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, 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.


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.