Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Big ISPs can offer services that protect net neutrality and the bottom line

I read an article a while back, before Google and Verizon actually announced their psuedo net neutrality plan, about what Google and Verizon might be cooking up that didn't violate net neutrality "technically," but still allowed Google to reach users faster. In the article, the author theorizes that Google maybe trying to reach a deal to get their self-contained data centers closer to Verizon customers by placing the shipping containers that Google uses at the Verizon data centers. Thus, creating a shorter distance between Google's servers and the search user, and because it doesn't "technically" violate pure net neutrality standards of each packet being treated equally, it's a WIN/WIN for all parties involved. Google wins by lowering data transfer costs and speeding search results to the user, Verizon wins by collecting additional fees for providing the power and connection to their network, and the Verizon customers win because they get their search results and YouTube videos faster without paying more for the service.

I personally think that this is an awesome idea, and I can not hardly believe that the big ISPs haven't thought of this before. I think that the big ISPs, or any ISP for that matter, should start setting up Amazon CloudFront style systems straight away. Can you imagine how much better watching a Netflix streaming video would be if there were only a few hops in the network between you and the server, instead of 18? Comcast, Verizon, Time Warner, and all the other big players should be doing this as fast as they can. They already have to maintain huge data centers with network switching hubs, why wouldn't they want to make some extra money off leasing space on their hardware to content providers?

These big ISPs should take it even further, they could provide a regionally-based DNS service for redirecting domains to the closest data center that served files for that domain. And further still, they could offer a regionally based Amazon EC2-esque system of cloud computing services at these regional data centers. I mean why haven't they jumped on the cloud computing bandwagon? They are in the best position possible for leveraging existing hardware and customer connectivity for providing the most efficient possible connection with potential consumers of ANY given internet product.

While these guys argue over whether or not net neutrality will stifle or enhance innovation in the world of internet connections, they are missing what could potentially be the next big money maker for their industry, and a product line that benefits everyone in line from the provider, to the business consumer, on down to us lowly individual customers. Maybe some big company like Amazon will catch on and make some sort of deal with the big ISPs that will allow them to fill the gap where the ISPs are failing.

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