peering charges?

Well, my guess would be that if you don't have a DS3 backbone, why
would the big guys want to peer with you anyway? If you don't need
that much bandwidth (or don't have it) odds are you don't have enough
customers for the big guys to want to peer with you.

Chances are that the big guys all have POPs in the little guys' areas,
and that there is or could be an exchange point in each such area, and
that the big guys' customers will have better access to the little guys'
customers if peering is done.

The reasons we don't do this aren't related to network size. There are
three reasons: (a) big guy thinks their excrement is odorless and that
everybody else ought to have to pay to get access to their perfect network
and their spamless customers; (b) big guy wants little guy to pay fair share
of WAN costs; and (c) it's a tiny bit harder to "peer" if you're only
sending local area routes rather than sending all of them everywhere.

I agree with with the information provider model. Ultimately, entities
with attractive content will be selling access to wide area providers, who
will sell it to local area providers, who will sell it to customers. This
is the old "" model extended to fee-based content. I
heard that Microsoft was letting providers terminate T3's with them since
good access to Microsoft's content is a selling point for an access
provider's customer base. Why should such a content provider have to buy
peering, or pay wide area telecom costs? On the other hand, right now
Microsoft is still effectively buying transit, and at some point they will
just charge for access to their content and let other people charge each
other for indirect access to that content.

And Microsoft is just the first/largest.