As was noted in this article, there has been a report of a dispute between two large internet backbones on their interconnection agreement. Large internet backbones interconnect by peering, which is a settlement-free interconnection regime. Peering works when the networks have similar scale and scope, which typically results in relatively symmetric traffic flows across the interconnection point. If this traffic is asymmetrical on balance, the larger network typically assumes more of the traffic, hence more of the costs, of a smaller network, and will be discouraged from continuing this relationship. This is what appears to be happening here. In a circumstance like this, a peering relationship becomes a transit relationship, in which the smaller ISP is required to pay fees to the larger. As a I alluded to in an earlier post on this blog, some have speculated Google may be trying to build a large network of the scale and scope that would enable it to peer with the large backbone providers, thereby saving them money.
When we get into international interconnection, some there are some aspects of this that are showing up in the WSIS preparatory documents. What might you imagine these to be?