A Public Option for the Core

SIGCOMM '20: Annual conference of the ACM Special Interest Group on Data Communication on the applications, technologies, architectures, and protocols for computer communication Virtual Event USA August, 2020, pp. 377-389, 2020.

Cited by: 0|Bibtex|Views188|DOI:https://doi.org/10.1145/3387514.3405875
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In this paper we propose cleanly separating these two tasks

Abstract:

This paper is focused not on the Internet architecture - as defined by layering, the narrow waist of IP, and other core design principles - but on the Internet infrastructure, as embodied in the technologies and organizations that provide Internet service. In this paper we discuss both the challenges and the opportunities that make this a...More

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Introduction
  • 1.1 Context

    The structure of the current Internet infrastructure – as opposed to its architecture – is largely an accident of history, rather than a premeditated design.
  • The POC’s terms-of-service require that all attached LMPs peer freely with all others, with no termination fees and no differential service given to packets based on their source.
  • If the authors allowed termination fees, each CSP might have to pay each LMP for access to their customers.
Highlights
  • 1.1 Context

    The structure of the current Internet infrastructure – as opposed to its architecture – is largely an accident of history, rather than a premeditated design
  • Each stub domain connected to the Internet through one or more Internet Service Providers (ISPs)
  • We present a novel economic model of content and service providers (CSPs) and LMPs, and show how not requiring network neutrality would hurt social welfare and future innovation
  • We address four basic questions on four different topics of concern: Network Services: What network services does the Public Option for the Core (POC) provide? Payment Structure: Who pays who for what? Bandwidth Auction: How are Bandwidth Providers compensated by the POC? Peering: What are the peering arrangements between the LMPs that are attached to the POC?
  • We consider the set of attachment points to include all network locations where LMPs, directly-connected CSPs, and external ISPs are connected to the POC
  • One might think that enabling direct peering between all POC-connected LMPs would help foster network neutrality, because there are no intermediate transit ISPs to discriminate against traffic, but the opposite is true! Network neutrality has never constrained an individual domain’s choice of peering: if peering is direct, discrimination based on the nature of the connecting LMP is easy to implement and does not violate network neutrality
Results
  • The authors consider the set of attachment points to include all network locations where LMPs, directly-connected CSPs, and external ISPs are connected to the POC.
  • Given the set of offered links , the auction mechanism picks the lowest cost subset that (i) provides enough bandwidth to handle this traffic matrix, and (ii) obeys whatever other constraints the POC desires.
  • If one thinks of the POC as a large ISP network neutrality requires that each LMP accepts whatever traffic arrives from the POC, not discriminating based on the original source of packets.
  • One might think that enabling direct peering between all POC-connected LMPs would help foster network neutrality, because there are no intermediate transit ISPs to discriminate against traffic, but the opposite is true!
  • If one of the endpoints on the POC is a CSP like Netflix, the customers pay this service directly, which can cover Netflix’s payments to its LMP for the bandwidth it uses.
  • By having the bandwidth costs collected by the parties causing them, and payments for the service made directly to the CSP by the customers, this leads to a natural splitting of the revenues between LMPs and CSPs in a way that is driven by customer’s willingness to pay and the presence of competitive alternatives, rather than through painful negotiations filled with brinkmanship as in the Netflix-Cogent-Comcast case.
  • As the authors will see when termination fees are allowed, the LMP can extract revenue from CSPs independent of whether it is needed to cover bandwidth costs.
Conclusion
  • The authors want to consider two scenarios, one where network neutrality (NN) is contractually enforced by the POC, and an unregulated (UR) scenario where LMPs are free to impose termination fees and block traffic if they are not paid.
  • The authors' second important difference is that many works on network neutrality focus on service differentiation, whereas the authors only consider termination fees.
  • The authors view termination fees as the most fundamental violation of network neutrality, whereas offering different qualities of service, if done on an open basis with posted prices, is a very different matter which the authors do not address.
Summary
  • 1.1 Context

    The structure of the current Internet infrastructure – as opposed to its architecture – is largely an accident of history, rather than a premeditated design.
  • The POC’s terms-of-service require that all attached LMPs peer freely with all others, with no termination fees and no differential service given to packets based on their source.
  • If the authors allowed termination fees, each CSP might have to pay each LMP for access to their customers.
  • The authors consider the set of attachment points to include all network locations where LMPs, directly-connected CSPs, and external ISPs are connected to the POC.
  • Given the set of offered links , the auction mechanism picks the lowest cost subset that (i) provides enough bandwidth to handle this traffic matrix, and (ii) obeys whatever other constraints the POC desires.
  • If one thinks of the POC as a large ISP network neutrality requires that each LMP accepts whatever traffic arrives from the POC, not discriminating based on the original source of packets.
  • One might think that enabling direct peering between all POC-connected LMPs would help foster network neutrality, because there are no intermediate transit ISPs to discriminate against traffic, but the opposite is true!
  • If one of the endpoints on the POC is a CSP like Netflix, the customers pay this service directly, which can cover Netflix’s payments to its LMP for the bandwidth it uses.
  • By having the bandwidth costs collected by the parties causing them, and payments for the service made directly to the CSP by the customers, this leads to a natural splitting of the revenues between LMPs and CSPs in a way that is driven by customer’s willingness to pay and the presence of competitive alternatives, rather than through painful negotiations filled with brinkmanship as in the Netflix-Cogent-Comcast case.
  • As the authors will see when termination fees are allowed, the LMP can extract revenue from CSPs independent of whether it is needed to cover bandwidth costs.
  • The authors want to consider two scenarios, one where network neutrality (NN) is contractually enforced by the POC, and an unregulated (UR) scenario where LMPs are free to impose termination fees and block traffic if they are not paid.
  • The authors' second important difference is that many works on network neutrality focus on service differentiation, whereas the authors only consider termination fees.
  • The authors view termination fees as the most fundamental violation of network neutrality, whereas offering different qualities of service, if done on an open basis with posted prices, is a very different matter which the authors do not address.
Funding
  • We gratefully acknowledge financial support from Intel, VMware, and Ericsson, as well as from NSF grant 1817115
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