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Net traffic resumes between feuding providers

Traffic resumed between two feuding Internet access providers Friday, mending a rift that had blocked off portions of the Internet for thousands of users over the past two days.
/ Source: Reuters

Traffic resumed between two feuding Internet access providers Friday, mending a rift that had blocked off portions of the Internet for thousands of users over the past two days.

Cogent Communications Group Inc. said rival Level 3 Communications Inc. had begun to accept its Internet traffic again after blocking it Wednesday during a dispute over payments.

“We are pleased that Level 3 has taken (this step) to restore full Internet to their customers and ours. We welcome this move and hope and expect the peering connections will be maintained,” Cogent spokesman Jeff Henriksen said.

Level 3 was not immediately available for comment.

Other Internet users confirmed that traffic between the two large wholesale providers was flowing again.

“As of midafternoon this afternoon our understanding was that connectivity was reestablished between Cogent and Level 3,” America Online Inc. spokesman Nicholas Graham said.

The dispute meant that thousands of Internet users, including customers of Time Warner Inc.’s Road Runner cable-modem service, were unable to send e-mail and view Web sites located on the other company’s network. Roughly 15 percent to 17 percent of the Internet was affected, Cogent CEO Dave Schaeffer said.

Large wholesale providers commonly hand off traffic from one network to another free of charge. But Level 3 cut off Cogent after it said it was handling too much of Cogent’s traffic.
Cogent said Level 3 was simply trying to pressure Cogent to raise its prices, which at $10 per megabit are far below the market average of $60 or so per megabit.

Cogent had offered a year of free service to Level 3 customers affected by the dispute.
Henriksen declined to say whether Cogent had agreed to pay Level 3 to handle traffic from its network.

According to Internet research firm Keynote Systems Inc., traffic between the two networks was flowing at speeds slower than normal. Speeds will likely increase as more connections are brought online.