Auction, but don't block
This paper argues that ISP's recent actions to block certain applications (e.g. BitTorrent) and attempts to differentiate traffic could be a signal of bandwidth scarcity. Bandwidth-intensive applications such as VoD could have driven the traffic demand to the capacity limit of their networks. This paper proposes to let ISPs auction their bandwidth, instead of blocking or degrading applications. A user places a bid in a packet header based on how much he values the communication. When congestion occurs, ISPs allocate bandwidth to those users that value their packets the most, and charge them the Vickrey auction price. We outline a design that addresses the technical challenges to support this auction and analyze its feasibility. Our analysis suggests that the design have reasonable overhead and could be feasible with modern hardware. © 2008 ACM.