Cogent-Level 3 Peering Spat Ends—for Now

In a sort of cooling-off period, Level 3 gives rival Cogent's customers a few weeks to find other Internet access, and for contract talks to continue.

Network operator Cogent said Friday that rival Level 3 "has taken the necessary actions" to once again carry its customers Internet traffic, a sign that days old service disruptions for a significant number of Internet users are over, for now.

As been reported, Level 3 Communications, a major Internet network operator, has since Wednesday refused to make room for traffic from rival Cogent because of an ongoing dispute about financial arrangements. The nasty turn has disrupted Internet service for between five and 10 of Cogents customers since about Wednesday, Cogent estimates.

On Friday afternoon, Cogent said Level 3 has restored all peering connections. Level 3, in a statement, said its done so in order to let Cogent customers make alternative arrangements. "We will maintain this connection until 6:00 a.m. ET, November 9, 2005," Level 3 wrote in a statement.

"We are pleased that Level 3 has taken the necessary actions to restore the full Internet to their customers and ours," Cogent wrote in its statement. "We welcome this move and hope and expect the peering connections will be maintained and a productive dialogue established."

/zimages/2/28571.gifClick here to read more about the spat between Level 3 and Cogent.

A Cogent spokesman, Jeff Henriksen, was asked whether service had been resumed to the customers impacted.

He wrote in an e-mail that "to date, there has been no dialogue between the two parties other than notification that the connections were being restored," and wouldnt comment further.

The apparent turn for the better in the spat follows an outcry for the U.S. government to regulate traffic-swapping arrangements between major communications providers.

These agreements, as the experiences of the last few days shows, are so key that they can bring Internet traffic to a halt for significant amounts of people.

Critics fear that more of these spats between operators will erupt, cutting off even more people.

Such spats also bolster arguments from a number of European governments that are calling for the United States to relinquish its unilateral control over Internet governance, in favor of a new body. The United States opposes the changes.

/zimages/2/28571.gifClick here to read more about how European countries think the Internet should be governed.

In the days since the spat became public, U.S. Representative Edward J. Markey, D-Mass., has suggested the Federal Communications Commission, the nations utility regulator, consider stepping into the fray if the infighting between providers goes on.

Markey, a House Telecommunications Subcommittee member, told The Boston Globe that the "FCC must be prepared to take steps to assure continuity of service to consumers."

An FCC representative did not return a call seeking comment.

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