So Where Do You Think the Demand Comes From?

I spent a fair bit of time today chasing down a disturbing problem.

One of my clients reported they were seeing terrible performance on a cloud-hosted application despite having a speedy Internet connection.

A bit of investigation revealed this to be true.


Despite having a business-grade FiOS connection, the service’s website was completely unusable, taking a very long time to load and sometimes failing completely.

The problem? The cloud-hosted service is using Cogent’s network. And apparently Verizon is feuding with Cogent, so they’re deliberately allowing the interconnection to the Cogent network to become saturated and unusable as bandwidth needs have grown. The reason? Netflix uses Cogent’s network. Verizon has said publicly that they treat traffic equally and haven’t done anything to deliberately degrade Netflix performance. In my view, their statements are designed to be misleading. It’s not their actions that are degrading performance—it’s their deliberate inaction. And they’re not singling out Netflix—instead, every connection to a service on the Cogent network is being adversely affected.

The answer, says Verizon, is for some combination of Cogent and/or Netflix to pay them for the privilege of having data reach its destination. Paid peering arrangements are appropriate in some circumstances, but this is just Verizon being greedy. Verizon’s own customers are the end users of this data, and those customers are already paying Verizon for data services.

Aren’t services like Netflix the reason Verizon customers are willing to pay for high-bandwidth connections in the first place?

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