CloudFlare went on the offensive this week with their peering disputes. Maybe I should frame this as CloudFlare’s desire to peer with the regional monopolies that basically refuse to peer with anyone:
there are six expensive networks (HiNet, Korea Telecom, Optus, Telecom Argentina, Telefonica, Telstra) that are more than an order of magnitude more expensive than other bandwidth providers around the globe and refuse to discuss local peering relationships
Meet the dirty half-dozen: the six ISPs that are completely out of step with global bandwidth pricing. https://t.co/kW8AEODJLN
— Matthew Prince (@eastdakota) August 17, 2016
Nothing about this surprises me in the least. Startup/growing network operators have been banging their collective heads against the walls for decades trying to break into the old boys club of the Tier 1 providers. Even Tier 1 providers have a hard time negotiating peering relationships when geo-political realities (for example ask a Japanese Telco about their peering relationships with other Asian Telcos) are in the mix.
What this post signals to me more than anything else is that CloudFlare has reached a maturation point in their business. All out growth is being weighed against the financial costs of acquiring the growth. Or more specifically, the growth of free users.
I admire CloudFlare, their ideals, and their continued support of “free” tiers of service for the general internet user. They have every right to scale back and restrict their free service tier. I’m just not sure I like the optics of the approach here, don’t blame others for your decisions.