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The Telia-Cogent Spat Could Ruin the Web For Many

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Updated: Swedish telecom operator Telia and U.S.-based connectivity provider Cogent Communications have gotten into an ugly spat and have stopped interconnecting, according to some of my sources in the telecom business. What this essentially means is that Telia’s DSL customers could have trouble seeing Cogent-connected web services. Telia, now part of TeliaSonera is one of the largest networks in Europe.

The bickering could be because one of the two parties feel they need to be paid for the traffic they are sending. I am looking into this and have emails out to all my sources in the bandwidth business, and will update accordingly. (If you have any information, drop me a line.)

Cogent had previously gotten into a slugfest with Level 3 Communications. Cogent’s stance towards Telia is hypocritical. Here is a press release they issued back in 2005 when complaining about Level3. As a reader points out, Cogent has been involved in such spats with other carriers as well. OpenTransit (France Telecom), Teleglobe, ATDN are some of those who have had Cogent issues.

This is a letter Telia sent to its customers:

Dear Customer,

We would like to give you the following information:

Cogent has decided not to exchange traffic directly with TeliaSonera’s AS 1299 or indirectly with AS 1299 through a third-party provider. As a result, Cogent has partitioned the Internet and disrupted the flow of traffic between Cogent and TeliaSonera customers.

While this has a negative impact on some users of the Internet, this effect is the result of Cogent’s decision and is unfortunately beyond TeliaSonera’s control. Until Cogent rectifies this situation, TeliaSonera customers experiencing any difficulty reaching Cogent’s network can continue to purchase IP Transit from TeliaSonera along with another Tier 1 provider. This will fix the immediate problem and ensure optimal connectivity going forward.

We sincerely apologise for the inconvenience caused…

If you have further concerns, please address your commercial contact at TeliaSonera

Updated with inputs from our readers. Thanks guys

139 Responses to “The Telia-Cogent Spat Could Ruin the Web For Many”

  1. You should ask your Webhosters if they are crayz only buying Cogent, I mean this company is every few month in a peering battle (Teleglobe, FT, Level3, Telia)…who is next? rumors say Deutsche Telekom.
    So, Telia is Transit free, Cogent is buying since years Verio because they do not have a AOL Peering. Usually everything would work via Verio (Telia-Verio-Cogent), but Cogent is filtering all routes, so thats why everything is blackholed. In my opinion this is a criminal act from Cogent, but nothing new, they did the same story with France Telecom 2 years ago.

  2. Advant, first of all its called Bredbandsbolaget and have you even tried to access something on Cogents network?
    Bredbandsbolaget belongs to telenor which has its own connection to Cogent..

  3. tunafisk

    This sucks.. I cannot go to afterdawn, gentoo wiki, daily wtf or tvu networks. After this I tried to cool down my nerves by playing Trackmania Nations for a while, but I cannot play that, because I cannot connect to TMN master servers.

    As a conclusion, I’ve just added one company to my hate list..

  4. Jazzbington


    As several correspondents have already indicated, this is all pretty standard behaviour. The world of internet peering is a pretty murky one at the best of times, with all kinds of games being played over whom will peer with whom. There is little transparency and most of the tier ones with “open” peering policies will always interpret them in such a way as to deny access into their exclusive cartel; sorry I meant “community”.

    We live in a world of commoditised IPT pricing where revenues and margins are in a state of constant decline. While at first sight this may appear to be a good thing for the Internet community as a whole, there is no such thing as a free lunch and suppliers are going to try to generate revenues and reduce costs wherever they can. In practise that means they will de-peer and charge wherever possible and congest settlement free peering links because they don’t represent a revenue stream. Remember that no matter how good the SLA you get with an IPT provider, it terminates the minute traffic goes off-net so there’s little incentive to upgrade peering links when there is no associated compensation for congestion.

    The current tiff between Telia and Cogent is merely the tip of the iceberg. Ninety percent of the politics that goes on beneath the surface is invisible to the broader community but the effects are all too evident. Just as the demands of specific revenue generative network based applications are rocketing (Video, VoIP, SaaS etc) the margins and performance associated with the underlying bearer medium are collapsing. At the same time the access networks are seeing network traffic associated with these applications starting to drive up cost and many of them are resorting to traffic shaping to protect their own extremely thin profits.

    The larger content and application guys are simply building their own networks to bypass the Tier 1’s for the majority of their traffic. Unfortunately this isn’t really an option for the smaller enterprise that just has to grin and suffer decreasing levels performance, reliability and predictability.

