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Level 3 Files 14 Page Brief Asking The FCC To Regulate Interconnections

Screen Shot 2014-03-21 at 1.06.20 PMLevel 3 has just filed a 14 page brief with the FCC saying that ISPs “must also exchange Internet traffic on commercially reasonable terms without imposing access charges”. They have reinforced their previous statement that they want the FCC to regulate interconnections between networks, but still don’t provide any suggestions on how the FCC should do that. Level 3 feels that “ISPs should be permitted to charge other providers for services they provide, but they may not charge fees simply for the privilege of accessing that ISP’s customers”. So how does one define “commercially reasonable terms” that Level 3 is asking for? [see my earlier post in the day on this topic: Netflix & Level 3 Only Telling Half The Story, Won’t Detail What Changes They Want To Net Neutrality]

Level 3 also states that “many end users might not know, when experiencing degraded performance, that the cause of that degradation is that the ISP’s ports are congested.” They are right about that, which is why we need the companies involved in this dispute to be transparent and provide the data to show all the technical and business pieces behind the scenes.

Level 3 says they are “willing to work with ISPs to ensure that all costs are borne fairly (i.e. that Level 3 will incur the costs to augment its network if the ISP will likewise incur the costs to augment the ISP’s network), the tolls that ISPs are seeking to impose are unrelated to costs.” So what are the costs? Level 3 will only say that the “precise size of the tolls demanded vary from ISP to ISP.” They also argue that these costs “would have an appreciable impact on costs for edge providers, including new or small garage entrepreneurs”, yet small “garage entrepreneurs” are never going to build their own CDNs and won’t need to connect to other networks. If Level 3’s argument is that smaller content owners will also suffer, why aren’t we also hearing from any of these smaller content owners? To date, Netflix is the only content owner who says their is a problem. Where are the other voices?

Level 3 finishes by saying they want “commercially reasonable terms” that are “sufficiently flexible” and that ISPs could agree to “different terms” which are “suited to the unique circumstances of the parties at the time”. That’s pretty vague with lots of variables. Level 3 also says that “while it is impossible to quantify, now, how much worse consumers’ future Internet experience will be than it otherwise could be, or how much innovation will never happen, or how much higher prices for online services might be, those are the predictable consequences if the Commission fails to act”.

What I want are all the facts so I can make an informed decision of what should be done. But without details on the current business terms and how they work between all the parties involved and details, with numbers, on how they want it to change, it really keeps all of us in the dark.