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Google Fiber: we don’t charge for peering, don’t have fast lanes

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Google (S GOOG) used its Google Fiber internet access business Wednesday to chime in on the continuing debate around peering and internet fast lanes, and guess what: the company doesn’t use either. Fiber, which is slowly expanding its footprint, doesn’t have “any deals to prioritize (some content companies’) video ‘packets’ over others or otherwise discriminate among Internet traffic,” according to a blog post published Wednesday afternoon.

Google also said it doesn’t charge for peering, and instead invites content providers and content delivery networks to colocate within their facilities to get their content closer to the end user. Google identified Akamai and Netflix as two companies that make use of colocation; Netflix has for some time tried to partner with ISPs and place its own OpenConnect caching appliances within the ISPs’ networks.

From the blog post:

“We also don’t charge because it’s really a win-win-win situation. It’s good for content providers because they can deliver really high-quality streaming video to their customers. For example, because Netflix colocated their servers along our network, their customers can access full 1080p HD and, for those who own a 4K TV, Netflix in Ultra HD 4K. It’s good for us because it saves us money (it’s easier to transport video traffic from a local server than it is to transport it thousands of miles). But most importantly, we do this because it gives Fiber users the fastest, most direct route to their content.”

Of course, this was more than Google gloating about how fast Fiber is. The post also comes at a time where Netflix sees itself pressured to strike paid peering deals with companies like Comcast (S CMCSK) and Verizon (S VZ) to improve an otherwise subpar video streaming experience for the customers of those ISPs.

46 Responses to “Google Fiber: we don’t charge for peering, don’t have fast lanes”

  1. Reblogged this on Vern's Views and commented:
    Google Fiber is the most promising ISP. Slowly rolling out across the country. It provides incredible speeds and the cost is low. The additional benefits are amazing. It allows one to record eight TV programs at the same time with two terabytes of storage. They also give another terabyte of cloud storage to use for other Google products.

    Help us Google Fiber, you’re out only hope.

  2. johngalabraith

    Google fiber is slowly expanding. What companies like Netflix need to do is budget personnel to lend to Google for the purpose of expanding coverage and installing fiber where needed and speed the process up. Keeping these teams on staff and in the hands of Google will strengthen their network, reduce the amounts needed to spend with other ISPs for partnerships and packet prioritization, thus, reducing their overhead and increasing their profit margin for video streaming. Netflix could monopolize the video streaming market easily and they should.

  3. Valentine North

    You’re all getting it wrong.
    It’s not “ISP that works in the best interest of its customers”, they’re offering their clients better access to their products, which in google’s case is not the fiber, but the users themselves.
    Each user generates a lot of revenue for them. The search engine, the free mail, the android market, the cheap fiber, are just tools to help the user make more and more profitable.

    It’s a different way of thinking, and that’s the reason why the others can’t catch up, they just don’t get it.

    To put it differently, Americans say, “the customer is always right”. So they give the customer everything he wants, how he wants it, and the company just charges more and more.
    The French say, “the customer is always wrong”. Google, is giving users what Google wants. Users will always take it, because it’s free, and essentially do whatever the company wants them to.

    It’s funny, but I think at some point, Google will afford to offer fiber for free.

  4. (tossing money at the truck,) Comere hook me up, hurry! When can we do business? Tell me tell me tell me!!! I dont care what it costs just get me away from Comcast! Puhhhhhleeeease!

  5. Jacob Robbins

    First paragraph is wrong: “…to chime in on the continuing debate around peering and internet fast lanes, and guess what: the company doesn’t use either”

    They clearly use peering as their peering policies are discussed in the next paragraph.

  6. Gary Ross

    Let’s call this what it is. The FCC chairman was a lobbyist for several of the large communications companies. THAT is the reason he holds the post. So the fact that he wants to give the big money what they want is absolutely no surprise. It is yet another case of the American public getting a shake down from big corporations

    This will end badly for consumers. There is no doubt in my mind. Even if they don’t get it now it is just a matter of time before they “influence” the policy and law makers to do their bidding. Google – at the moment – shows how ludicrous the idea of the “fast lanes”. There is a never ending squeeze from corporations that is “in the interest” of stock holders. Companies think that they can never have a bad quarter. If they do they fire the CEOs and get one that is willing to screw his fellow American because he/she will get paid and hundreds to thousands of times more than the people that work for them. Employees are powerless to do or say anything for fear of losing their job. Corporations are having it “their way”. They have the SCOTUS making rulings that allow them to bury issues with money to influence the outcome. They have lawmakers in their pockets for campaign contributions. They have a political party that believes corporations can do no wrong and most of all, they are held unaccountable when they do.

    Readers, PLEASE write the FCC expressing your position on this very important issue. What really needs to happen is the internet needs to be regulated and run like any other utility. The idea that the internet is NOT a utility is like calling a dog a cat.

  7. If Google Fiber can expand like madmen then Netflix and others wont need to strike deals with the others. They can just “recommend” Google Fiber for optimum performance.

    Better for EVERYONE except the lame ISPs like Comcast, Time Warner, ATT, and Verizon.

  8. Bruce S. Woodcock

    Could you do a follow-up article? Because I don’t think Google is being honest. No, hear me out on this.

    1. “(This doesn’t involve any deals to prioritize their video ‘packets’ over others or otherwise discriminate among Internet traffic — we don’t do that.)”

    2. “We give companies like Netflix and Akamai free access to space and power in our facilities and they provide their own content servers. We don’t make money from peering or colocation;”

    3. “But we also don’t charge because it’s really a win-win-win situation”.

