RealTime IT News
Fiber Cuts Hit Internet Backbone Provider
By Tim Gray
November 18, 2005

Long-haul Internet backbone provider Cogent Communications' service was disrupted today when its fiber network was cut in two different locations, the company said.

The Washington, D.C.-based Cogent, which runs one of the cornerstone Internet backbone networks in the United States, said the dual cuts occurred earlier in the day in New Orleans and Washington D.C.. The company labeled the event a rare and "unique" problem.

"Only a small portion of Cogent's customers were impacted by this event as most of our customer base uses BGP and redundant providers," Cogent spokesman Jeff Henricksen said in response to an e-mail inquiry.

Service had been restored in Washington D.C. by 4 p.m. and Henricksen said crews expected to have New Orleans repaired shortly after.

Although Henricksen did not provide a number of customers impacted, the cuts likely caused headaches for Internet service providers (ISPs) in the eastern part of the United States today. Cogent initially labeled the disruption to its network as critical.

Although the Cogent network was cut at two different locations, the second disruption occurring in Washington D.C., is thought to have been caused by faulty networking equipment inside a data center.

Cogent's Web site was also not available for most of the day.

Last month Cogent service was disrupted when rival Level 3 Communications disengaged its network from Cogent. Business owners using Cogent or Level 3 reported being unable to access e-mail, being blocked from large areas of the Web, and VoIP not working.