Level 3, Comcast sign new network interconnection agreement

Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) is the latest service provider to sign an interconnection agreement with Internet transit provider Level 3 Communications ahead of the FCC's net neutrality rules that will go into effect next month.

Through this agreement, Comcast and Level 3 said they will enhance their existing network capacity while extending their mutual interconnection agreements to ensure that both providers will be able to maintain enough capacity to exchange Internet traffic between their networks.

Since network demands will fluctuate over time, the agreement covers each of the companies' existing networks as well as any expansion that may occur during the term of the agreement.

"We continue to work with our industry partners on mutually beneficial agreements that focus on a growing, secure, resilient interconnection architecture," said Jack Waters, CTO for Level 3, in an e-mail to FierceTelecom. "Agreements like these will benefit both Level 3 and Comcast customers for years to come by ensuring there will be ample capacity to exchange traffic between the Comcast and Level 3 networks."

The agreement also ends what has been at times a contentious battle between the two companies. Prior to establishing an initial peering arrangement in 2013, the two service providers' battle dates back to November 2010 when Level 3 challenged Comcast's request that it had to pay the cable MSO a fee to deliver Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX) movies to its residential customers. Netflix is one of Level 3's content delivery network (CDN) customers.

This is just one of three key agreements that Level 3 has made over the past month. In addition to Comcast, it signed separate pacts with both AT&T and Verizon.

Fellow Internet transit provider Cogent, whose largest customer is Netflix, signed an agreement with Verizon earlier this month. Like the pact Level 3 made with Verizon, the two companies can also add capacity and establish new interconnection locations between the two networks. 

What's telling about the flurry of these new interconnection agreements is they have emerged as Cogent and Level 3 recently threatened to file complaints to the FCC's Enforcement Bureau if certain congested ports were not updated as outlined in the regulator's new net neutrality rules when they go into law on June 12.

Level 3 has yet to sign new interconnection deals with other telcos like CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL). In 2012, it did sign a similar peering agreement with Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC).

For more:
- see the release

Related articles:
Level 3, AT&T establish network interconnection agreement
Verizon, Level 3 make nice with interconnection agreement

This article was updated on May 22 to reflect the fact that Level 3 signed a peering arrangment with Time Warner Cable in 2012.