Provider credibility - does it matter? was Re:

Its like two animals meeting in the jungle at night:

If you are of equal "size" you'll quite happily sit about, exchange
pleasantries, and even peer IP packets with zero dollar settlement.

But if either creature is bigger than the other then you can expect a
somewhat different outcome, normally involving a forced exchange of

Oh, not always by any stretch of the imagination.

Trying to eat someone in this fashion, in the wild, is traditionally risky.
You can get poisoned, you can fail, and you can get tricked into doing
something that causes you to become the food.

Just for openers.

Zero dollar peering is not a panacea for Internet connectivity: If
party A invests a few squillion dollars in infrastructure it is
unlikely that they will peer with party B who has purchased a PC and a
couple of modems. Normally Party A would say to B - "tough luck sport,
it s a client relationship we are talking about here", simply as the
issue here is that if A offers 0 dollar peering to B, A writes off a
small part of their investment. This is not an economically stable
relationbship. Stability comes when A and B percieve that the
exchange of traffic is of equal benefit to both parties, and in
general this happens when A and B are of equal "size".




The exchange of traffic is *always* of equal benefit to both parties.

Both parties have a customer who wants to get to the other (if this was not
the case there would be no flow of traffic at all).

Each party has been PAID to get that traffic to the other.

An attempt to get paid TWICE is extortionate and the act of a firm which
is trying to throw its weight around. It MAY even be actionable.

It *certainly* is good marketing fodder for the smaller firm in every
case, and I will say this -- we can, do, and WILL exploit these

We talk to smaller providers all the time. Part of the game is making sure
customers are INFORMED. Part of informing them includes making sure they
know what the real choices are, who has what USABLE bandwidth, where it
goes, and what *policy* decisions each provider might be making that would
affect connectivity and quality of service.

Deliberate refusals to interconnect are just another part of this.

An INFORMED consumer will insure that the market balances itself out. The
only way the "big providers" can play this kind of game is if the consumer
is NOT informed.

Ignorance is, in our experience, very easy to fix.