    While I’m not sure that in and of itself the Telia-Cogent argument represents much of a long term issue, I would suggest that current internet trading practises are likely to be the cause of increasing Web misery for all of us.


  5. Antiadvant

    As a Swede I apologize for the above comment by Advant. We’ll promptly make sure he gets back to his asylum where we will teach him about peering and what happens when one party decides to suddenly depeer.

  6. I am so pissed over this. i am swedish and i just got Bred Bands Bolaget so i am bound for 12 month. are Gogent ever gonna pass over. is this about the AI intelligent internet that check for terrorismen or something. FCK usa,

  7. I hope Telia keeps it leg straight. Cogent can want whatever they want, but they’re trying to use their (low price) customers content to earn money the other way around. Doesn’t work like that. People who single home their content / servers / datacenter(s) on Cogent can’t be serious about their business. People that have a server somewhere that they cannot reach anymore should just move their stuff to a proper datacenter. Cogent is not playing nice (again!) and everyone should have learned by now that this is no serious party to get involved with.

    Only thing I wonder is why Telia won’t use transit to reach Cogent? Or has Cogent blocked traffic to Telia completely, even via paid transit?

  8. Tulenloimu

    Thank you for the information. Haven’t got anything from Telia. Who exactly has received the letter cited on top of the page?

    I have three web sites hosted with an US hotel who I can’t reach at all by Telia. Fortunately, we also have a mobile modem connection by Tele2Comviq. But switching between connections isn’t very practical.

    Any idea how long this feud may take? Should we drop Telia and go for Comviq?

  9. Im screwed too, using linux and where i update the system and get programs are in a server that wont work anymore.

    Wonder who to yell at?

    Time to look if there is a better internet provider here in sweden….

  10. Thanks for the information, Telias customer “service” are not giving me any explanation. Telia used to be a monopoly and are not very well regarded here in Sweden, nice to see it’s not there fault this time.

  11. Capitalizm at its best.

    Dozens of my friends are cut off from the servers we regularly use, this is stupid.

    Some greedy suit in his office is directly affectin on how I spend my evening.

  12. Cogent Peering Strategy

    “Cogent is one of the five largest networks in the world in terms of the number of peers with which it works. Cogent executes an open peering strategy as part of providing its robust 100 Mbps and 1,000 Mbps Internet access services. The strategy is a combination of two separate, yet inter-related initiatives: extensive private peering and numerous public peering agreements.”

    Sorry Cogent, now you are depeering the largest network in Europe(TeliaSonera). Hope that your Customers will show you the bill.

  13. Yay, “great”. My website doesn’t work in Finland because I’m Sonera’s customer. I was just trying to update my site and now I can’t even connect to my host. I also host pile of sites which they too don’t work.

    So it isn’t just Sweden and Denmark, it’s also Finland. :(

  14. Geoffrey

    This is a regular occurrence with Cogent: their previous “slugfest” with Level(3) is mentioned but not their ‘disagreements’ with OpenTransit (France Telecom), Teleglobe, ATDN etc. Any experienced network operator should know by now that buying transit exclusively from Cogent is a bad gamble.

  15. Cogent de-peered Telia because Cogent like to have an European Peering with Telia, so now Cogent believe Telia will say yes to that, but seems to be that the US guys do not understand Swedish mentality, in my opinion Cogent should better ask his upstream Provider Verio to help reaching Telia in future.

  16. The strangest thing is that in continental europe Cogent offers 100mbps connects in poped buildings bij telia over these telia fiber lines … that would suggest that they have an extensive partnership

  17. Andreas

    Thank you for this information. Not even Telia would say anything about this issue when I contacted them yesterday, they just said “we are having some routingproblems that hopefully will be solved during the night”.

    Lets hope for a fast resolution.

  18. Om,

    The spat is over settlement free peering.

    Before, Cogent and Telia had a “comp” (ie. no $$$) connection between them.

    Today, Cogent decided that they didn’t like this arrangement. Instead, they figure that if Telia wants to talk to Cogent, it should pay Cogent (or pay another network that has a “comp” connection to Cogent).

    Very hypocritical in light of how much Cogent bitched at Level(3) not that long ago for doing the /EXACT/ same thing that Cogent is now doing to Telia.

    Telia should issue a “Standing offer to Cogent” Press Release.

    Telia can use a paid connection to reach Cogent.
    Cogent can use a paid connection to reach Telia.

    Neither company is.

    Peering is politics.

    This is not going to ‘Ruin the Web’, although it will cause a little bit of tangle as the order of the jungle is balanced. It’s an unscheduled Internet backbone pissing match. And last months victim is todays bully.

    Welcome to the Internet.