[LINK] ABC seeks law ensuring free content on broadband

Glen Turner gdt at gdt.id.au
Tue Sep 8 10:32:30 AEST 2009

On 08/09/09 06:13, Avi Miller wrote:
> As I understand it, it's not the content type, but the source: ABC has
> moved to using a CDN (content delivery network), which means that the
> server the user connects to changes all the time. Internode are on
> record as saying they don't have as advanced a metering system as iiNet
> do, so they are unable to unmeter as easily.

Most ISPs are in a similar position. They peer with the ABC at Ultimo,
they peer with iView at Hostworks in Adelaide. They run a Akamai CDN

The issue is that ISPs can't tell if the output of the Akamai CDN lead
to the CDN cache being filled from across a cheap peering link or across
the expensive undersea link. So they have to bill out as if it was
filled from the undersea link in order to stay in business.

It's fair to say that the ABC didn't appreciate this when it moved its
content from Ultimo to the Akamai CDN. The ABC has since been educated,
which is why iView moved from the Akamai CDN to Hostworks.

It's also fair to say that the US-based Akamai didn't appreciate the
radical difference in costs from various sources of filling their cache,
as this isn't the case for their customers in the other countries where
they operate.

It's very confusing for users, since various *.abc.net.au content costs
the ISP radically different amounts of money, and this is usually reflected
in the prices offered to customers for access to *.abc.net.au content.
So there's no one price to the consumer for accessing ABC content.

iiNet looks into the HTTP header to see if the output of the Akamai cache
was ABC traffic (and thus the cache was filled from their ABC peering).
That examination of the web session is not possible for larger ISPs -- who
push multiple gigabits of traffic from their cache for most of the day.

In fact, this a real-world example of the technologies which would be
required for the government's Internet filtering proposal and you can
see exactly the point at which the web session examination capabilities of
routers fails (ie, at a usage rate between that of iiNet and Internode).

This is exactly why the large ISPs are sceptical of the current 'trial'
of Internet filtering -- if the technology was viable they would have
already fielded it to allow more competitive charging of their CDN usage.

[As usual, this is for the LINK list and I don't appreciate being quoted
  outside this forum or my views being ascribed to my employer.]

  Glen Turner   <http://www.gdt.id.au/~gdt/>

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