You Think Your ISP Sucks? Their ISP Is Worse

from the taking-my-internet-and-going-home dept

The Internet is tied together by a bunch of agreements between for-profit companies. Typically, they have an understanding that being able to access anything is a fundamental strength of the net, but every once in a while, somebody makes a business decision that leaves end users — who generally think there’s some technical fault — unable to access certain sites. ISP’s ISP Level 3 has apparently turned off peering with another similar company, Cogent, the end result being people whose ISP’s use either network can’t reach sites or servers hosted on the other. This isn’t the first time this has happened, and it sounds like the same scenario: a company on one side of a peering agreement doesn’t think it’s fair, demands more money to maintain the connection, then when they don’t get it, they de-peer. It’s surprising these types of things don’t happen more often, really. While everybody’s worried about malicious hacker attacks on the Internet, plain old greed could pose a bigger problem.

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Comments on “You Think Your ISP Sucks? Their ISP Is Worse”

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Anony mous says:

The corporate execs responsible for this

Should have their gonads removed. Well, virtually, anyway. Or at least have their nutsacks shaved and the whole thing videotaped for posterity. So folks like Ashcroft can shake their hairpieces in anger at the imagined pornographic outrage of a shorn scrotum.

Greed is NOT good. It’s fucking immature and petty. Grown humans who persist in thinking that the glorification of wealth accumulation is anything but the sick outgrowth of an out-of-control fecal obsession should be incarcerated and de-programmed for the betterment of society.

James says:

This Really Sucks!!!

I spent 2 hours on the phone with Level3, and the truth is that it is pure greed. We as comsumers have recourse in 2 ways; 1. Files a complaint with the FCC, and 2. File a class action law suit against both companise for damages resulting from the lost of revenue or income. Neither may do much but it’s better than nothing.

I’m calling the FCC tomorow. 🙂

Rob says:

It's a self limiting problem

Imagine that you’re shopping for a car. What if Ford manufactured a car that was perfect for you in every way except that it violated safety regulations in 5 states. You would be far less willing to buy that car after seeing a few news stories about unsuspecting drivers being arrested, then being forced to not only pay towing and impound charges, but also hire a tow truck on their own to transport the car 200 miles to the state border.

Similarly, you would be far less likely to move to one of those 5 states knowing that you probably have friends and family who will be unable to visit you without finding alternate transportation.

All parties in a fight like this look bad and lose a lot of business as a result. The larger the fight, the more publicity. The more publicity, the more damage to the business. Worse, the damage will pile up exponentially. Aside from residential monopolies, ISPs are mostly providing a commodity service and they know it. If they can’t play well with others, they will find themselves out of business very quickly.

Steve P. says:

Probably in violation of existing consumer protect

If I were a judge over-hearing this case, I would have to say that the ISP has to notify customers, in adavance, that they are no longer are technically an ISP. They are, infact, an exclusive network with some shared elements of internet access.

I think this will be considered consumer fraud. You certainly can’t change your service rates or services, as a bank, without notifying customers. Customers should file suit.

Clearly, the industry cannot let these operations calls themselves ISP. They must be called something else.

IS (Idiot Schmucks), for example. And I think the same thing applies to port blocking. Which also is another form of consumer fraud. Your not an ISP if your not providing full TCP/IP.

Random ISP port blocking can affect safety and security as the internet is being used more and more for industrial operations, home security and emergency telecommunications.

FCC where are you? Zzzzz

Rhomboid (user link) says:

No Subject Given

There is a lot of confusion about this story.
First, anybody whose network is multihomed is not affected by this in the slightest. Thus, only people whose sole upstream is L3 or Cogent should experience problems. If anything, this just goes to show that if internet connectivity is critical to you, then you need to be multihomed.
Second, while you could make a case for this being about greed, peering is by definition settlement-free — neither side pays a dime. Peering is about exchanging traffic for free, and is supposed to be a mutually beneficial arrangement. When one side terminates peering it doesn’t mean that they’re blocking packets from that party, it just means that they no longer want to trade traffic for free with that party.
At the end of the day, either they will renegotiate the peering link, or one side will buy transit (i.e. pay for traffic to reach the other.)
As for L3 or cogent no longer being called an ISP… Puh-lease. The internet has always been a best-effort communications channel. There will always be destinations that for one reason or another you cannot reach. No service contract in the world will guarantee connectivity everywhere. The only guarantee you will ever get from a transit provider is that your packets reach destinations inside their network, as external things are out of their control.

spam says:

Remember the old days?

Remember the “internet that could survive World War III?”

It’s GONE, folks. RUINED by greedy corporate executives. Look at this action by Level 3.

Yup, the days of the five nines is gone. redundancy for the whole internet is a thing of the past, thanks to overpaid CEO types and incompetent telcos like Verizon.


Jamie (user link) says:

Level3 Says we are not responsible for spam on the

Ok here is a good phone call from Level3 Communications an email was sent to

them in regards to thier 31 Spamhaus listings and why they continue to house


known spammers on thier networks.

Then a couple days latter I gave them a phone call at Level3 Communications

1-877-4LEVEL3 (1-877-453-8353) I was put though to one of the

Network Security people by the name of Richard. Richard clearly identified

himself as being with the network security department.

