Monday, 12 April 2010

Updated: Mobile Net Neutrality in Europe: Google caught freeloading again? ;-)

UPDATE: Seems the quote of Deutsche Telekom was taken out of context, thanks Chris

With almost identical quotes to the chairman of AT&T a couple of years ago chiefs of Telefonica, France Telecom and Deutsche Telekom told the Financial Times that Google is a freeloader.

César Alierta, chairman of Telefónica, said [..]: “These guys [Google] are using the networks and they don’t pay anybody,” he said.

Stéphane Richard, France Telecom’s new chief executive, said: “Let’s see the development of digital society in terms of the winners and the victims. And today, there is a winner who is Google. There are victims that are content providers, and to a certain extent, network operators. We cannot accept this.”
René Obermann, Deutsche Telekom’s chief executive, said Google and others should pay telecoms groups for carrying content on their networks.“There is not a single Google service that is not reliant on network service,” he said. “We cannot offer our networks for free.”
I wrote my article on peering and transit with the AT&T quote as a starter. I sometimes regret it, because it makes it look like a net neutrality paper, but then again, it is here where the lack of knowledge of how peering and transit works continuously causes pain. 

It strikes me time and again that telco's have trouble seeing cause and effect. They see Google introducing a service and then see their traffic going up. So it must be Google that is causing this. But correlation is not causation. It is only when users click on a link that Google starts sending traffic to their network. It is their user who wants to use their network to get access to something that is big or small, but is located on Google's network. Wouldn't it be more fair to say that the mobile co's should pay Google for the increase in its transit bill instead of the other way round? Given the discussion on mobile termination rates, it would be fair to say that the mobile industry is of the opinion that the initiator should pay. Well, you can't argue that Google initiates the transaction, so it's the user then who will pay. 

The funny thing is also that everyone is always picking on big G. Big G of course has big shoulders and is used to some bullying, but it kind of ignores the fact that there are 190 million websites all over the world. I would think that Icanhascheezburger is a culprit in using telco websites too.. why do we never see Telco execs showing the devastating effects of LOLCATZZ picturez.. on their network. 

So telco's please tell us how you are going to pay 190 million for the network usage that your users cause? 


  1. The FT 'story' (how that newspaper has gone downhill in the last decade) is a rehash of quotes from early February and mid-March mainly:
    Fear and loathing are now rife in Brussels - and as the FCC is tied in legal knots, and net neutrality action is now here, expect the incumbents to become even worse in the coming months....

  2. The historical basis for the asymmetry between eyeball customers and content provider customers is that, in the telco world, if somebody dumps more traffic onto your network than you dump onto theirs, they owe you money and not vice-versa. As eyeball customers pull more traffic (via WWW and P2P) than they push, and content providers are the reverse, it's the eyeballs that have the upper hand in peering negotiations.

  3. @jim it may be the historical basis... but it's wrong. That is also why in a good peering relationship, it is completely irrelevant which way the traffic flows. The same goes for peering ratios, which don't mean a thing.

    The telco's are incorrect in assuming someone is dumping traffic. Outside a DOS-attack/virus activity it is impossible for someone to dump unwanted traffic on your network. If they have no valid reason to be contacting IP's in your network, they won't. And even if initial contact was made and it is unwanted or unreciprocated, it stops a normal network from sending anymore data.


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