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Google Networking The Internet

Google Fiber: No Charge For Peering, No Fast Lanes 238

An anonymous reader writes "Addressing the recent controversy over Netflix paying ISPs directly for better data transfer speeds, Google's Director of Network Engineering explains how their Fiber server handles peering. He says, 'Bringing fiber all the way to your home is only one piece of the puzzle. We also partner with content providers (like YouTube, Netflix, and Akamai) to make the rest of your video's journey shorter and faster. (This doesn't involve any deals to prioritize their video 'packets' over others or otherwise discriminate among Internet traffic — we don't do that.) Like other Internet providers, Google Fiber provides the 'last-mile' Internet connection to your home. ... So that your video doesn't get caught up in this possible congestion, we invite content providers to hook up their networks directly to ours. This is called 'peering,' and it gives you a more direct connection to the content that you want. ... We don't make money from peering or colocation; since people usually only stream one video at a time, video traffic doesn't bog down or change the way we manage our network in any meaningful way — so why not help enable it?'"
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Google Fiber: No Charge For Peering, No Fast Lanes

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  • Hedge (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ADRA ( 37398 ) on Thursday May 22, 2014 @01:11PM (#47067929)

    This is Google's hedge against increasingly higher costs for peering and neutrality breaking ISP's, so why would they then turn around and be hypocrites by ruining the very reason they're moving intro infrastucture to begin with?

    That said, an affirmation that they're peering neutral just seems like a puff piece for what anyone should already assume.

    Does anyone have thoughts on Google spinning this out as a not for profit and make public backbones that are truly ubiquitous and marginalized?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 22, 2014 @01:14PM (#47067973)

    Google fiber charges a bit more than my previous fiber ISP, so I'd wager they are making money from their subscriptions.

    Oh, and they absolutely do monitor your usage, and keep a 72 hour history of all your connections--it's on your profile page and you can view it and add in ip addresses into your firewall rules with a single click. I'd wager google is using that data internally to generate usage reports, which is probably what led them to provide co-location services free of charge to their highest-use entities. They mentioned in the email/blog post that this comes from that doing so saves them money.

  • Re:terminology (Score:5, Interesting)

    by borcharc ( 56372 ) * on Thursday May 22, 2014 @01:25PM (#47068113)

    They list their peering policy as Selective in their peeringdb entry []. They should have an open peering policy. Or is only open if you are a interesting content provider?

  • Peering is good... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by thule ( 9041 ) on Thursday May 22, 2014 @01:32PM (#47068217) Homepage

    ...even if some party has to pay for it. Google is an ISP so their peering traffic is not equal. It is good for them and their customers to peer with as many popular content providers as possible. Connect eyeballs to content. I keep pointing out that Yahoo! did this years ago with huge success. It was reported that Yahoo! only payed for half of their total bandwidth requirements. That is, only half of their total bandwidth requirements were going over transit. This was years ago. "Fast lanes" are not new.

    The difference with Netflix is that they had to pay the ISP for their peering. This is new. Even so, it still may work out for them. The the peering costs may still be cheaper than their transit or using a third party CDN. Like Google Fiber pointed out, peering does not prioritize traffic, it just makes links to networks. If peering is an unfair fastlane, then the Internet has always been "unfair" since peering is an integral part of the Internet.

    So why does Netflix have to pay? It is called supply and demand. The market pressures are such that Netflix *wants* to pay to get their data delivered directly. I suppose they could have backed off and stopped using any sort of CDN with peering to ISPs. But then their transit costs would have gone up. I suppose Netflix could have done this and really slammed the ISP's transit connections until *every* customer was complaining about terrible performance. Netflix decided it was less expensive and better for their customers to pay ISP's for peering. Is this fair? As the saying goes, "Life is not fair." Deal with it.

    The best way to deal with the situation is for cities to encourage new ISP's to build out last mile connections. Make it easy without a lot of red tape. Phone companies and cable companies will yell and scream, but there is nothing they can do legally. It is up to the city to manage right-of-way so that things don't get messy. So instead of complaining to the FCC, go to your city council and see what can be done to encourage Google Fiber to come to your city.

  • by ArhcAngel ( 247594 ) on Thursday May 22, 2014 @01:37PM (#47068271)

    "One person" may only stream one video at a time, but "people" as a whole may stream thousands or tens of thousands of videos all at the same time, and that's what creates the bottleneck in the peering connection. These same "people" are the "people" who currently stream videos over Comcast and create the peering bottleneck between Comcast and Level 3.

    It is Comcast [] creating the bottleneck and it is done deliberately. They want you to believe it is Netflix that has the problem but they could have solved it for their entire customer base for ~$30K according to Level 3. And Netflix offered to host their own servers inside of Comcast's network which would eliminate the bottleneck altogether but Comcast refused instead demanding tribute before allowing more Netflix traffic.

  • by guruevi ( 827432 ) <evi&evcircuits,com> on Thursday May 22, 2014 @01:41PM (#47068333) Homepage

    They make money from your monthly subscription fees etc.

    The other companies do the same things, TWC, AT&T, Comcast all make money through your monthly internet bill and have been VERY profitable in doing so. The problem is that they want to keep their customers and make MORE money without spending any of their profits on upgrades or peering/colocation.

    It's not like TWC/Comcast has to rip out and replace any cabling, the existing infrastructure (yes, copper) works well for speeds up to what Google Fiber is offering and more (100Mbps - 1Gbps). Even at current speeds (1-10Mbps), there is PLENTY of headroom for most people, Netflix doesn't take more than a few hundred kbps per stream. They just don't want to invest in a bigger link to Netflix/YouTube or letting them colocate in their spaces, they think that they can switch their customers who are paying for Internet into connecting to their private network (MSN/AOL style) and if anyone wants to go outside their private network, they should pay extra. And they can do this because they have been granted a monopoly by the government (by splitting up Ma Bell, they no longer needed to be regulated, the FCC has been paid for to not interfere and they have no-compete clauses with each other).

    Thankfully there are plenty of startups starting to eat their market share (be it Google, Greenlight, ...) because they are offering better service than the incumbents for a heck of a lot cheaper. Now (at least in those areas) they have to start being competitive and suddenly, speeds CAN go up and prices CAN drop; the prices are not tied to actual value, they are tied to what the market will bear and since Internet has become a necessary utility for most people, the market has to bear a lot.

  • Re:Hedge (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MtHuurne ( 602934 ) on Thursday May 22, 2014 @01:54PM (#47068521) Homepage

    This is Google's hedge against increasingly higher costs for peering and neutrality breaking ISP's, so why would they then turn around and be hypocrites by ruining the very reason they're moving intro infrastucture to begin with?

    Android started in much the same way, to avoid telcos getting control over the content people access on their phones. While the base OS of Android is still free, a lot of the standard applications are now licensed from Google and the terms for licensing them are becoming more strict. Google's fiber is neutral today, but that doesn't mean it will stay neutral forever.

  • by thaylin ( 555395 ) on Thursday May 22, 2014 @02:24PM (#47068857)

    So you are saying you did not setup your network to handle the capacity you promised your users? The case you have to make is *why* it is the companies fault, and not yours as an extension of your users.

    Notice I used users, not user, as in the plural, not singular

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