Blog Post

Cogent CEO: Peering Breakdown Is Telia's Fault

drevil.jpgIf you read the comments and channel the outrage expressed by Internet users in Nordic and Baltic nations over the Internet peering breakdown between TeliaSonera and Cogent Communications, you’ll get the impression that the latter is the devil incarnate. Not true, says Cogent CEO and founder Dave Schaffer. He lays the blame squarely on Telia, which he says is in breach of contract.

We spoke with Schaffer this morning, as the problems started to spread. For example, Blip.tv reported on their blog:

Unfortunately blip is a customer of one of these ISPs (Cogent Communications). They’re not our only ISP, but they’re one of our primary ones. For this reason some of you — particularly those of you in the European low countries — may experience issues getting to blip at the moment.

After we broke the news about the Telia-Cogent spat, many of you emailed us to point out that Cogent constantly has problems with other Internet providers, and has become sort of a pariah in the wholesale bandwidth business. To that Schaffer says: They’re just jealous.


“The problem is simple, no one likes our low-price pricing policy except our customers, and most of the companies have been reluctant peers with us,” says Schaffer, who has guided the company through some tough times. Indeed, its Wal-Mart style approach to bandwidth has helped the company grow its revenues, but not its standing in the ISP business. “They hate our pricing.”

Getting specific about Telia, Schaffer says that the Nordic carrier is in breach of a contract with his company. The bone of contention is quite arcane. Cogent says that Telia was obligated to install certain peer connections with Cogent at specific locations, but hasn’t done so because it wants to degrade the experience for Cogent customers.

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Schaffer says the problems have cropped up because Cogent has expanded into Nordic and Baltic countries in addition to building out its reach in Eastern Europe. Telia and Cogent now compete in these markets. “They are resentful of our expansion in these markets,” he says. Schaffer also says his company remains “willing and anxious for settlement-free peering” and that “Telia needs to meet their contractual obligations.”

In short, if you are a TeliaSonera customer in Nordic or Baltic nations, don’t expect a trouble-free Internet experience.

42 Responses to “Cogent CEO: Peering Breakdown Is Telia's Fault”

  1. To internet goblin

    You should wear your sharp suit when you visit Sweden, their governments own TeliaSonera whose business model fully depends on bribery and corruption.

    It’s a shame that Swedish and Finnish governments are tolerating to this crimianal business.

    Sooner or later TeliaSonera mafia will have to respond for its criminal actions against our companies.

    TeliaSonera MUST STOP SPREADING BRIBERY AND CORRUPTION IN LITHUANIA!

  2. tekilo7

    No one is mentioning that Internet Transit and access is still “best efforts”. I would encourage all Cogent customers reading this to look on their contracts and find any language referencing “full routing table acccess”. I bet you will not find it, because this service is still very much a collaboration service. Particularly in the wholesale market. So you are stuck with what you pay for.

    I received a call two days ago from a customer that was extremely upset about the whole situation, yet he understood the simple premise: The service is best efforts. There are no service level guarantees. lower rates = insecurity and no reliability. You get what you paid for.

  3. Bill Noel

    Cogent should stop this nonsense. Telia is big enough a company to fight back. Blackmail will not do. The customers will be the one that get hurt.

  4. I have some 3 servers and use cogent bandwidth now because i live in sweden i can not access them!
    If the issue does not get resolved i may move my servers.

    I really don’t care whos fault it is.

  5. Viktor.S

    FIRST OF ALL:
    Ongoing peering issue is between TELIASONERA INTERNATIONAL CARRIER(as1299) and Cogent, NOT TELIA SWEDEN(as3301) or SONERA, so if you wanna complain about bad broadband quality or bad customer support, TSIC(as1299) has got NOTHING to do with it. Except being within the same company group and that they are offering transit to them.

    SECOND:

    Fact: Teliasonera International carrier(as1299) has total transatlantic capacity of 160+90 Gbit/s.(Homepage and ip-network map not up-to-date)
    Links between Paris,London,Copenhagen-NYK,Washington(ASH).

    Stating that TSIC should have 20G or “second to none” transatlantic capacity is just a joke.

    Fact2: Cogent and TSIC only connect eachother in US, TSIC have different peering requirements for EU and US.

    I leave the speculating of why they dont peer in EU and the rest to you guys.

  6. Anders (another one)

    (from first thread) They could have settled this in court or through negotiation (like ethical companies do). It doesn’t matter AT ALL which company is right or wrong – Cognet cut the cable so to speak.

    The real problem, as several others posters mentioned, is that these tactics threatens the open structure of the Internet. 5 companies (in probably fewer, western, countries) can heavily disrupt Internet if they feel like doing so. International treaties is a must to prevent these ridicules disputes!

    Issues are present as of today (24:th Mars).

    Telia is trying to downplay the effect on their Swedish website. Saying it only affects a very small number of webb-sites. BullS* it affect loads of webb-sites. I did a tracert run from several European countries and carriers (19th) and so did my hosting provider – it affected huge numbers of users and websites (and many operators besides Telia).

    I’ve seen traffic turned on and of on specific sites which indicate Telia is trying to re-route access to Cognet nets – though I suspect Cognet is countering those moves with new barriers.

    (new in this thread) AND: Cognet ALSO seem to have stopped the Transit option to a great degree (see previos thread). Lying thives!

    “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.”

  7. Beregar

    Hmm, I’m curious if Cogent customers had advance notice about this?

