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Re: Cogent/Level 3 depeering

  • From: JC Dill
  • Date: Fri Oct 07 01:55:46 2005

Alex Rubenstein wrote:

Further, the internet has always been a best-effort medium.
Can someone please explain how Level 3 is making a "best effort" to connect their customers to Cogent's customers?

Various people have stated that uneven data flows (e.g. from mostly-content networks to mostly-eyeball networks) is a good reason to not peer. I'd love to know how it improves Level 3's network to have data from Cogent arrive over some *other* connection rather than directly from a peering connection. Do they suddenly, magically, no longer have backhaul that mostly-content data across their own backbone to their users who have requested it if it should come in from one of their *other* peers who (in normal peering fashion) hot-potato hands it off to them at the first opportunity, rather than coming in directly from Cogent?

I don't think so.

So why break off peering???

AFAICT there's only one reason to break off peering, and it's to force Cogent to pay (anyone) to transit the data. Why does L3 care if Cogent sends the data for free via peering, or pays someone ELSE to transit the data?

I think this is about a big bully trying to force a smaller player off of the big guys' playing field (tier 1 peering). From where I sit it looks like an anti-competitive move that is not a "best effort" to serve their customers but a specific effort to put another (smaller) competitor out of business (of being a transit-free or mostly transit-free backbone) by forcing them to pay (someone), forcing their costs up. Level 3 must know they are no longer putting for a "best effort" for their own customers to connect them to the "internet" (as their customers see it, the "complete internet" that their customers have come to expect).

I Am Not A Lawyer. (duh?)

IMHO all L3 customers have a valid argument that Level 3 is in default of any service contract that calls for "best effort" or similar on L3's part.

I also believe that Cogent has a valid argument that Level 3's behavior is anti-competitive in a market where the tier 1 networks *collectively* have a 100% complete monopoly on the business of offering transit-free backbone internet services. As such, L3's behavior might fall into anti-trust territory - because if Cogent caves in over this and buys transit for the traffic destined for L3 then what's to stop the rest of the tier 1 guys from following suit and forcing Cogent to buy transit to get to *all* tier 1 networks? Then who will they (TINT) force out next?

What's to stop a big government (like the US) from stepping in and attempting to regulate peering agreements, using the argument that internet access is too important to allow individual networks to bully other networks out of the market - at the expense of customers - and ultimately resulting in less competition and higher rates? Is this type of regulation good for the internet? OTOH is market consolidation good for the internet?

I don't like this slippery slope, I don't like it one little bit.