France Telecom Accused Of Holding YouTube Videos Hostage Unless It Gets More Money
from the more-peering-disputes dept
Millions of French netizens discover their YouTube streams sputter and die or never begin in the first place. Other video services, including TF1, are also struggling. The effect varies, sometimes randomly and sometimes by time of day. Respected consumer organization UFC-Que Choisir found between 20% and 50% of users surveyed online had problems.The details suggest that this isn't so much a "neutrality" issue as a peering dispute. In fact, it actually sounds somewhat similar to the Level 3 / Comcast dispute from a few years back. In that case, Level 3 was providing service to Netflix, and Comcast worried about the big influx of traffic. Comcast (like France Telecom) demanded that Level 3 pay up for delivering it extra traffic. The bit that's interesting here is that French regulators got involved and said that this was legal in this case, though they're worried about the lack of transparency.
Again, the existing connection remains and much of the traffic gets through. But Net traffic always grows and without regularly adding additional capacity many - not all - streams are blocked. French networks, with France Telecom in the lead, are refusing to accept growing traffic from Cogent, a major backbone carrier that services Google. They demand payment to accept all the streams their customers request. The independent French competition authority (Autorite de la concurrence) on September 20 approved the charging plan, leaving no doubt this is neutrality dispute.
Of course all this does is show, yet again, how the internet's interconnectivity through peering arrangements is increasingly under pressure as certain broadband players become more powerful. And, unfortunately, the public (and their YouTube videos) may be at risk.