Verizon: That peering flap (about Netflix) is Cogent’s fault

Earlier this week we reported that a peering flap between Verizon (s vz) and Cogent Communications was the reason some folks were having sub-optimal experience when trying to get access to Netflix content. Cogent pointed the finger at Verizon and said that the phone operator was letting the ports used to connect local networks to massive networks fill up without the usual discussion about provisioning more ports.

Today, Verizon on their policy blog said that we “don’t have the full story” and that this is a problem on Cogent’s part. Here is what they wrote:

Cogent is not compliant with one of the basic and long-standing requirements for most settlement-free peering arrangements: that traffic between the providers be roughly in balance. When the traffic loads are not symmetric, the provider with the heavier load typically pays the other for transit (see our ex parte filing[PDF] from the 2010 Comcast/Level 3 spat for more info on peering and transit agreements). 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.


Verizon labeled Cogent as a repeat offender — and they have been — in the peering disputes. Of course, the Verizon statement doesn’t address the issues of Netflix being a bone of contention between Cogent and them.

Earlier this morning, my colleague Stacey Higginbotham wrote about the growing tensions between companies such as Verizon, content providers and wholesale bandwidth providers.

The telcos and cable providers, intent on protecting their margins and their pay TV businesses, have taken network neutrality from the public world of consumer pricing and throttling to the data centers. Instead of banning Skype, or charging more for it on their networks, they want to change they way they charge content providers, demanding that they pay more for ports on the network when traffic starts filling them up.

There is great discussion in the comments section of our original post on peering problems and Stacey’s post from this morning. Weigh in with your comments.