Re: [arch-d] A Public Option for the Core

Scott Shenker <> Wed, 12 August 2020 18:47 UTC

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From: Scott Shenker <>
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Date: Wed, 12 Aug 2020 11:47:28 -0700
Cc: Brian E Carpenter <>,
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To: Christian Huitema <>
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Subject: Re: [arch-d] A Public Option for the Core
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To avoid misconceptions, I would encourage everyone who is interested to look at the 20 minute video online ( <>). Or if you really want to punish yourself, you can read the paper at ( <>).

Christian, the hollowing out of the core is precisely what we are addressing (in the video, it is the first motivating problem). Moreover, we are structuring the POC to encourage competition and open access at the edge. So you may not agree with our proposed approach, but I think we are trying to address the problems you raised!


> On Aug 12, 2020, at 8:37 AM, Christian Huitema <> wrote:
> On 8/12/2020 6:19 AM, Scott Shenker wrote:
>> The world of today is very different from what it was in 1995, particularly in terms of the market forces at work. We discuss our reasoning for why our proposal might become a reality later in the paper (in a section called “Are We Crazy?”), and I would be interested in your reaction. Do you think the market forces we identify might lead to a different result now?
> The market forces are leading to the "hollowing of the core". Last time
> I checked, over 50% of the top Internet servers were served by a dozen
> or less top ASes, belonging to large CDN or large content hosters, both
> of which may well be providing their edge points and delivery networks.
> Your paper does not address that.
> It seems that you are very concerned with market players using access to
> "the core" as a choke point to enforce their own version of "pay to
> play". This has been an issue a few years ago, but I am not sure it is
> an issue now. What I see instead is local ISP making arrangements like
> "zero rating" with large content providers. This is a play with local
> access bandwidth, not with core transit bandwidth.
> We also have evidence of local ISP prioritizing access to Facebook,
> YouTube or Netflix without any commercial arrangement with these content
> providers. Apparently, the reasoning is that "ISP quality" is measured
> by the populace as "can I easily stream this popular content", and so
> ISPs use tricks to improve delivery of the most popular content and
> compete with other ISPs. (I remember these discussions as part of the
> MARNEWS workshop.) That kind of feedback loop is not affected by the
> state of core transit.
>> More generally, as an academic working on issues related to the Internet, I view it as my mission to identify designs and paradigms that would make for a better Internet, and to explore whether there are plausible paths to such eventualities. We recognize that our proposed change is a long-shot. In fact, almost all attempts to effect large-scale changes in the Internet (whether its design or its structure) are likely to fail.   My responsibility as a researcher is to not let that stop me, and my mission as a member of the Internet community is to try to make such changes happen, despite great odds. I hope that people on this list and elsewhere read this paper in that spirit.
> Bravo! But then, what about a public option for the edge?
> -- Christian Huitema