Verizon blames Cogent for unbalanced peering in Netflix dispute

Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ) is fighting back against claims by bandwidth provider Cogent Communications (Nasdaq: CCOI) that the telco is the reason for the poor video streaming quality that some of its Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX) customers are experiencing.  Instead, Verizon says that Cogent is to blame for unbalanced peering.

In a blog post written by David Young, vice president of Verizon's federal regulatory affairs, Young said that Cogent is not compliant with one of the requirements of settlement-free peering in which the traffic between the two providers must be in balance. Young added that when traffic loads are not symmetric, the provider of the heavier load typically pays the other for transit, something that Cogent apparently isn't keen on doing.  In his post, Young writes: "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."

GigaOM, which first reported on the dispute, quoted David Schaffer, Cogent founder, chairman, CEO and president as saying that Verizon was allowing the peer connections to degrade.

Young also said that Verizon has a number of solutions for these types of issues and said that other large streaming video providers (and/or network service providers carrying such one-way traffic) are already taking advantage of those solutions and seeing the impact.

This isn't the first dispute Cogent has had over peering. Besides Verizon, Cogent and its customer Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) also engaged in a peering fight with France Telecom in January.

GigaOM delved further into the issue of peering, noting that this common arrangement between bandwidth providers is now starting to be used as a tool by ISPs in controlling the Internet and impacting innovation.

For more:
-See this Verizon blog post
-See this GigaOM article on peering battles

Related articles:
Verizon's Netflix users suffer from peering dispute with Cogent, report says
France Telecom and Google entangled in peering fight
Level 3, tw telecom establish peering arrangement
Level 3 to provide fiber backbone services to Time Warner Cable

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