A “Restrictive” peer does not need to peer with anyone else. A "Tier 1 ISP" often has a restrictive peering policy reflective of the idea that they can already reach any destination in the Internet Peering Ecosystem through its free and reciprocal peering arrangements.
Few Tier 1 ISPs will publicly admit that they have a Restrictive Peering Policy. They will argue that they have a Selective Peering Policy by these definitions because the requirements are objective and articulated, and they would claim that some have found the requirements reachable.
As demonstrated in the notes from the field, most peering policies can be updated at any time. The threat of regulation has made the Tier 1 ISPs systematically keep track of peering requests and the processing of those requests through their systems. They want to be able to demonstrate how they are consistent about the application of their publicly stated policies. Ultimately however, the decision to peer is an internal business decision. The important thing to understand is the underlying motivations. That will ultimately drive behavior, regardless of what the Peering Policy indicates.
Tier 1 ISPs see the rest of the participants in the Internet Peering Ecosystem as potential customers, and do not seek peering with them. In fact, they are averse to peering—they have all the peering that they need.
Notes from the field.
Peering Inclination to Make It Long and Difficult
James Spenceley (Comindico) went through the process of negotiating peering with the Tier 1 ISPs in Australia and encountered the MILD peering negotiation tactic: Make It Long and Difficult. This reflects the ISP's underlying restrictive Peering Inclination, articulated as its Restrictive Peering Policy. Ultimately, after building out massive infrastructure to meet the Telstra prerequisites, and after many rounds of negotiations, meeting rescheduling, network map sharing, and legal team replacements, Telstra adjusted its peering prerequisites upwards and Comindico no longer qualified. Telstra had wasted many millions of dollars, and it went out of business. The MILD approach is a common tactic and is included in this peering playbook as a defensive peering tactic.
To summarize, Tier 1 ISPs generally have a Restrictive Peering Inclination articulated underlying their Restrictive Peering Policy. Since they already have by definition free access to every destination within the entire Internet Region, and they forego revenue by peering, there is no incentive to accept additional peers.
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