Google has stepped forward amidst discussions of changes to the Net Neutrality aka content discrimination to demonstrate how it should be done through its Fiber network business. Just to recap, content discrimination works by ISPs forcing content providers such as Facebook to pay for better bandwidth to consumers. No payment, slower bandwidth. This works as both ISPs and content providers have their own network, meaning that when transferring data from one network to another, slowdown or throttling may occur. Netflix has recently been a victim of this, having had to pay Comcast and Verizon to allow peering or direct access to the ISPs’ network. This comes as subscribers of Comcast and Verizon having abysmal speeds when it comes to viewing Netflix content for months.
The manner in which Google has done this, is through the use of ‘colocation’. This works by allowing providers such as Netflix or Akamai’s server to be set up in Fiber facilities thereby cutting down on transferring time and allowing for better quality streaming. Peering in this case, is offered for free as by allowing such access, this enables Google Fiber to provide better service to its users without having to wait for content providers to pay up. This approach is rather contrasting to that of ISPs such as Comcast and Verizon who are charging for peering meaning that unless your favorite content provider is able and willing to pay for this, chances are you will have to live with the slower speeds. Google’s approach in this case would attract potential users and retain existing ones as it avoids having to wonder if the slow Internet speed has to do with congestion or the ‘pay to win’ discrimination that the other ISPs are practising.
As a whole, from the willingness of ISPs to practise peering and the push for fast lanes, it would seem that greed is the keyword here. Why bother charging users like you and me for content when they can earn more by charging companies like Facebook or Netflix? If they are allowed to get away with it, the Internet would no longer be a free place. Thankful Google has set the record straight by demonstrating that the mark of a good Internet Service Provider comes from being able to provide quality service in terms of speed and content.