Peering spat disconnects TelstraClear customers from large NZ website

, posted: 26-Nov-2003 22:03

Customers of TelstraClear and its internet arm Paradise Net yesterday found themselves unable to access websites hosted by Auckland internet provider ICONZ.

Some of the sites that disappeared off TelstraClear customers' horizon included Kiwibank, NZ Post, IDG Net and Wired Country.

The reason for the day-long outage was, according to ICONZ General Manager Sean Weekes, TelstraClear's decision to cease "peering" with the internet service provider (ISP) for domestic traffic. Peering is an agreement between networks, in which they agree to exchange traffic with one another for free, so as to lower network costs and improve responsiveness and efficiency for customers. ISPs are encouraged to peer with each other for this reason.

Weekes says ICONZ cancelled its agreement with TelstraClear for international bandwidth, and as a result,
"[TelstraClear] said they were no longer obliged to peer with us for domestic traffic." To Weekes, TelstraClear's refusal to peer with ICONZ was "an act of spite".

Without domestic peering in place between the two ISPs, traffic from TelstraClear customers to ICONZ was routed via international links, causing delays and websites to time out. Also, that traffic was subject to international data charges whereas it would have been earlier priced at lower domestic rates.

Mathew Bolland, TelstraClear spokesperson, put the blame squarely at ICONZ's door, however. "ICONZ was given plenty of notice about the changes, and should have made arrangements for its customers to deal with the situation," Bolland said. Furthermore, Bolland denied that TelstraClear had ever peered with ICONZ. Instead, TelstraClear had "a commercial agreement for providing domestic transit that ICONZ chose not to continue."

Running counter to Bolland's claims of no existing peering, an Incident Notification published by ICONZ Chief
Technologist J S Russell to the ISP's customers quotes what is said to be a TelstraClear statement announcing that "the domestic peering will be turned off at the close of business this Friday (5.00pm 21 November 2003."

The statement also says that TelstraClear provided the domestic peering as part of the International Bandwidth service ICONZ had previously bought and that under "current TelstraClear policy, ICONZ do not meet the criteria to continue with this peering arrangement." What the criteria in question are was not specified, but J S Russell of ICONZ interpreted it as "since ICONZ no longer buys international bandwidth from them, we don't meet 'current policy'." Russell also estimated that the cost of buying domestic peering from Telstra would be around $40,000 a month.

Keith Davidson, president of internetNZ, says he talked to TelstraClear which advised him that "there were some
problems after having pulled the plug on ICONZ's international pipe" but that everything was working again at around 5.30pm Tuesday afternoon.

Other related posts:
The problem with VDSL2, part 2
The problem with VDSL2
The mysterious Dynamic Line Management on VDSL2

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