Provider credibility - does it matter? was Re: Inter-provider relations

>> Zero-settlement peerings open to anyone are demonstrably amount to
>> subsidies from large peers to small.

>No they're not. The load which the small provider presents to you (in the
>form of traffic to your CUSTOMERS) is miniscule by comparison.

Small providers outnumber large providers by quite a lot. In fact,
most traffic is generated by customers of small ISPs.

Uh, excuse me Vadim, but just where do you think that flow goes if it goes
to Sprint or some other national ISP? To someone who hasn't paid a large
provider to get it there?

I think not.

ONE of the ends, axiomatically, has paid each provider in question for the
transport. If you wish to argue this, show me the people who are getting
transit and not paying for it.

Peering by *definition* generates flows that go to or from *customers* on
the respective networks.

>Finally, and FAR more importantly, the REASON you're having the traffic

The customers are paying for connectivity to other customers, not
for connectivity to ISPs. They don't care less if their peer is
connected to a small or a large ISP.

Oh really? I see.

So Sprint, as an example again, is selling connections that are really just
there so you can talk to other Sprint customers?

I would expect that those providers would be DISCLOSING this, wouldn't you?
After all, such a position could otherwise generate some pretty ugly
fraud lawsuits (from some damn big corporations who have plenty
of money to do so), and even some criminal complaints.

In fact, I think that those NSPs who also sell dial access would be facing
that exact problem right now -- if this is in fact true.

Let's see, MCI sells dial access. Does MCI disclose that they're not
selling Internet access, but instead only access to MCI customers? No, and
in fact they make it rather clear that they ARE selling access to the
Internet as a whole.

This is a CRIMINAL offense Vadim. Assuming you're right, of course.

>If you refuse to perform that job, then your customer should find someone
>who will actually live up to the letter and spirit of what your customer
>is purchasing from you.

I do not think that leftish political activists and radical idealists
are a large segment of market. The rest would simply go to a provider
who sells better and cheaper connectivity, without worrying too much
about figures on the provider's balance sheet.

Uh, they're already doing that Vadim.

>So what? Customer A paid you to get the traffic to him.

Now, if Big Provider competes for customer B it'll have to sell
service for cost of 500 miles, whereas Small Provider
can sell is for the cost of 1 mile.

Yep. And guess what? So what? You got paid to transport it; nobody said
it was CONVENIENT in all cases.

Now, the traffic between Small ISPs #1 and #2 is close to non-existent;
so they simply dump 99.9% of traffic to the Big ISP at exchange points and
do transit over a cheap low-bandwidth line they buy from the same
or other Big ISP.

On the contrary. The traffic they dump to Big ISP is going to Big ISPs

The first time BIG ISP refuses to do what they contracted to do, or
implements a policy that defacto causes that situation, after holding out
service to the "Internet" as a whole, they're running afoul of both civil
and criminal law.

IMHO of course, but I suspect that the Attorney General of most states
would see it this way.

Essentially, they get benefits of global infrastructure without contributing
anything to it. Of course, large ISPs then have to pass the costs to
customers, placing them at a competitive disadvantage.

Well gee, so the greater reach that large ISPs have is supposed to be free
or something?

I suppose that this means that because we're running DS-3s around to remote
sites we're at a disadvantage too.

Actually, we are. But in trade we can sell effective in areas that people
who DON'T have those lines cannot. Yes, its expensive. Its a trade-off;
either you have a reason to do it or you don't.

>It is in your best interest to do it. You got paid to do this. If you
>can't, Customer A will find Big Provider #2 (or Small Provider #2) who

That is not happening now. Sprint tested waters back then with CIX,
and the expected negative customer response was zero, nada, nil, zilch.

Which only confirms that customers do not care about particular ISP's,
they only care about bits getting delivered.

Right. And if you chop off access to ANY site that someone wants to reach,
you'll hear about it. Fact is that its not happening right now in any
signficiant numbers.

>The first time you tell a CUSTOMER as "Big provider" that "the reason you
>can't reach Customer B, who you think is important, is because they aren't
>connected to us and their provider won't *pay us to transport YOUR DATA* you
>are going to find out, quickly, what the Customer's response to that is.

Huh? The small ISP (Mukhosransknet, for example) who can't reach Sprint or
UUNET or BBN is bust by definition. The large ISP who can't reach the
same small ISP doesn't suffer at all -- chances are that nobody will ever

Oh really? You're wrong Vadim. Very, very wrong.

So the small ISP is forced to buy connectivity to the Big ISP,
and the problem (from the point of view of the Big ISP's customers) is

Gee, that's why we've turned off both Sprint and MCI lines in the last 60
days, right, but we're still here and we can still reach them.

And, frankly, if I show up at MAE East, and Sprint refuses to peer, my
recourse is simple -- I print it in the Chicago Tribune and Sun Times, lay
out the logic, and we'll see what happens to Sprint's Chicago customer base.

My guess is that I'd end up with a hell of a lot of it.

