Check out the major power play in this News.com story: "Network feud leads to Net blackout" (http://www.techrepublic.com/2100-1009_11-5889592.html). Level 3 Communications and Cogent Communications had a direct peering connection. According to the article, "'Peering' arrangements are maintained by network companies that agree to connect their networks directly together to exchange traffic more efficiently. When the companies are of roughly equal size, money rarely exchanges hands."
Grab your popcorn and swivel your chair in closer, because here's where the action begins... Level 3 cut off its direct peering connections with Cogent. Why? Level 3 claims that it's BIGGER, and in order to maintain the connection, Cogent should pay for the traffic exchange. Cogent contested that claim, saying that its network is at least as big as Level 3's. The absolute best part is that Cogent is offering any Level 3 user who can't get to Cogent sites free Internet service for a year!
Now THAT'S entertainment!!
Sonja Thompson started at TechRepublic in October 1999. She is a former Senior Editor at TechRepublic.