Verizon, Cogent Tussle Over Peering and Netflix

June 20th, 2013 by · 4 Comments

If you thought the flashpoint at the intersection of netflix, net neutrality, and peering had gone away, think again. This time it’s Verizon and Cogent mixing it up. Apparently, Verizon has been neglecting to upgrade its peering connection with its smaller rival, and it is now overflowing.

As Netflix has rolled out its own CDN infrastructure, Cogent has been picking up some of the traffic load. When pressed, Verizon yesterday fell back on the balanced traffic ratio argument, saying that Cogent is simply violating the terms of their peering agreement and therefore it’s their own fault.

This isn’t a story about Netflix, or about Verizon “letting” anybody’s traffic deteriorate. This is a fairly boring story about a bandwidth provider that is unhappy that they are out of balance and will have to make alternative arrangements for capacity enhancements, just like any other interconnecting ISP.

That last bit sounded quite reasonable, but essentially says Cogent can buy transit to fix the problem or they can go home and cry to Mommy — them’s fighting words.

When faced with this a few years ago, Level 3 chose to pay under protest to keep the bits flowing. As far as I know that dispute is still simmering in one form or another, with Level 3 looking for allies in establishing bit-mile peering as the new standard. But Cogent does not operate a CDN and the traffic growth has been more gradual, so their situation is somewhat different.

Yet I have warned that if last mile providers choose to make this stand, it doesn’t necessarily matter if it’s against a CDN/transit provider or a transit provider with big content customers. Logic is not a big piece of the puzzle. With video taking over the internet, traffic ratios will NEVER be balanced between the last mile and the internet.  It’s a fig leaf for a toll booth that tries to bypass net neutrality by moving upstream.  But I’ve been saying that for years.  Four years, actually.

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Categories: Content Distribution · Internet Backbones · Internet Traffic

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4 Comments So Far

  • mhammett says:

    Last mile providers have been buying up legacy backbones to lower costs and stretch their peering ratios. It’s now caught up with them and they’re going to blame everyone else they can. Who does the public know, Verizon or Cogent? If Verizon says these other no-name guys are the problem, that’s what the public will believe.

    Personally, I can’t wait until I am get peering with anyone. I’m not going to look a gift horse in the mouth.

  • beetlejuice says:

    Ever notice how it’s aaalwaaays Cogent in the mix when peering disputes happen? There is a reason, and it is not because they are a great network citizen.

    • Crossy says:

      for my part I’m glad there are Cogent and its kind available in many parts around the world. We would still “enjoy” the last mile digital tollbooth of incumbents otherwise. It’s about time the NET players manage to isolate the root issue for the problem: market power (“quasi-monopolies”) at the network edge.

      Yes, I like many others have a “vested interest” to see Cogent prevail in this dispute, like most other bandwidth-starved power users in the enterprise and SMB sphere.


      • curious says:

        as someone with similar interests, is it actual availability of bandwidth or the price of bandwidth? How much do you need currently and how much do you project you need going forward?

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