That's particularly true because most small ISPs do not provide any
popular content, so customers of big ISPs have little reason to worry
about unreacheability of small ISPs .

Bawahahahhhaahaha. All it takes is ONE.

How idealistic. Customers terminate service all the time for a million of
various reasons. Somehow more customers are subscribing, so those
departments just don't care.

That's funny, both MCI and Sprint freaked out when we walked away.

Of course, we did it because frankly, in my opinion the service SUCKED. And
had sucked, and neither company gave a rat's ass about fixing the problems
over a period of more than a YEAR.

Just to have it pointed out that this is a free country and that
large ISPs have right to make their own business decisions?

Sure. And you have the right to see those decisions stuffed right up your
backside by a smaller competitor out to prove a point. You have a right to
see it in print, to see it on the web, and to see it distributed by direct
mail to every corporation in a given market area.

THAT'S not expensive. But it will RUIN your business in a given market, and
THAT is the risk you undertake when you stick your corporate head in dark

Regardless of what name the company has.

Sure, such a press campaighn is possible, and will attract some
attention from leftist fringe. The level-headed people would take
it to reflect on the respectability and the agenda of the campaighner.

Hahahahaha..... Uh, I don't think so. Further, where our sales are coming
from would indicate otherwise as well. But heh, what do I know? I'm
just doing it instead of blustering bullshit like you Vadim.

>Not if you're a customer of Big Provider and want to get there. Your
>provider either PROVIDES or you find someone who will.

Find me a person who wants to look at Mukhosransk's city council web page.

All it takes is *one* who is connected to the Big Provider. Tell him no
because you think you should be paid AGAIN for what you already collect
money, and watch how fast that customer walks away, telling everyone he or
she knows in the process.

This is corporate suicide.

>BOTH providers have an obligation here, and its not to each other. Its to

Obligation to whom? To the Supreme Deity of All Networks? Or the
ghost of Comrade Lenin? That obligation is certainly not in service

You are paid to pass packets to and from your direct customers. The very
concept of an INTERNET says that you get paid ONCE for that traffic.
Attempting to extort a SECOND payment (ie: get paid again for what you
already got paid for) reeks to high hell, and honest people will see that
once its clearly explained to them how all of this REALLY works.

You may want to take a look at a service contract someday. There's
not even a remote hint of implicit or explicit obligation to provide
universal connectivity.

Discriminatory behavior will cost you customers at minimum. If you
represent that you sell connectivity to the *INTERNET*, then you'd
better provide it to the best of your ability.

Nobody can reach *everywhere*. However, if you make a BUSINESS DECISION to
exclude connectivity to somewhere your customers want to go, you will end up
with a lot of ex-customers.

Can you statements in this public forum to be construed as an official
position of MCSNET?

What does that mean Vadim? You know where I stand on this and have for a
long time. If you don't like it that's just tough.

Sorry, buddy, i'm not interested in everyone's best interest. I just
don't care about everyone. I'm admittedly interested in the bottom line
in my account statement. I wouldn't expect large ISPs to do differently.
After all, they exist to generate profit. If they would start doing
charity and brotherhood of all people stuff instead of business their
shareholders will be rightfully upset.

The shareholders will be even more upset if their sales figures go through
the floor.

>>I presume that (1) the people you peer with are clueful and don't do stupid
>things on a regular basis, (2) they don't try to point default at you, etc.
>That's a given in these discussions.

I wouldn't trust people who can't comprehend realities of everyday life
to have a clue about routing.


Personal insults will get you nowhere Vadim.

> Now, the traffic between Small ISPs #1 and #2 is close to non-existent;
> so they simply dump 99.9% of traffic to the Big ISP at exchange points and
> do transit over a cheap low-bandwidth line they buy from the same
> or other Big ISP.

> That's particularly true because most small ISPs do not provide any
> popular content, so customers of big ISPs have little reason to worry
> about unreacheability of small ISPs .

DataXchange is one of the "small" ISPs that Sprint will not peer with. It
may interest you to know that about 40% of our traffic is out bound.
Most of our customers offer both access and content. I do not think this
is about content, interesting destinations, or any such thing.

Technical arguments to the contrary, which tend to distract us from the
real issues and make the new peering rules look more respectible, this is
about power, and using it to one's advantage. The large networks figure
the smaller networks can be forced into purchasing connections to them.
This is the same technique used by any monopoly, or in this case
oligarchy, to exploit their larger size. I except that "reseller"
sur-charges will be one of several techniques used to try to squeeze the
smaller competition.

The smaller networks have only three choices: to accept the competitive
disadvantages as they exist now and in the future (my guess is the screws
with continue to be tightened as time passes), to join together to create
a large enough group that collective action is possible (unlikely given
the rancor between providers that appears to exist), or to fight thru
legislative or legal means. I am not really optimistic that the balance
of power will shift anytime soon.

About the only hope is that the big guys will realize that continued use
of monopolistic practices may result in legal or legislative action they
would perfer less than managing peering session with us unexperienced,
routing-flapping, wannbe's.

Best Regards,
Robert Laughlin