For Charter Communications NW CT Area 19

PO BOX 87, Newtown CT 06470

Email Chairman@CableAdvisoryCouncil.com



Gregory G. Davis May 2014 Council Meeting



Understanding The Backbone of the INTERNET and OTT

(a GGD overview in Follow the money) 


Definitions & Research - Courtesy of Wikipedia


The Internet is a global system of interconnected computer networks that use the standard Internet software language protocol suite (TCP/IP) to link several billion devices worldwide. It is a network of networks that consists of millions of private, public, academic, business, and government networks, of local to global scope, that are linked by a broad array of electronic, wireless, and optical networking technologies. (TCIP = Transport Control Internet Protocol; IP = Internet Protocol)


The Internet backbone is the national private sector infrastructure of Copper and Fiber Optic lines originally built to handle long distance telephone traffic, and expanded for general data handling, as analog voices became digital data streams.


Local Internet Service Providers connect customers who represent the bottom of the routing hierarchy, to customers of other ISPs via other higher or same-tier ISP networks. At the top of the ISP routing hierarchy are the tier 1 networks, large telecommunication companies that exchange traffic directly with each other via peering agreements.  A Peering agreement is a tit for tat deal, without cash payments for traffic handling. Tier 1 ISP's make their money handling traffic from Tier 2 and lower ISP's, and other customers needing humungous data pipes.


Tier 1 providers


The largest ISP’s, known as tier 1 providers, have such comprehensive networks that they never purchase transit agreements from other providers.   The Tier 1 providers are nominally defined as the “Internet Backbone”.


As of 2013 there are only seven tier 1 providers in the telecommunications industry. Current Tier 1 carriers include Level 3 Communications, TeliaSonera International Carrier, CenturyLink, Vodafone, Verizon, Sprint, and AT&T Corporation.  Big fish continue to get bigger;  There were 14 tier 1 ISP's in 2011.




Antitrust authorities have acted to ensure that no provider grows large enough to dominate the backbone market. In the United States, the Federal Communications Commission has decided not to monitor the competitive aspects of the Internet backbone interconnection relationships as long as the market continues to function well.




Over-the-top content (OTT) refers to delivery of video, audio and other media over the Internet without a multiple system operator being involved in the control or distribution of the content. The provider may be aware of the contents of the Internet Protocol packets but is not responsible for, nor able to control, the viewing abilities, copyrights, and/or other redistribution of the content. This is in contrast to purchase or rental of video or audio content from an Internet service provider (ISP), such as pay television video on demand, or an IPTV video service, like AT&T U-Verse, or other bundled video content as sold by cable companies and community antenna systems (the MVPD’s).


OTT in particular refers to content that arrives from a third party, such as Netflix, Amazon,  WhereverTV,and others.  It is delivered to an end user device, leaving the ISP responsible only for transporting IP data packets.


Customers can access OTT content through internet-connected devices such as desktop and laptop computers, Smart TV’s,  TV Dongles a la Chromecast, tablets, smartphones including iPhones and Android phones, set-top boxes such as the Roku and Google TV, gaming consoles such as the Wii, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Customers can access apps in most app stores.


GGD Editorial:  How Big can Big Fish get?  Note that ATT is a TIER 1 ISP;   And remember, per ATT official policy statement in December 2013 to the SVAC;  ATT will be a completely wireless company within 5 years.  Obviously the ATT role as a Tier 1 Internet Service Provider involves cables;  Primarily Fiber Optic. But ALL future ATT consumer products (ie Mass Market products with recurrent revenues) will be wireless...The ATT proposed purchase of Direct TV is incredibly significant.  ATT will make the play to directly compete with wired ISP services through their extensive on-going investment in Cell Phone towers, and their purchases of Broadcast Spectrum at FCC Auctions, backed up by space Satellites in giving total wireless coverage.  With this ATT Whale in the making, COMCAST is making the play with TWC to compete with ATT, with their “wired” internet connection option.    Note that Comcast, in 2013 had 21.7 million or so Cable TV customers, with 20 million or so of those same customers also subscribing to Comcast Internet Service…. The Emerging Back Door into the customer home and onto their TV Screens with the internet firehose of OTT content.  The collapse of the Bundled PAY TV Business could happen with the speed of a mountainside mudslide.