Pragmatism (was Re: [ppml] Re: 2005-1:Multi-national Business Enablement)

Tom Vest tvest at
Thu May 5 08:26:04 EDT 2005

On May 5, 2005, at 10:32 AM, Tom Vest wrote:

> On May 4, 2005, at 7:15 PM, David Conrad wrote:
>> My larger worry, however, is that the institution of 
>> non-network-topological addressing will lead to a traditional 
>> telecoms-like settlement regime for the Internet as geo-* addressing 
>> requires (at least in all the proposals I've heard) ISPs provide 
>> transit for non-customers/non-peers.  I'm not smart enough to think 
>> up a way to do this without some sort of settlement mechanism, but 
>> perhaps others are.  Further, while I might think inflicting 
>> settlements on the Internet would be an astoundingly bad idea, it is 
>> perhaps instructive to note that the PSTN has functioned (more or 
>> less) and been economically stable for more than a century.
> A big correction is in order here. The international telephony 
> settlement system was significantly destabilized in 1996-1997, when 
> the US FCC took steps to address an escalating problem with the ITU 
> accounting system. To the best of my knowledge, many developed 
> countries no longer participate, or participate fully, in this system. 
> Apparently this event is still not widely known or well understood; I 
> am writing a CircleID article related to this, but will provide a 
> quick overview now...

A third implication comes to mind. International telephony settlements 
probably "reified" and stabilized PSTNs as the chief moving parts in 
the global circuit switched communications industry, just as the 
current peering/transit arrangements reinforce the role of autonomous 
systems in the packet-based traffic business. No country is especially 
well-served by another country's PSTN, and perhaps no customer is 
particularly well-served by another's (unrelated) network provider. But 
overall, which set of arrangements is better equipped to deliver the 
varied, rapidly evolving and diversifying content, services, and 
technologies that packet switching makes possible? Which will best 
preserve the openness that permits current "customers" to step up and 
become providers themselves (and when circumstances warrant, vice 
versa)? Of the developing network economies today, which are better 
served (all things considered), those with substantial provider 
diversity at layer 3, or those where the rule remains one phone 
company, one network?


More information about the ARIN-PPML mailing list