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Seserv workshop alissa cooper - net neutrality practices

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In the context of net neutrality debates occuring around the world, a central question concerns the extent to which network operators should be free to manage certain Internet applications differently from others. Some stakeholders advocate for regulatory intervention on the basis that this sort of traffic management gives network operators too much power over which applications succeed or fail, while others argue for reliance on competition between network operators to discipline operator behavior. Yet evidence from the UK and the US suggests that the practical reality of how network operators have gone about managing traffic in the last half decade is not entirely consistent with expectations about the disciplining power of either regulatory or competitive forces in the marketplace. Understanding why Internet traffic ultimately gets managed in a particular way requires a deeper understanding of the interplay between technical, economic, political, and social dynamics confronting network operators.

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Seserv workshop alissa cooper - net neutrality practices

  1. 1. Internet Traffic Management in the UK Alissa Cooper Chief Computer Scientist
  2. 2. Discrimination differential treatment of different Internet trafficon the basis of application or content 2
  3. 3. Potential avenues for discrimination Blocking/filtering Prioritization/QoS Traffic shaping Interconnection Caching 3
  4. 4. Potential avenues for discrimination Blocking/filtering Prioritization/QoS Traffic shaping Interconnection Caching Operator’s initiative Negotiated with app provider No payment Payment Performance justification Revenue + performance justificationTraffic management Everything else 4
  5. 5. Potential avenues for discrimination Blocking/filtering Prioritization/QoS Traffic shaping Interconnection Caching Operator’s initiative Negotiated with app provider No payment Payment Performance justification Revenue + performance justificationTraffic management Everything else 5
  6. 6. Potentially discriminatory traffic management examples• Blocking/filtering – Preventing pure BitTorrent seeding• Traffic shaping – Allocating small % of peak bandwidth to identified P2P protocols – Limiting identified streaming video traffic to 1 Mbps at peak time 6
  7. 7. ISP 0 ISP 1 ISP 2 ISP 3 ISP 4 . . . ISP N 7
  8. 8. ISP 0 ISP 1 ISP 2 ISP 3 ISP 4 . . . ISP N 8
  9. 9. CompetitionCompetition reduces operator’s incentive todiscriminate because discrimination may drive customers to competitors 9
  10. 10. CompetitionCompetition reduces operator’s incentive todiscriminate because discrimination may drive customers to competitors 10
  11. 11. Urban Unbundled exchangeBT Openreach access ISP backhaul ISP network Rural 11BT Openreach access BT Wholesale ISP network backhaul
  12. 12. UK broadband connection shares 12
  13. 13. Hints of UK application shaping 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011BT Retail P2P VideoEverything P2P, NewsEverywhereO2 P2P, VideoO2 off-net P2P, NewsTalkTalk P2PSkySky off-net P2P, NewsVirgin P2PVirgin P2Poff-net User-reported limits: App experiences 0.5% to 10% of headline speed. Weekdays afternoon to midnight, weekends mid-day to midnight. 13
  14. 14. Cost savings £££Openreach access BT Wholesale ISP network backhaul 14
  15. 15. Cost savings £Openreach access BT Wholesale ISP network backhaul 15
  16. 16. Price competition 16
  17. 17. TM platforms get entrenched 17
  18. 18. Why?• Cost savings• Price competition• Traffic management platforms get entrenchedSdf Competition has not safeguarded nondiscriminatory traffic management in the UK 18
  19. 19. BT TalkTalk Virgin Sky, O2 Everything smaller ISPs Everywhere 19
  20. 20. Hints of US app limitations FCC Enforcement FCC Rules 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011AT&TCenturyLink P2PComcast P2PCox P2POther cableVerizon Observed behavior consisted primarily of preventing pure BitTorrent seeding. 20
  21. 21. Conclusions• Traffic management strategies can be highly influenced by market structure• Competition does not necessarily prevent discriminatory traffic management• Designers of future traffic management technologies should recognize primacy of incentive structures into which they want to deploy 21
  22. 22. Questions? Alissa CooperCenter for Democracy & Technology acooper@cdt.org

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