So what’s the issue? Level 3 told the world that Comcast had hit it up for more money in order to deliver traffic from Level 3′s customers (such as Netflix) to Comcast’s 17 million broadband subscribers. Level 3 said Comcast’s demand for more dough violated the principles of the Open Internet, which is shorthand for net neutrality. On the other side, Comcast, said Level 3 was trying to sell itself as a CDN while not having to pay fees to Comcast as other CDNs do. In short Level 3, was calling itself a CDN to its customers and a backbone provider to Comcast. This (plus the fact that Level 3 owns one of the largest Internet backbone networks) enabled it to undercut its competitors in the CDN business because it didn’t have to pay the fees that Akamai or Limelight did to get content onto Comcast’s network.
For example, Level 3 even told people back in 2007 that it could deliver CDN services for thesame price as Internet access, a feat made possible because it owned its own networks. So when Comcast pointed out the traffic Level 3 was sending to its network would more than double to reach a 5:1 ratio when compared to the Comcast traffic sent over Level 3′s network, it was justifying its decision to act, something covered in Comcast’s peering agreement . (For detailed analysis of Comcast’s peering agreement check out this post from Vijay Gill.)
Nough said. I think Level 3 got caught trying to double dip here and it’s now crying foul. Comcast’s peering policy is clear in this instance as noted here. Level 3 is just playing on the “hey this company is huge so they are automatically evil” mindset so many Americans have grown up with(which is a fantasy BTW). I’m not saying Comcast is an angel but I don’t think they are the bad guys here.