Network operators Level 3 and Cogent Communications today urged the Federal Communications Commission to prevent Internet service providers from charging what they deem to be excessive fees for interconnection.
The Federal Communications Commission’s first attempt to create net neutrality rules, which were struck down in court after a challenge by Verizon, prevented discrimination, blocking, and pay-for-play charges on the so-called last mile of broadband networks.
This required ISPs like Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T to treat Web services equally once traffic entered their networks and started making its way to residential and business customers.But the FCC implemented no rules for the interconnections between consumer ISPs and Internet transit providers like Level 3 and Cogent. Notably, Netflix pays Level 3 and Cogent to distribute its traffic across the Internet, and ISPs are demanding payment from all three of these companies in exchange for accepting traffic. Level 3 and Netflix both pay Comcast while Cogent has held out. Verizon and AT&T are also both seeking payment from Netflix.
While ISPs say the traffic loads are too heavy, Level 3, Cogent, and Netflix argue that ISPs are abusing their market power, since customers often have little to no choice of Internet provider. That means there’s only one path for Netflix traffic to reach consumers, at least over the last mile.