Cogent sues Deutsche Telekom over congested interconnection ports

Cogent Communications is suing Deutsche Telekom, claiming that DT violated the terms of its contract with the Internet transit provider. Filed in U.S. federal court in Virginia, Cogent claims that DT has allegedly congested the Internet connections Cogent's content provider customers use to deliver services to their customers in Germany.

Cogent wants the court to force DT to increase its capacity at interconnection points to alleviate the congestion, as well as pay damages.

"Deutsche Telekom has interfered with the free flow of internet traffic between Cogent customers and Deutsche Telekom customers by refusing to increase the capacity of the interconnection ports that allow the exchange of traffic," said Robert Beury, Cogent's chief legal officer, in a release. "The congestion results in degraded service to customers of both companies. Deutsche Telekom is using its market power as the dominant provider of residential internet service in Germany in an attempt to extract a toll, directly or indirectly, from companies in the US that provide internet services that Deutsche Telekom's customers want to use."

Beury said that DT's actions are a major issue for small service providers like Cogent that "cannot afford to locate internet servers in Europe where they can directly connect to Deutsche Telekom and avoid the congestion."

At issue is the flow of traffic between the two network points in Frankfurt, Germany and Ashburn, Va. Cogent said that typically a service provider like DT would increase capacity so that traffic rarely exceeds 70 percent of capacity (e.g., 14 Gbps in Frankfurt and 7 Gbps in Ashburn).

Cogent vs. Deutsche Telekom

Cogent's record of Internet traffic at interconnects in Frankfurt, top, and Ashburn, bottom. "Points where the blue line approaches the top of the chart indicate times when traffic congestion is occurring and packets of data are being dropped," Cogent said.

Interconnection has been a key issue for Cogent, particularly in the wake of the FCC's new net neutrality rules. While it has had issues with DT in Europe, Cogent has been able to sign a number of agreements with major telcos and cable operators in the United States, including AT&T (NYSE: T), CenturyLink, Verizon (NYSE: VZ) and Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA).

Dave Schaeffer, CEO of Cogent, told investors in October that the FCC's adoption of net neutrality rules that include Title II regulation, and passage of similar rules in the European Union, have led to ports on other networks becoming unclogged. At that time, he said that the service provider has seen its connections to Comcast become uncongested, while it continues to add capacity to AT&T and Verizon where it has signed agreements.

For more:
- see the release

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