& cplSiteName &

Google: Dark Fiber Story Not So Dark

Light Reading
News Analysis
Light Reading
10/11/2006
50%
50%

Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) head of special initiatives Chris Sacca went into spin cycle last week while explaining his company’s dark fiber investments to Light Reading. (See Google's Own Private Internet.)

“I’ve bought a lot of fiber for Google,” Sacca says. The Google people believe their fiber buys have been misunderstood, and therefore viewed with an undo amount of suspicion by outsiders. (See Google Goes Optical.)

“People don’t understand that it’s not Google trying to take over the world,” Sacca says. Sacca explained that Google began investing in dark fiber for two main reasons: to connect the server farms and to "peer" with telecommunications service providers.

The part of the network neutrality debate that is never heard, Sacca says, is the fact that Google and AT&T have a massive peering arrangement. (See Google Grouses on Net Neutrality.) People like AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) CEO Ed Whitacre and Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) CEO Ivan Seidenberg have said early that Internet companies like Google can't just leverage service provider networks without paying up. (See AT&T Sets Up Internet Tollbooths.)

Sacca says that the other side of the story is that Google is buying up fiber network so that it can “peer” with the AT&T network as would a large service provider. This, he says, saves Google money by eliminating the need to buy long-haul transport services. Fair enough.

Google says it needs the fiber to haul traffic to the appropriate peering point. “If you want to peer with AT&T, you have to peer at the point that they choose, not just anywhere.” Traffic going to Google users in San Francisco, he says, must be hauled to a specific AT&T peering point in the San Francisco market.

But the term “peering” implies the mutual sharing of traffic by like partners -- a trade-off. And it’s unlikely that Google carries AT&T traffic over its own fiber. Google seems to use the "peering" term to mean buying capacity on metro or access networks (See Google Execs Tentative on Telecom.)

Indeed, AT&T and Google are still in two distinctly different types of businesses. One sells telecom services and the other sells ads around Internet search. AT&T's is a commercial telecommunications network; Google's is a large enterprise network. (See Enterprises: More Fiber in the Diet? .) Google is not a licensed carrier and does not make money selling network services. Theirs is a client/vendor relationship, not a peering partnership. (See SF Net to Go Public?.)

That's not to say that Google hasn't made moves that clearly edge onto telecom turf. The company actually subsidizes free telecommunications services, such as voice (Google Talk) with advertising revenue. Its work with municipal WiFi networks appeared for awhile to be another example, but its efforts in that area appear to have been curtailed. (See Google Out of Valley WiFi Bid.)

A few days after our conversation with Sacca, the Google public relations department sent this email note about Google fiber: “ . . .we use it to interconnect our data centers (for example, to replicate our search index to all of our computing sites),” writes spokesman Barry Schnitt. “We have users and data centers all over the world, so our connectivity needs are global in nature.”

“There's nothing mysterious about buying dark fiber; lots of enterprises use it to satisfy their connectivity needs,” Schnitt writes.

“You see an article in the New York Times about how AT&T has bought more fiber, and their stock goes up,” Sacca says. “Then there is the same article over here about how Google bought some fiber, and it’s like ‘Google is trying to take over the world.’ ”

"We have one peering point in San Francisco and some journalists say we’re trying to take over the world," Sacca says. “That’s the thing that a lot of journalists don’t get," he says, "is that one peering point does not a telecommunications network make.”

— Mark Sullivan, Reporter, Light Reading

(3)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
rlmorlan
50%
50%
rlmorlan,
User Rank: Light Beer
9/16/2014 | 1:15:05 PM
re: Google: Dark Fiber Story Not So Dark
The last post, is incorrect about what 'peering' is, and it's usage in this article was correct.

It has nothing to do with users, and Google does not facilitate carring traffic to AT&T's customers.

Peering agrements between operators within the Internet, are autonomous systems (AS)  a collection of connected Internet Protocol (IP) routing prefixes under the control of one or more network operators that presents a common, clearly defined routing policy to the Internet.

