Level3 and Cogent Duke It Out, Users Lose Connectivity

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Level3 and Cogent, two giant Internet backbone carriers, are embroiled in an escalating cycle of hostility, which hit a new level this week when Level3 summarily cut off all traffic flowing from Cogent’s Internet space through theirs, causing customers of both Level3 and Cogent to lose their Internet connectivity.

At issue, Level3 claims, is a huge drain on resources, particularly bandwidth, which Cogent’s Internet traffic is causing for Level3.


But regardless of the drain, and the ultimate issue, to cut someone (or thousands of someones) off from the Internet, particularly in such a fashion, violates just about every unwritten law, and not a few written tenets, of playing nice on the Internet. And so as might be expected, Level3’s action has raised a hue and cry across the industry.

Said Basex CEO Jonathan Spira, “Thou shalt not stop Internet traffic. Think how bad non-planned outages are. This is something that was not only foreseeable, but largely inexcusable.”

Spira further explained that “It’s significant, especially if you’re a customer of one of those companies. It also points out the frailties that exist in the way the Internet is managed as it is still a non-hierarchical system.”

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Also a largely unregulated system, and some worry that actions such as Level3’s could prompt the government to start poking its nose where it’s not wanted.

Although Spira is on record as believing that will not come to pass, he says of Level3’s action, “Whoever decided to actually do this lacks a certain amount of common sense.”

In the meantime, in an interesting twist, Cogent has offered free Internet access to Level3’s customers.

 

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The Internet Patrol is and always has been free. We don't hide our articles behind a paywall, or restrict the number of articles you can read in a month if you don't give us money. That said, it does cost us money to run the site, so if something you read here was helpful or useful, won't you consider donating something to help keep the Internet Patrol free?
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