The question was raised as to why Level3 Communications continues to

take money from known spam operations and they were emailed a

list of thier current spamhaus records. The abuse droid by the name

of Richard was not of much help so I asked if I could speak to

his manager. I was hoping to make the point that taking dirty money

from known spam operations and continue to provide conectivity to

those spammers.
































Out of all of Level3’s listings 3 of them are ROKSO listings

which means the spammer has been booted from at least

3 previous before connecting up with Level3 Communications

The ROKSO listings are




So I had to step out for a while and when I came home I had a message it was

from Mario who is the manager at Level3. This message was left on my

answering machine on June 1 2006 at approximately 6:37 PM

Eastern Daylight Time (EDT).

This is a transcript of the mesasge left on my answering machine.

Hi Jamie my name is Mario and I am calling from Level3 Commnuications

I am Richard’s manager a technician you spoke to today.

I am not sure what you are trying to accomplish or gain by having a manager

you back regarding ah an abuse issue ah but ah I just wanted to explain

that umm ah that per your email or per your conversation with Richard

that um we should be practicing network ect better. Um we are a

backbone provider so we are not responsible for the spam that happens on

the internet.

Its either a downstream customer or thier downstream customers ect. Um the

only thing I can compare it to the post office sending you those applications for

ummm Visas or Mastercards, So you know its like blaming the post office for sending that


So I am not sure what you are trying to accomplish or you know I am not going

to be able to stop the spam from happening it happens on a daily basis and

its constantly there. Uh and its avoidable. The only thing I can tell you to do is contact

your ISP use spam filters, spam blockers ect.

If you have any further questions feel free to contact us 720-888-0012 and ask to speak directly to me.

Thank you have a good day.



Well what I was trying to accomplish is the fact that Level3 Communications


known spammers on thier network and they provide connectivity to these


But level3 is clueless and doesn’t seem to get it.

Oh and before you say oh this is just a hoax and that no ISP could possibly

be this braindead

I have posted a copy of the message in MP3 format at

I found filelodge is a bit slow at times but just keep trying if it gets really bad I can put a copy of the MP3 elsewere as well.

The file is named Level3 Message June 1 2006.mp3 and is 1,524 KB in size

Level3 has to be the most CLUELESS ISP around. They are taking money from


spammers and continue to do so to this day. Level3 seems to think that it is

ok to continue to allow thier spammy customers continue to spam everyone

while they take the spammers dirty money. or any other block lists if you want to use this recording as


on your block websites as to why Level3 Commnuications should be totally

null routed

then by my guest. Just contact me please and let me know where the recording

is going to be. I would be very intrested to know as to how many places put


mirrors of this recording.

The only thing that should be done with all of Level3 Communications IP blocks is see

that they are black listed and let them enjoy thier intranet. They are obviously a very very black ISP who continues to support spammers.


Joe W. says:

Re: Level3 Says we are not responsible for spam on

I just called Mario and confronted him with what I read here, and asked if that was really Level 3’s policy. I told him I am responsible for several domains and that over 60% of our spam originates from Level 3’s backbone. He gave me the runaround and completely avoided my question – he compared this to the National Enquirer (sp?)! I ended up hanging up on him, again, because he would not answer a direct question. I would encourage anyone reading this to place a phone call and ask to speak with Mario. If you can’t get in touch with him, leave a message that you read this and that this type of attitude by a backbone provider is unacceptable. Perhaps if he realizes that people will fight back, maybe he will start to do something about it.

Ken P. says:

Re: Re: Level3 Says we are not responsible for spa

I’ve had the same problem with a Level3 customer who hosts spamvertised websites and sends spam and never acts on abuse complaints, so I escalated it to Level3 who said they were investigating it, but nothing seems to have happened six weeks later.

They gave me a tracking code and the URL of their tracking site to use it on, but the site is unreachable because of a routing loop. I let them know about the routing problem and they thanked me, but a month later it’s still the same.

We can all draw our own conclusions. Internet security relies on those who don’t uphold security being punished by those further up. We could stop most abuse tomorrow if ISPs really cared. The trouble is some providers don’t care, and if they’re big enough they can get away with it precisely because blocking them would wreck the net. Of course, letting them get away with it will wreck the net in the end as well, but it’s what does least damage to a particular provider’s reputation and profit margin in the short term which will determine what will happen.

It’s very frustrating for those of us who fear our mailboxes might become useless because we can’t find what we want among the junk, but we can’t expect commercial organisations to protect our interests. They’re too busy protecting their own.

Nicholas says:

Level3 makes World of Warcraft suck

Look at hop #8. I used to average 75-90ms in game, now I average 180-400ms in game … it’s horrible. It’s been this way for weeks and they don’t care.

LEVEL3 is bottle-necked______________________________________
Tracing route to []
over a maximum of 30 hops:
1 2 ms 1 ms 1 ms xx.xx.xx.xx [censored]
2 7 ms 8 ms 9 ms xx.xx.xx.xx [censored]
3 * 7 ms 13 ms []
4 9 ms 9 ms 10 ms []
5 16 ms 9 ms 10 ms []
6 14 ms 13 ms 14 ms
7 18 ms 18 ms 17 ms
8 105 ms 205 ms 214 ms []
9 18 ms 20 ms 19 ms []
10 48 ms 47 ms 46 ms []
11 48 ms 49 ms 49 ms []
12 49 ms 47 ms 47 ms
13 46 ms 48 ms 50 ms
14 47 ms 53 ms 50 ms []

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