Originally the definition required control by a single entity, typically an Internet service provider or a very large organization with independent connections to multiple networks, that adhere to a single and clearly defined routing policy, as originally defined in RFC 1771. The newer definition in RFC 1930 came into use because multiple organizations can run BGP using private AS numbers to an ISP that connects all those organizations to the Internet. Even though there may be multiple autonomous systems supported by the ISP, the Internet only sees the routing policy of the ISP. That ISP must have an officially registered autonomous system number (ASN).
Manu55
0%
100%
Manu55,
User Rank: Light Weight
12/5/2012 | 3:38:00 AM
re: Google: Dark Fiber Story Not So Dark
1 peering point huh?. What about Dallas, NY, Atlanta, VA & LA....to name a few.
Hamish.MacEwan
0%
100%
Hamish.MacEwan,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:37:42 AM
re: Google: Dark Fiber Story Not So Dark
Your comments express very well the conventional wisdom regarding peering, particularly the perpetuation of hierarchical notions like "Tier" and "like partners."

However, peering is about customers, not operators, and from that perspective, Google is absolutely carrying traffic, to and from, AT&T's *customers*. At best, operators are peering "on behalf" and failure to do so is poor customer service, the kind of thing only monopoly or dominance allows...

Indeed, rather than Whiteacre's bizarre accusation of "free riding," one should see that the traffic Google carries for AT&T's customers outweighs his claim. After all AT&T is paid by its customers, while Google recieves more indirect revenue as a consequence.

Ignoring what you think peering "implies," in technical fact it is the zero settlement "Bill and Keep" model that is belatedly being recognised as the only rational model for an Internet(work) to adopt, where each provider charges only their customers, rather than using their size and market dominance to bully smaller operators.

For a more authoritative and informed demolition of considering the relative sizes of "peers," check out Bill Norton's "The Folly of Peering Traffic Ratios." (Such ratios can stand in place of size)

http://lists.canarie.ca/piperm...


Hamish MacEwan
Open ICT Consultant
From The Founder
Cisco's Conrad Clemson, recently promoted to head up the company's Service Provider Apps & Platforms developments, talks to Light Reading's Founder and CEO Steve Saunders about how he's bringing cloud video, mobile and virtualization together to empower network operators.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
LRTV Interviews
Masergy: Ability to Adapt Key for NFV

1|16|17   |   6:40   |   (0) comments


Speaking at Light Reading's 2020 Vision in Rome, Masergy's VP, Global Technology, Ray Watson, said agility is key to providing the mix and match NFV-based services that are driving business for the managed service provider today.
LRTV Interviews
Equinix: The Data Explosion

1|13|17   |   4:16   |   (0) comments


At Light Reading's 2020 Vision in Rome, Eric Schwartz, president of EMEA, Equinix, talked about how Equinix is helping its customers manage the influx of data today, and how it's preparing for a future filled with millions of connected IoT devices.
LRTV Interviews
Heavy Reading: The Changing Data Center Landscape

1|12|17   |   6:05   |   (1) comment


At Light Reading's 2020 Vision event in Rome, Heavy Reading's Senior Analyst Roz Roseboro talks about how virtualization is impacting data center evolution and how that evolution is affecting the relationship between service providers, data center operators and public cloud providers.
LRTV Interviews
Boingo: Prepping for Millions of Devices

1|12|17   |   5:07   |   (1) comment


At Light Reading's 2020 Vision in Rome, Boingo's CTO Derek Peterson discusses how wireless operators will address the needs of low-bandwidth and high-bandwidth apps at the same time, the need for more MHz, the impact of IoT and more.
LRTV Interviews
Comcast Shows Off Gig Gateway at CES

1|11|17   |     |   (1) comment


With its largest presence at CES in years, Comcast took the wraps off its long-awaited gigabit gateway and a new platform for managing the home WiFi network. Light Reading Senior Editor Mari Silbey sat down with EVP Chris Satchell to discuss the latest Comcast advance, and met with VP of Product Strategy and Development Andrea Peiro to walk through a demo of the ...
LRTV Interviews
Colt: End-to-End Key for 2017

