Verizon Offers Direct Access To Backbone
Online video producers may be happy to learn that Verizon is offering direct regional access to its network. A more direct content delivery network means producers can skip the sometimes cumbersome peering arrangements that slow down online video and pump content directly onto Verizon’s Internet backbone network.
Verizon says its Partner Port Program results in a faster, more responsive connection to Verizon’s backbone network for less money.
"We have built one of the most robust networks in the marketplace and are providing a pricing structure that moves content providers and CDNs beyond traditional delivery systems to a model that taps that capacity in the best interest of broadband customers," said Quintin Lew, senior vice president of Verizon Partner Solutions.
The offering is similar to arrangements Google has with ISPs where Google pays to place servers inside the network to get content geographically closer to end users. A video producer trying to send video cross-country, for example, would be able to bypass multicarrier networks with multiple connections and pump video directly to Verizon customers on the other side of the continent.
"When it comes to content delivery, speed is critical," Lew said. "By accessing our Internet backbone network regionally rather than transporting content across the continent to reach users, content owners can have the confidence that their material is connecting to Verizon’s network over shorter paths with fewer ‘hops.’ The result is fewer opportunities for delays or packet-loss failures due to traffic or other technical incidents like router failures, fiber cuts and the like."
The new offering could also help address the issue ISPs have brought up on numerous occasions in regard to the popularity of online video. Congestion at the packet-level has led to heated debate about ISP-regulated content as providers seek to prioritize certain kinds of content or block file-sharing networks in order to avoid congestion. Watchdogs feared that with the ability to choose which content was delayed or blocked, ISPs would exercise that power with their own self-interest, or would charge premium rates for favorable treatment.
The new program from Verizon seems to bypass those arguments as well by offering a way to get around multicarrier networks at reportedly lower cost to the content producer then they would pay otherwise. However it remains to be seen if connecting to various geographic areas would cost more collectively, and it does set up a situation similar to cable television, where certain online content would be available only in certain areas and on certain providers, assuming AT&T and competitors follow suit.
This may be the compromise some more hard-line Net Neutrality advocates will have to make. While it does appear a backdoor move to set up those dirt roads and superhighways where only the deep-pocketed content-producer can afford fast delivery, it doesn’t appear to be a situation where an ISP is blocking or favoring content and services, which is the biggest fear.