15 September 2006

Akamai and network neutrality

I came across this article in BusinessWeek about Akamai. As I read it, I began wondering about the practical side of "net neut*", about which I had posted earlier (follow this link). While I know this is a topic on people's minds, there has been relatively little discussion about it over the past couple of months -- perhaps because of the Congressional recess.

Does the deeper insight into Internet service provision enrich your position on this topic? Do you think that Akamai (and/or Google) would be in a position to construct an alternate backbone if they find AT&T's (or Verizon's) pricing unacceptable (that is, do we see echoes of the Western Union/Associated Press here? Does this change the debate for you, especially regarding the appropriate role of government?

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Pat said...

If Internet were defined as Network of Networks, Akamai would be Network of Networks of Networks.

At customers’ viewpoint if AT&T or Verizon provides connections, Google provides contents/information then Akamai must provide a network (of contents).

For WU and AP, I think the situation was much less complicated. It is hard to relate these 2 events together since the WU already celebrated Centennial but the Akamai case was just started. They are in different time period and different level of dynamic environment. In any ways, we should see many changes in a few years to come.

In term of Fairness, I guess, the government should be fine at this moment. Akamai is not the only service provider. Even though it is the only one, content providers still have choices. This service is not mandatory in order to own websites.

An interesting case would be what if Google and AT&T merged?

oat said...

In the Internet world, of course, it is quite hard to achieve a good quality of service for video streaming. That is why there is a gap for some players acting as Internet Data Center like Akamia that are plumbing the streaming for content providers like Google, Apple.

Response to the question, personally, it is a big issue for Akamai to construct their own backbone which is required the permission of the rights of way and huge investment on network infrastructure. Yet, it would be a good alternative for the customers though.

I,m still thinking about if they can merge together and let AT&T/Verizon only acting as the network providers and Akamia/Google merely serving as the content provider. I could see the reverberation of WU/AP.