North American Network Operators Group

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Re: Regulatory intervention

  • From: Michael.Dillon
  • Date: Fri Oct 07 09:58:01 2005

> Even those IXs with MPLA policy have to rely on law and courts for
> enforcement -- that is, those with guns.

In the United States, as in most countries, there is an
explicit separation of the courts from the enforcement
of laws. For instance, in the United States, the Executive
Branch is in charge of the guys with guns, while the Judicial
branch only deals with making decisions about the application
of the laws created by the Legislative branch. The laws
are executed and enforced by the Executive branch, hence
the name.

Laws only need to be enforced when there is a dispute.
Laws and regulations, do not necessarily imply that
enforcement action is needed. Many people and organizations
comply with laws for reasons other than the existence of
enforcers. For instance, an organization may feel that it
is in the industry's best interests to comply with regulations
and therefore it does so in order to set an example for
its competitors and to attract customers.

Regulations also do not imply the involvement of governments.
It is possible for industries to self-regulate such as the
ARIN policies which are a product of the ARIN membership,
i.e. companies who use IP addresses in their networks.

There are also currently attempts to establish self-regulation
in the email industry. In the past there was some regulation
of Internet peering by the members of an industry organization
in the USA called CIX.

> I'm afraid your head-in-the-sand approach doesn't appear to be working
> well at this time.  Major network partition, affecting thousands of
> networks and tens (or hundreds) of thousands of actual people, 48 hours
> and counting.

If the press would truly understand this event then they would
be reporting this as a *MAJOR* flaw in the business model of 
the largest ISPs. The absence of regulation in Internet peering
allows this type of situation to come about. It is my opinion
that the network and the Internet business would both be stronger
if there was some regulation of peering and IP/MPLS network 

This could be done in a couple of ways. One is to have an industry
association develop self-regulation in conjunction with major end
users of network services. The other would be for regulation to be
imposed from without by some kind of interconnect or monitoring
business like Equinix or Keynote. The analogy here is the New York
Stock Exchange which is a 3rd party which monitors and interconnects
the buyers and sellers of shares. In the case of Internet operators
I don't foresee the need for an SEC equivalent unless operators
cannot agree to disclose their peering agreements and the technical
details of their interconnects.

A couple of good things can come out of this "open peering" model.
One is that disclosure of the technical details, including packet
drop, buffer consumption, and bandwidth, would lead to more reliable
interconnects and the ability to provide quality of service SLAs 
across provider networks. The other possible benefit is to develop
more sophisticated interconnect variants such as MPLS VPN interconnects
and CDN or multicast interconnects.

--Michael Dillon