North American Network Operators Group

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Re: Cogent/Level 3 depeering

  • From: Richard A Steenbergen
  • Date: Thu Oct 06 02:52:30 2005

On Wed, Oct 05, 2005 at 11:15:58PM -0700, william(at) wrote:
> That reminds me. If you remember the whole thing started with that L3
> complains that Cogent is trying to steal its customers. I kind of checked
> and it appears Cogent is after dialup/dsl/cable ISPs who as you can
> guess have absolutely opposite traffic ratio to typical hosting provider 
> that uses cogent. Obviously this extra traffic does not cost Cogent 
> anything (even if its not peering but transit) and allows it to level
> its in/out ratio.

Inbound traffic doesn't cost them anything? That old adage only applies to 
end user transit purchasers who have doing extra outbound and thus have 
"free inbound" under the "higher of in or out" billing. For folks 
operating an actual network, the bits use the same resources as traffic in 
the opposite direction, and thus "cost" the same. The only reason Cogent 
gives out free or absurdly underpriced inbound transit is ratios.

> Now going back to it L3 considers that by offering them connectivity
> at almost no cost Cogent is dumping - but L3 did the same to get those
> customers under their contracts some years ago (also in order to even
> its ratio) and besides that I've heard several times from smaller ISPs 
> (see discussion on isp-bandwidth year or two ago) that they are willing 
> to provide transit for dialup & dsl ISPs at no charge (and I think I
> know couple cases where that is true) so they would have better ratio
> for peering. Now Cogent is also offering free transit for single-homed
> L3 customers to spite L3 after depeering - majority of such single-homed
> transit customers are in fact these dsl/dialup ISPs Cogent is after
> which is why they were willing to make this offer ...

I know folks who are willing to give away all manner of things, inbound 
and outbound, for free or low cost, because they have "excess capacity" 
that they're already paying for and nothing better to do with it. If 
you're desperate and you're willing to sacrifice long term marketing for 
short term cash it can be a cute technique, but to quote Vijay, "it does 
not scale". Besides, if anyone is depeering Cogent now because of their 
disruptive pricing in the market, they're a couple years late. Speculate 
all you like, but I suspect there is more to it than that.

Richard A Steenbergen <[email protected]>
GPG Key ID: 0xF8B12CBC (7535 7F59 8204 ED1F CC1C 53AF 4C41 5ECA F8B1 2CBC)