Apparently the network comprised of 28 x 200Gb/s (64GBaud/QPSK) sub-channels, bundled together to provide combined capacity, achieving some of the highest capacity and spectral efficiency ever seen.
One big, big name is Youtube, who was burning through other people's money faster than a drunk Kennedy and getting rightfully sued every 5 minutes for copyright infringement. They had a cool idea, and a completely non-sustainable business model that was guaranteed to put them belly-up within 36 months until Google bought them. Google brought to bear their expertise in funding a free service in a way that keeps customers happy (aka the best targeted advertising available) , allowing YouTube to survive and thrive rather than burning away investors' money until investors got sick of it and'the whole thing imploded.
YouTube's business model from the beginning was to get bought by Google, and so they focused their business towards that end and succeeded. Had that not been their primary goal, they may have done things very differently. In any event, using them as an example of a smaller company that needed to be bought isn't wrong, but the assertion that they needed the good processes that came from the larger company is false. They were very efficient at exiting for maximum return for their shareholders.
I call BS. We're at the Westin as well, and x-connects in the 19th floor meet-me room are free, while x-connects between floors are a one-time build cost. even if you don't have your own space and are leasing lines from a data centre, they're only $50-$200/mo. Powered equipment may not be permitted in the meet-me room, but there is nothing that would stop you from putting some passive DWDM muxes in there so you could even run 40-80x 10Gb-100Gb links over the same fiber. The only way I see x-connects being expensive is you're using Equinix, but that would be your own business decision, and not inherent costs to peering.
Also, 10Gb optics sourced directly from China where they're manufactured can be purchased for less than $100 for LR optics, or less than $1000 for DWDM optics, which is peanuts for a one-time cost. Sure, line cards and therefore physical interfaces are expensive, but that's why public peering exchanges like the SIX (Seattle Internet Exchange) exist so you can peer with many different networks over the same interface. If you are doing enough traffic over a link to justify private peering however, your equipment costs should be built-in to your business model, and whether it's peering or other traffic shouldn't matter.
Although I do agree with your assessment that this isn't a net neutrality issue, it most certainly is a case of large eyeball networks trying to double-dip on charging for bandwidth, and criticism of them is well deserved.
Note that I qualified my statement to both include China's perception, and "proper".
In 1972, 1995, and in 2001, various Japanese prime ministers have issued what they considered to be a valid apology. Each time, China rejected the statement as a valid apology for one or more of three reasons: 1) the lack of the explicit mention of the word “apology,” 2) the lack of the explicit mention of China as the victim of Japanese aggression, and 3) the apology was only stated in a speech, but not written down in an official document. - See more at: http://www.tealeafnation.com/2012/12/has-japan-ever-apologized-to-china-for-its-wartime-aggression/#sthash.bIg5DWBO.dpuf
they believe their civilization has been unfairly held down for too long by hostile foreign powers and that it is finally time for their superior race/culture to take its rightful place of leadership on the world stage.
In China's case, there were the opium wars and the invasion by Japan. It doesn't help that China feels they have still never received a proper apology, and that there are Nanking deniers among Japan's right wing conservatives, including current prime minister Shinzo Abe. China has also been in place of leadership throughout most of its history (so far as Asia is concerned at least), with the last few hundred years being the exception.