Since March 13, customers of two large Internet providers, Cogent Communications Group Inc. and TeliaSonera AB are unable to contact each other through the Internet, unless they have backup connections from other companies.
This means, for instance, that some U.S. Web sites hosted by Cogent customers are inaccessible to surfers in the Nordic countries, where Sweden-based TeliaSonera is the largest telecommunications operator. It’s like Cogent and TeliaSonera customers are on different Internets.
“Basically, parts of the Internet can’t talk to each other,” said Earl Zmijewski, general Manager of the Internet data division at Renesys Corp., which keeps track of how carriers route traffic over the Internet.
It’s not the first time this has happened: Now and then, Internet companies indulge in what Zmijewski calls playing “chicken.” If they’re fighting over a contract, they disconnect each other, and wait to see who blinks first. The number of irate customers each company faces will probably determine who does.
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