Saunders about their new chassis-based system, the PA-7080, and how it can benefit service providers compared to legacy firewalls.
LRTV Custom TV
Global Services Forum Preview

8|25|15   |   02:36   |   (0) comments


Light Reading's CEO and Founder Steve Saunders talks about Huawei's upcoming Global Services Forum with the help of Heavy Reading's Patrick Donegan and Teresa Mastrangelo.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Infoblox on DNS Threat Index

8|19|15   |   04:39   |   (0) comments


Dilip Pillaipakam from Infoblox talks to Steve Saunders about his company's core network services.
Between the CEOs
CEO Chat With Ihab Tarazi, Equinix

8|14|15   |   20:18   |   (1) comment


Equinix CTO Ihab Tarazi talks to Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the dramatic changes in the data center, cloud and interconnect markets and discusses the impact of SDN and NFV in the coming years.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
The Netformx Ecosystem

8|14|15   |   09:39   |   (1) comment


Ittai Bareket, CEO of Netformx, talks with Steve Saunders about the Netformx Ecosystem, which employs cutting-edge prescriptive analytics to help solution providers maximize profits.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Versa Networks on Leveraging VNFs

8|12|15   |   07:37   |   (0) comments


Kumar Mehta, founder and CEO of stealth mode startup Versa Networks, talks with Steve Saunders about how providers can best leverage virtualized network functions (VNFs).
LRTV Custom TV
Transforming the Network Through OPNFV

8|5|15   |   7:09   |   (0) comments


Sandra Rivera, VP Data Center Group; GM Network Platforms Group, Intel Corporation, on OPNFV Arno and how the industry is coming together to accelerate the deployment of NFV and transform the network.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei ONS Product Demo

8|3|15   |   6:01   |   (0) comments


Huawei shows at Open Networking Summit 2015 in Santa Clara how its SDN and NFV solutions embrace openness.
Upcoming Live Events
September 16-17, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 16, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 16, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
October 14-15, 2015, New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, New Orleans, LA
November 5, 2015, Hilton Santa Clara, Santa Clara, CA
November 17, 2015, Santa Clara, California
December 1, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
December 2, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Cisco's cloud and virtualization portfolio can increase business agility and innovation by building a more flexible network architecture.
Hot Topics
T-Mobile CEO Plays Data Traffic Cop
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 8/31/2015
CEO Chat With Bill Gates
Steve Saunders, CEO and founder, Light Reading, 8/31/2015
Time to Monetize Cable WiFi
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, 8/31/2015
Carolina Town Becomes First US 10-Gig City
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 9/3/2015
Eurobites: Anite in OSS Tie-Up With Nokia
Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, 9/4/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
September 22, 2015
Media Begins With “Me”
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Technology industry veteran Martin Lund joins Metaswitch Networks this week as the company's new CEO. In this interview, Lund discusses his new role and the industry's progress with Light Reading CEO Steve Saunders. Lund believes that the industry disruption caused by SDN and NFV is creating opportunities for companies like Metaswitch – network software providers with the agility to embrace new technologies quickly and the ability to deliver on substantial projects for global network operators.
The scene: Last Saturday, lunchtime, the interior of a shi-shi-foo-foo eatery in Manhattan's SoHo district.
Cats with Phones
It's a New Age... Click Here
When smartphones replace stuffed animals.