other regions of the world. These eﬀorts may force other Internet companies tofollow suit, in order to remain competitive. For example, MySpace appears tobe partnering with Limelight Networks, a Content Delivery Network, to buildout a WAN for MySpace.Our paper makes several contributions. First, we alert the network researchcommunity to this emerging trend, as it may aﬀect the assumptions used inother studies. Second, we provide initial measurements on the number and sizeof the networks already in place for some large content providers. Third, wedescribe the potential implications of this trend, and discuss whether this is anatural evolution of the Internet architecture, an unsightly barnacle which willultimately create additional problems, or a contrived attempt to disrupt thebalance of power among the providers of the Internet architecture.
2.1 Internet Architecture
The Internet architecture has evolved throughout its history. Initially, a singlebackbone network connected a small number of research networks, to enable re-searchers to remotely access computing resources at other institutions . In thelate 1980’s, commercial ISPs began to form, and by 1995 the backbone networkwas completely transitioned to commercial operation . This transformationresulted in the current three-tiered organization of the Internet infrastructure:backbone networks (Tier-1 ISPs), regional networks (Tier-2 ISPs), and accessnetworks (Tier-3 ISPs) [5,11]. Consumers and
access the In-ternet via Tier-3 ISPs. A Tier-2 ISP connects a number of Tier-3 providers to theInternet. The Tier-2 ISP peers with other Tier-2 ISPs to deliver their customer’straﬃc to the intended destinations. Tier-2 ISPs may also connect to some Tier-1ISPs, to more directly reach a larger fraction of the Internet. There are only afew Tier-1 ISPs. Tier-1 ISPs
traﬃc for their customers (Tier-2 ISPs), fora fee. Tier-1 ISPs peer with all other Tier-1 ISPs (and do not pay transit fees)to form the Internet backbone .
2.2 Motivations For Change
There are a number of reasons why content providers may be motivated tobuild their own wide-area networks, rather than utilize ISPs to deliver contentto users. Three broad categories are
. We discuss each in turn.When the “dot-com bubble” burst (around 2000), many Internet companies,including Tier-1 ISPs such as WorldCom, Genuity, and Global Crossing wentbankrupt . This
 motivated surviving (and new) In-ternet companies to increase their focus on “business essentials”, such as
. One risk mitigation strategy content providers mayemploy is to reduce their dependencies on partners. This could avoid disrup-tions in a content provider’s core business, if, for example, a partner declared