Sean M. Doran wrote:
Trans-oceanic botlenecks are a real issue, however, and with
the current ICM award about to wind down, the question arises
about who pays for poor connectivity to where.
Yes, the demand far outstrips the supply of bandwidth, we
are having that problem right now. Never mind that the we
can afford the > $60,000/month for a measly T1 to the US -
we are currently back-ordered as there is not enough available
channels across the Pacific.
Assuming that capacity bottlenecks between North America and Asia
becomes an operational issue to North American network operators
(could be), they would obviously be able to adopt one of three
There can be two ways of looking at it, from the WWW/content point of
* "They're unlucky enough to be outside North America, but they want
American content anyway. So they have to suffer with poor
performance and high prices."
* "These folks outside America don't get to appreciate our content.
Their numbers are growing. Thus we have to invest in the delivery
-- hide head in sand, hope that other people (namely
non-Americans) pick up the cost of the no-longer-subsidized
U.S. half-circuits, and continue increasing their own
capacity at their own cost.
Our bandwidth here in the Philippines was never subsidized. Still,
we have a good growth rate in terms of ISPs, but not so much in users.
-- purchase their own connectivity to exchange points
in Europe (such as KTH in Stockholm and LINX in London --
note that each of these two exchange points has a root
nameserver in the same facility)
Many Asian countries have yet to build their own IXPs. We have one
here, but only 5 providers with IPLs are connected. Our company is
working on getting peering agreements with some other local providers
since the IXP is fraught by politics
Assuming that all ISPs here connect at an IX, will a provider buy a
pipe from the US to the Philippines to carry their customer's traffic
faster? How will that be justified?
-- cut a deal with someone like BT/MCI, UUNET or the like
to use their trans-oceanic capacity
The third approach is straightforward -- become a customer of
a big global network and trust that customer and other market
pressures will keep them expanding globally such that capacity
issues don't become overwhelming.
The only global network that has a POP here is CWIX. If you
sign up for a CWIX connection from Manila it will not go straight
to the US, but pass through HK. This can be seen as a disadvantage,
though it is cheaper.
The second approach is straightforward too, and is I imagine
what people clamouring for peerings at U.S.-based exhcange points
so that they can be Independent Big Networks should begin planning for.
That is, if you don't want to become a customer of, say, BT/MCI
or UUNET or the like and you don't want to find yourself being
able to reach fewer and fewer locations or more and more likely
to face settlement charges from those big providers, acquiring
independent capacity to remote exchange points is a good idea.
But, the Independent Big Network people will still have to get
their own IPLs - which may end up with BT/MCI, Sprint/Global One,
or AT&T? What's the difference between becoming an IP customer
and just a leased line customer?
Examining this a bit more closely, since undersea capacity is
terribly expensive, when there is adequate capacity available
to a large aggregate of sites people want to get to, there will
be an obvious market for access to that capacity.
You can argue that the undersea capacity pricing model is
vastly different (and I don't know its dynamics, either) -
and it's like investing in real estate properties. For example,
Global One cannot give us a T1 until after our endpoint of the APCN
cable is activated.
Finally, there's the third approach. It might be workable,
but at some point Europeans and Asians will tire of always increasing
the amount of money they put into transoceanic circuits and start
becoming either customers of bigger, cheaper providers (or members
of consortia or associations which accomplish similar cost-savings)
Several companies, including ourselves, are doing just this.
or start coming to the same understanding: access to trans-oceanic
capacity while it continues to be hiddeously expensive should be
paid for at both ends, since both sides benefit.
How do we come up with a settlement model?
Right now the end-user result is that if the US unlimited dial-up user
is accessing a site outside the US, they are actually being subsidized
by the guy on the other side of the ocean who has to pay big bucks for
her/his data pipe. It depends on who "benefits" more - the guy in the
US who is viewing European/Asian content, or the other guy who gets
her/his content published, seen and heard?
So, the answer to the question is, yes, you should be concerned
about performance issues, and yes, you should be working on a tractable
scalable engineering plan for both North American and intercontinental
connectivity, and this should take into account other people's
real and perceived costs.
And more providers should be hauling in their own high-capacity pipes and
putting up their own overseas POPs instead of having the local folks
drag their lines to the US, and charge a lot for slow connections.