    When this happened with Level 3, didn’t Cogent agree to give a warning to their customers before de-peering in the future? I suppose the agreement applied only to Cogent – Level 3 relationship…

  8. Cogent is nothing but a piece of SHIT! This is not a first time when Cogent did something like this! Cogent should be banned from servicing internet services.

  9. Cogentuser

    If you claim that it i telia’s problem, then at least give your customers what they ask for. I have been out of connection with European websites for a week and a half now. So please sort something out and provide us with the usual reach of connection. Regardless of who is at fault, your users are suffering from it.

  10. I had the impression that internet was supposed to be fault tolerant. If these kind of things are easy to do, doesn’t it also mean that terrorism is easy to do. Governments should take a hint and do something before someone uses this fault.

  11. @Mattw and @Scott, best Regards to Dave, tell him he should hire better Sales guys who understand the market and know the competition :-) You Cogent Reps are simply to stupid:-)

    Cogent Revenue: 150 Million USD
    TeliaSonera Revenue: 15 Billion USD

    So who is more money to keep the game ongoing?

  12. TeliaSonera has the biggest transatlantic capacity out of all carriers, get your facts straight or don’t speak. TeliaSonera is also the single largest owner of that transatlantic cablesystem TAT-14, alone on that cable Telia has over 50Gbps.

  13. “Just one of their facilities (Marina Del Rey) has more capacity than Telia Sonera’s transatlantic links.”

    I don’t know where you got it from that TeliaSonera only should have 20Gbps capacity cross the atlantic but it is not true, they have several times that…

  14. WaPO reports that the alternate route issue is at least partially also TeliaSonera:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/03/19/AR2008031901741.html

    “Cogent cut its direct links to TeliaSonera on March 13. For a while, customers of the two companies were still able to connect indirectly, through intermediaries connected to Cogent and TeliaSonera, but that possibility disappeared on Friday, according to Renesys

    Schaeffer said the loss of alternate routes had nothing to do with Cogent, and speculated that TeliaSonera has refused to pay other providers for traffic destined for Cogent.

    TeliaSonera did not comment on that allegation. Spokeswoman Maria Hillborg said the companies were trying to work out an agreement, and that a “requisite for that agreement is that TeliaSonera receives the compensation Cogent owes us.” “

    And frankly, expecting Cogent to pay transit to TS to stay connected is sort of absurd. They’re only paying Verio for transit because they don’t have a settlement-free connection to ATDN, but why should Cogent pay transit to reach Telia and not vice versa? Cogent is better peered. Just one of their facilities (Marina Del Rey) has more capacity than Telia Sonera’s transatlantic links.

    The fact is BOTH providers will rightly continue to bleed customers the longer they stay disconnected.

  15. Cogent has probably dug themself so far down that they can’t get up any longer.

    Normally, third party routes would work just fine, Telia has plenty of those. But like the previous poster say, Cogent still pay for transit, and they probably cannot afford the extra data coming from those sources.

    The funny thing is also, they have no real infrastructure in europe, they are simply leasing from other providers, something that costs more then it bring in.

  16. Jimmy Nice

    Cogents actions are shamefull. They are blocking all traffic from and to TeliaSonera networks. Cogent seems to own the internet, well they are just blackmailing.

  17. So this is was Renesys Data says:
    – Approximately 9% of Cogent Communications’s downstream networks are transited via providers; see selected peers
    . 1 NTT America, Inc. AS 2914

    • TeliaNet Global Network is transit-free.

    Telia has a peering with AS2914, Cogent is buying IP Transit from AS2914, everything would work but Cogent is not excepting Telia Routes via AS2914. So this is not very nice.

  18. Ah, but in most reports it is Cogent that is filtering the routes from Telia. That would mean that it is Cogent who are dropping transit for clients who are paying Cogent. In my view, while Cogent’s costs may have changed for delivering the packets on behalf of clients, they remain obligated to deliver those packets. Even at a loss.

  19. Cogent, we are waiting for you, come to Eastern Europe and finally shut this MAFIA STYLE BUSINESS OF TELIASONERA down!

    What is happening with you has happened with tens if not hunderd’s of smaller ISPs here. Corruption and bribery is the main “sales force” for TeliaSonera.

    “Friendship” with the cotrolling government bodies and politicians is why TeliaSonera’s criminal activities have not investigated yet.

    The only question remains WHY the SWEDISH GOVERNMENT, the principal shareholder of this gang is tolerating to this MAFIA STYLE business??

    TeliaSonera MUST STOP SPREADING CORRUPTION AND BRIBERY IN LITHUANIA!

  20. Breach of contract? Then leave it to the lawyers and courts to decide. Don’t penalize your customers because you’re incapable of acting responsibly in a business negotiation. If you cared about your customers you would allow access to Telia via alternate routes.

  21. internet goblin

    Erm… that’s an insightful comment from “Cogent pulled the trigger”…

    You say that makes sense, but what do you mean? Is there some Swedish conspiracy that we’ve not heard about?

  22. KjellKri

    My only comment is that this is a childish action. If you are not able to negotiate an upgrade without de-peering you should be replaced – and that may be applicable for both parties. (But only one has de-peered).

    The Internet is crucial for businesses, for governments and for the public. Actions like these are extremely dangerous for the future and may impose further government regulations. And if the reoccur that might be neccessary.

  23. Matt Liotta

    Cogent may be the victim, but that doesn’t justify them filtering Telia’s routes they receive from Verio. Cogent isn’t tier 1, which means that if they don’t having a peering arrangement then they have to pay another network to transit the route. Cogent just doesn’t want to pay.