1|10|17   |   6:21   |   (0) comments


At Light Reading's 2020 Vision Executive Summit in Rome, Nico Fischbach of Colt said having a multi-carrier, end-to-end service proposition is going to be key for 2017 -- and SD-WAN is instrumental in making it happen.
From the Founder
Cisco's Clemson on Mobile Cloud Video

1|9|17   |     |   (1) comment


Cisco's Conrad Clemson, recently promoted to head up the company's Service Provider Apps & Platforms developments, talks to Light Reading's Founder and CEO Steve Saunders about how he's bringing cloud video, mobile and virtualization together to empower network operators. "If you think about where we're going… whether it's a mobile application, or a video ...
LRTV Custom TV
VMware Telco NFV Solutions – Preparing for 5G & IOT

1|9|17   |     |   (0) comments


Shekar Ayyar, EVP & Corporate Strategy/General Manager of Telco for VMware, discusses VMware's Telco NFV solutions role and foundation for the Imminent Arrival of 5G & IOT.
LRTV Interviews
Heavy Reading: Big Video Set to Disrupt

1|6|17   |   4:39   |   (0) comments


At Light Reading's 2020 Vision Executive Summit in Rome, Heavy Reading's Adi Kishore talks about the challenges of managing and monetizing bandwidth-intensive video, and how service providers will need to transform their networks to cope with the big video explosion.
LRTV Interviews
Heavy Reading: IoT Set to Disrupt

1|5|17   |   7:07   |   (0) comments


Heavy Reading's Senior Analyst of IoT, Steve Bell, tells Light Reading how the Internet of Things (IoT) will transform service provider markets, business models and mindsets, and how virtualizing the network core and Fog networking is key to meeting the agility and flexibility demands of IoT in the future.
LRTV Custom TV
Ensemble SmartWAN Explained

1|5|17   |     |   (0) comments


Ray Le Maistre and Prayson Pate, CTO of the Ensemble division at ADVA Optical Networking, discuss the details around the recent Ensemble SmartWAN announcement from ADVA and its potential impact on the SD-WAN movement as it goes virtual.
LRTV Interviews
Telstra Shares Digital Dos & Don'ts

1|4|17   |   3:21   |   (0) comments


At Light Reading's 2020 Vision Executive Summit in Rome, Telstra's Managing Director of EMEA Tom Homer shares his insight into what makes a good partner in today's digital world.
Upcoming Live Events
May 15-17, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Hot Topics
Ericsson: 5G Heralds 'New' New Economy
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 1/12/2017
5G: Another Next-Generation Disappointment?
Iain Morris, News Editor, 1/10/2017
CES 2017: WIC's Picks & What Made Us Sick
Sarah Thomas, Director, Women in Comms, 1/10/2017
IBM, FDA Look to Blockchain to Secure Health Records
Scott Ferguson, Editor, Enterprise Cloud, 1/12/2017
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders chats with Sportlogiq CEO Craig Buntin about sports data analysis.
Eyal Waldman, CEO of Mellanox Technologies, speaks to Steve Saunders, CEO of Light Reading, for an exclusive interview about the 100 GB cable challenge, cybersecurity and much more.
Animals with Phones
Live Digital Audio

Playing it safe can only get you so far. Sometimes the biggest bets have the biggest payouts, and that is true in your career as well. For this radio show, Caroline Chan, general manager of the 5G Infrastructure Division of the Network Platform Group at Intel, will share her own personal story of how she successfully took big bets to build a successful career, as well as offer advice on how you can do the same. We’ll cover everything from how to overcome fear and manage risk, how to be prepared for where technology is going in the future and how to structure your career in a way to ensure you keep progressing. Chan, a seasoned telecom veteran and effective risk taker herself, will also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air.