Net Neutrality

The Google/Orange Internet deal: much ado about nothing?


Today there was lot of agitation on the press because of an alleged deal between Google and Orange, whereby the former would pay for the Internet traffic conveyed over the network of the latter. Some press is claiming that this is a revolution for the Internet, other fear that this will be the end of net neutrality. However, certain and clear details of the deal are scarce.

I suspect there might be is a misrepresentation and also an overestimation of the events. apparently, the source of the information is Orange, which for some reasons would like to present the event has an historical achievement.

However, as far as I understood, Google and Orange may have signed just a direct peering agreement, i.e. an agreement for the mutual exchange of Internet traffic. Such agreements do not normally provides for payment, when the exchanged Internet traffic is balanced, while a payment may be due when there is an unbalance. This is a simple matter of commercial negotiation. The reasons for Google and Orange in closing such an agreement may be that direct peering will facilitate the customers’ experience of Orange’s subscribers when accessing Google’s services. In other words, no specific quality service will be provided, however the access to Google services is expected to improve because of the traffic being directly routed between the 2 operators, instead of transiting via more complex international network connections.

This is my understanding of the deal. There is no substantial news, because peering agreements are ultra-normal in this area, and payments are subject to customary negotiations. I do not see any prejudice for net neutrality, as far as the traffic will not be differentiated.  Unless the deal contains spectacular secret clauses, nothing more to report. Sorry!

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