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Net Neut: Verizon flips the bird to FCC on peering deal crackdown

You can't stop us creating web traffic fast-lanes, telco says

Verizon reckons the FCC's net neutrality proposals can not lawfully stop ISPs charging websites big bucks to increase streaming speeds to subscribers.

In a letter to FCC secretary Marlene Dortch, the US telecoms giant said the FCC's Open Internet policies must not regulate peering agreements – because doing so would ruin the web, and overstep the regulator's powers by breaking the Administrative Procedure Act, it's claimed.

ISPs say traffic-heavy websites should pay towards the bandwidth they consume and sign deals for dedicated interconnects; net neutrality campaigners want everyone to exchange network packets freely so the playing field is level for startups and big biz.

Verizon and Netflix, for example, have struck deals to carry vast amounts of video to viewers – and ISPs wouldn't want any part of the government wrecking lucrative contracts.

"Some have urged the Commission to adopt a final rule in the Open Internet that would regulate interconnection agreements for the exchange of internet traffic," wrote William Johnson, a Verizon veep and associate general counsel, in the letter.

"Those arguments are misplaced and wrong ... To take just one example, recent years have seen end-users significantly increase their demand for streaming video.

"In response, providers developed new delivery and interconnection arrangements that use [content distribution networks] CDNs, transit providers, paid peering services, and caching services, among others. Nationwide regulation of interconnection agreements, such as through mandatory zero-cost interconnection, would deal a knockout blow to these individually-tailored solutions."

According to Johnson, technical interconnect deals are beyond the reach of net neutrality, which is, apparently, a policy issue surrounding how traffic is prioritized on a network.

Peering agreements have been brought into the argument over net neutrality by Netflix and some backbone providers, who claim Verizon and other telcos have in fact deliberately throttled their traffic to customers in order to muscle the companies into signing interconnect agreements. ®

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