    So, if the don’t discriminate on content providers, AND they don’t charge for colocation, which can’t ANYONE co-locate with them? Can I call up Google and get free co-location for my personal website server? If the answer is no, that only content providers Google deems worthy are allowed, then they ARE discriminating. They DO have a deal – a free one, which I can’t get – that gives a priority “express lane” to content providers like Netflix and Akamai, over my own content being served up by some fly-by-night second rate web service.

    • Gary Ross

      Yes you are right but does your website server provide for everyone? The idea that anyone with a server having the same status as Netflix or Akamai would become a logistical nightmare for Google.

  9. Jason Whisnant

    Don’t brag about it until you get it to us Google. Spread that fiber around man!! You have a plant in Lenoir NC, were given millions in tax breaks and haven’t provided us anything….

  10. Thundal Archsys

    Some people say they fear Google ruling the world… but from the looks of things, I’d argue they might well do a better job of it.

  11. Matt W

    Google is a content provider first, then an ISP. Anyone heard of YouTube? Google would shoot it self in the foot if it started charging for peering. Not really a story other than it was ill conceived to say anything. Other ISPs are only offering more ports closer to the edge for faster speeds. Line cards start at 80k, +fiber, +labor, +cooling. The cost is enormous, and when your at the edge it is multiplied by many edge locations. Why would any for profit company expect to have another company provide that for free?

    • And Comcast isn’t a content provider? Time Warner isn’t? Comcast is conducting disgusting protection racket behavior, and pocketing ridiculous profits so it’s nice that Google is confirming that they’re not going to indulge in the same evil practices.

    • The “other company” does not provide that for free. The “other company” gets paid by their customers to provide that service (access to the content providers).

    • @Matt, i’m not sure if you’re trolling. but in case you’re being serious, They’re not providing that content for free, we, the consumers are paying for it already. If i pay you money to deliver me dunkin donuts that i paid for, you better deliver me dunkin donuts and not try to charge them a fee too, because i already paid you, dumbass.

    • Joedenderk

      You’re right! Just like we tax pizza delivery drivers 50% of their income for using our roads! I mean, yeah, you already paid for the roads… but we figure we can get even more money if we charge people who use the roads insane fees just for using the roads.

      This ain’t a free ride.

    • Dave Cain

      Back in the early 2000s Google was purchasing dark fiber all around the country. See, fiber that had been rolling out since the 1970s but a lot of it was more or less abandoned by the late ’90s due to overbuilding. I seem to recall that something like five percent of the fiber laid in the USA in 1997 was actually lit.

  12. Matt W

    Google is a content provider! Hello, anyone hear of YouTube? Google fiber would shot them selves in the foot if they charged. GigaOm shouldn’t that be part of the story? Funny that they even made a statement. Stirring up trouble for themselves in this political climate.

  13. Jack N Fran Farrell

    Consider the best interests of its customers first. Of course Google engineered it system with space for peering. No doubt, bad engineering could make space in ISPs facilities hard and expensive to use. Should ISPs charge others for their engineering incompetence. Only an ISP getting paid cost plus interest on its investments could conceive of that.

      • Bill Jackson

        I think he refers to the way that some ISPs inflate co-location costs with full actuarially justifiable costs plus interest added as ‘rent’. The marginal cost for adding a rack is just the meterable electricity used and the initial interconnect cost for wire.cable.
        They do not pay back to the co-located provider any of the network efficiency gains.

        Google charges zero, justifying a zero charge as a reasonable quid-pro-quo of costs versus gains

        • Alex Yuriev

          I wonder if we can get someone who actually knows what they are talking about to write for GigaOm about this.

          Peering has nothing to do with colocation. It has to do with direct exchange of traffic covered by customer and self-originated routes. A cost of colocation for peering is nominal. You go into TelX, Equinix or other similiar well connected locations, get a rack or two ( $2k/mo ) and terminate your circuits into that location. After that you run interconnects to other people who are in the same location paying only for cross-connects ($150/mo). I pay for 1st, you pay for 2nd, I pay for 3rd, etc. If the links get congested, we simply add more links ( and I can push terrabits of traffic with the gear in two racks ). Hello, gobs of traffic that can pass between the two networks directly, without relying on transit for a very very very small cost.

          Colocation that is being talked about is NetFlix renting *space* and *power* inside the network so it can originate traffic directly from there. It has NOTHING to do with peering. In fact, it is a standard customer relationship. They get *power*, *space*, and *transit*. I certainly hope that NetFlix gets charged for being a customer of Comcast.

          • Mcbeese

            I certainly hope that Comcast gets charged for being a customer of Netflix. How many subscribers do you think Comcast would lose to its competition if Netflix turned off the tap to Comcast? Peering is win-win for both companies, which is why it has been free.

            • Isn’t that just the problem in the US? People can’t leave because they have nowhere else to go for Internet. So comcast keeps its desperate customers and nothing changes

            • Alex Yuriev

              That’s because you are confused. If Comcast bought power and space and transit from NetFlix then Comcast woudl pay NetFlix.

  14. I work as a fiber splicer and Time warner, ATT, Verizon, etc all use fiber networks. They just are too fucking cheap to ACTUALLY put light through it. I splice for all of them daily they have brand new networks ready to go but use 25 year old routes that are breaking and have high DB losses, thus resulting in shitty internet and crap TV.

    • flimflam

      Except for the fact that Google Fiber doesn’t have your best interest in mind when they are performing deep packet inspection against your traffic to better serve up relevant ads (or sharing information with the government).

      • James

        I don’t care if they sell my browsing data to advertising companies. I use adblockers just for that reason.
        I also always surf in protected mode & don’t use flash for anything so Fiber is the best for me.