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Verizon Network Hog Nonsense

Verizon LogoThere has been an awe inspiring amount of uninformed chatter with regards to Vinton Cerf (works for Google now, don’t forget) pointing a finger at Verizon for reserving 80% of their network bandwidth for themselves. It all started with this Businessweek Article. I really need to stop writing about Verizon, Net Neutrality, etc but the prevailing public opinion on these subjects have me all jacked up…. and my friends know that when I get jacked up I can’t shut up.

Businessweek’s hit piece said the following:

Now, Cerf and his Net compatriots have new ammunition to back up their fears. Documents filed with the Federal Communications Commission show that Verizon Communications (VZ) is setting aside a wide lane on its fiber-optic network for delivering its own television service. According to Marvin Sirbu, an engineering professor at Carnegie Mellon University who examined the documents, more than 80% of Verizon’s current capacity is earmarked for carrying its service, while all other traffic jostles in the remainder.

Huh? FiOS uses a secondary wavelength to deliver video. What other services are they talking about? Ars Technica called up Marvin Sirbu, the professor quoted in the BW article and he provided the following:

In short, there’s almost no cause for concern that Verizon’s own traffic will relegate other services to the dark alleys of the Fios network. The video is actually being delivered on a separate wavelength from the other services. According to Sirbu, roughly 3.5Gbps of the network’s capacity will be allocated for downstream video. That leaves 620Mbps of bandwidth for ‘Net traffic, which is split up between the 32 users on each Broadband Passive Optical Network node. Once Verizon switches to Gigabit PON, that number will rise to 2.4Gbps. Video on demand will be delivered via IPTV.

That’s 3.5Gbs of ONE-WAY OPTICAL ANALOG capacity and it’s clear Businessweek is distorting the truth here (I wonder if Prof. Sirbu tried to dissuade them?). It could never be used for transmitting 1’s and 0’s as the light is directly converted to an analog electrical signal and driven on Coax to your TV. That’s why you can use FiOS without a set-top box.

Most importantly, at the end of the day, Verizon OWNS THE FIBER, and can do whatever they want with it.

It says a lot about the quality of Blogs and Mainstream media that no one who wrote negative things about Verizon bothered to provide technical substantiation for these claims. The only coverage I have seen that is fair is at IP Democracy, which has a history of being somewhat anti-telco. Hats off to them for keeping a cool head.

I would like a copy of the FCC filings that Vinton Cerf is referring to. My bet is that there is nothing in there that hasn’t already been made public.

Vinton Cerf, visionary, presidential medal etc. lost all of his independence when he went to work for Google. The fact is if you want to sling bits into/out of a house, you need to go through a Telco or Cableco in almost every case.

Deal with it, start a company to circumnavigate it, but don’t distort the truth.


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  1. i agree with you. comcast reserves 95% of their capacity for their content! (of the ~800mhz, almost 750mhz is reserved for video).

    if anyone has a problem, please feel free to invest $1500 a house and pass fiber which you can do what you like with it.

    Posted by sampath | February 4, 2006, 12:40 PM
  2. Forget about the bandwidth they reserve for their private video network. The real issue is their demand for “class of service surcharge” on their Internet bandwidth. Verizon, AT&T, the cable companies have oligopoly control of broadband to the end user. If they want to create a two tiered data network, and charge content providers for the faster tier, they must apply that same pricing to their own internal content providers. If Vonage has to pay for the higher class of service to get realtime performance, then Verizon’s voicewing division has to pay as well. If there isn’t a way to enforce this policy, then the Broadbander’s (V.,T., Comcast…) have to divest of their data applications, or forsake this higher performance surcharge and just continue with our current neutral Internet. They already have an unfair advantage in that they can locate their high performance applications “closer” to their endusers. In a better world they’d have to keep their applications separate from their network until we had multiple, competitive broadband providers to the end user.

    A quick search of the net (quick because the net is still neutral) comes up with a well written version of my position –

    Posted by Oligopolist | February 8, 2006, 12:26 AM
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